• WKCDA to Host First Cultural Programme

    8 December 2011

    West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre Ushers in Chinese New Year with Chimes and Gongs

    (8 December 2011, Hong Kong) The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (“WKCDA”) will raise the curtain of its debut showcase with a Cantonese opera programme cum exhibition at a purpose-built bamboo theatre in Tsim Sha Tsui during the Chinese New Year 2012.

    The West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre will be staged at the future site of the Xiqu Centre on Canton Road (next to Tsim Sha Tsui Fire Station) and the community will have the opportunity of enjoying an elegant fusion of traditional Cantonese opera and contemporary visual art installations. 

    “It will be a double happiness for us,” said Mr Michael Lynch, WKCDA’s Chief Executive Officer, “The event will mark the launch of the design and construction stage of the future cultural district and celebrate a prosperous Year of the Dragon at the future Xiqu Centre site.” 

    Photo Caption:

    (L to R) Dr Lars Nittve, Executive Director, M+ of WKCDA, Mr Michael Lynch, WKCDA’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Liza Wang, Chairperson of The Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong, and Mr Louis Yu, WKCDA’s Executive Director, Performing Arts.

    “Since it is WKCDA’s very first event, we offer a special price of only $10 for each ticket. We hope the event will attract people from all walks of life to our site to get a taste of things to come at the new Cultural District,” Mr Lynch added. 

    Mr Louis Yu, WKCDA’s Executive Director, Performing Arts, said the bamboo theatre would accommodate up to 800 seated audience, “It will be built with traditional bamboo construction technique and decorated with floral panels and flags, adding colour to the celebratory and festive atmosphere of Chinese New Year. There will also be stalls and exhibitions at the fringe of the theatre, reminiscent of how festivals were celebrated in Hong Kong in the old days,” Mr Yu added.  

    From 20 to 23 January, the bamboo theatre will feature four star-studded Cantonese opera performances by The Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong. The strong cast includes renowned virtuosi Lee Lung, Nam Fung, Lung Koon-tin, Wong Chiu-kwan, Ng Chin-fung, Wan Fai-yin, Law Kar-ying and Chan Wing-yi.

    For an all-rounded cultural experience, M+, the future Museum of Visual Culture, will present two free programmes: M+ Bamboo Theatre Exhibition and M+ Bamboo Cinema, adding a visual flavour to the traditional performing art form. 

    M+ has commissioned five Hong Kong artists, namely Gaylord Chan, Samson Young & Henry Chu, Chu Hing-wah and Michael Wolf, to create four new contemporary artworks inspired by Cantonese opera which will be exhibited at the venue.  

    Dr Lars Nittve, Executive Director, M+ of WKCDA, said that integrating contemporary artworks with traditional aesthetics of Cantonese opera will give the audience new exciting perspectives on this traditional art form.  

    The bamboo theatre will become an open-air cinema on 24 January, the second day of Chinese New Year. Specially curated by film veteran Law Kar and visual artist Chow Chun-fai, the 8-hour film marathon will offer the audience a unique cinema experience through screening of five Cantonese opera-related Hong Kong cinema classics.  

    “It will also be our first humble step to establish the identity of M+ as an inclusive world class museum – a museum that brings forth an open, flexible and forward-looking attitude, and operates from a Hong Kong perspective with a global vision,” Dr Nittve said.  

    Dr Liza Wang, Chairperson of The Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong, said Cantonese opera is an emblem of Hong Kong’s local culture and its preservation and development are very important. 

    “A dedicated performance venue for Chinese opera is essential to the preservation of this traditional art form and the training of budding artists and audience building, particularly among younger generation,” said Ms Wang, who is delighted to support the Xiqu initiative, “I have no doubt that WKCD’s Xiqu Centre will add impetus to the development of Cantonese opera in Hong Kong.” 

    “In the coming year, we will organise more programmes and activities, whether on or off the WKCD site, to build audiences and nurture talents,” Mr Lynch  concluded, “It is not only for the benefit of WKCD, but for the cultural community as a whole.” 

    Tickets priced at $10 for Cantonese opera performances of the West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre will be available at all URBTIX outlets starting from tomorrow. On a first-come-first-served basis, each person can buy a maximum of 10 tickets for each transaction. 

    For programme details, please visit the website www.bambootheatre.wkcda.hk. For enquiries on ticketing, please visit www.urbtix.hk.

    WKCDA has concluded Stage 3 of its Public Engagement Exercise and is currently preparing a Development Plan for submission to the Town Planning Board. Construction could begin once the statutory planning process is completed. If all goes well, the first arts and cultural facility of the future district, the Xiqu Centre, could be commissioned around 2015.

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