Pingju dates from the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and the beginning of the Republican era. It originated from a form of folk opera in Hebei, known as lianhualao, and later absorbed singing and acting techniques from Hebei bangzi (clapper opera), Peking opera, Luanzhou shadow plays, and Leting dagu (verse narrative sung to the accompaniment of a small drum and other instruments). Pingju is popular in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and the northeast. Its tunes, dialogue and acting are deeply rooted in people's lives, making it lively and easy to understand. Over the past decades pingju has concentrated on contemporary themes.