Annual Report 2002 - Leisure and Cultural Services Department Brand Hong Kong - Asia's world city
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* Cultural Services *
  Performing Arts

It was a memorable year for the department, and one which marked the 40th anniversary of City Hall, which is regarded as the cradle of arts and culture in Hong Kong. A series of special programmes was held to celebrate the occasion. It was also the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Highlights of the anniversary programmes included a mass youth concert, which brought together 10,000 young musicians from the Mainland, Macau, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

 
A workshop in "2002/03 School Culture Day Scheme" conducted by local artists and experts, "The Art Kite Project 2002" aims at introducing the techniques and aesthetics of kite-making to students.
 
A workshop in "2002/03 School Culture Day Scheme" conducted by local artists and experts, "The Art Kite Project 2002" aims at introducing the techniques and aesthetics of kite-making to students.*

A number of new projects were introduced in 2002. These include the Programme Partnership Scheme, to establish more private sector involvement in arts programming, and the Cultural Services Volunteers Scheme which was presented by delegates from both the department and the Agency for Volunteer Service at the World Volunteer Conference in Seoul in November 2002. In addition, School Culture Day was relaunched for the 2002-03 school year, just one of many arts education projects undertaken by the department.

 
Theatre du Pif has run "The Solitaire Mystery" in November as one of the activities in "2002/03 School Culture Day Scheme".
 
Theatre du Pif has run "The Solitaire Mystery" in November as one of the activities in "2002/03 School Culture Day Scheme".*

One of the department's community arts centres, the Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre, took on a dramatic new look after a major refurbishment project to upgrade its facilities. The cultural life of all the performing arts venues, including the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, continued to flourish. A wide range of diverse and innovative programmes featuring international and local artists, and including the New Vision Arts Festival were organised. Throughout the year, department delegates undertook exchanges with their overseas counterparts in Asia on the mainland and across the globe.


Public Opinion Surveys

In our continual efforts to provide quality facilities and programmes to the public, the department commissioned MDR Technology Ltd to conduct public opinion surveys on, first, the LCSD's performing arts venues and, second, its programmes.

The facilities survey was conducted in early 2002 and covered the LCSD's 13 performing arts venues (namely, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, City Hall, Sha Tin Town Hall, Tsuen Wan Town Hall, Tuen Mun Town Hall, Kwai Tsing Theatre, Yuen Long Theatre, Ko Shan Theatre, Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre, Sheung Wan Civic Centre, Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre, Tai Po Civic Centre and North District Town Hall). A total of 5,001 members of the public were interviewed at the venues, and the vast majority (89.7%) of respondents were satisfied with the facilities and services provided. Based on their feedback, areas where our services could be further improved have been identified.

 
Located at Hung Hom in Kowloon, the Ko Shan Theatre provides excellent facilities for a wide range of cultural activities.
 
Located at Hung Hom in Kowloon, the Ko Shan Theatre provides excellent facilities for a wide range of cultural activities.*
Located at Hung Hom in Kowloon, the Ko Shan Theatre provides excellent facilities for a wide range of cultural activities.
Located at Hung Hom in Kowloon, the Ko Shan Theatre provides excellent facilities for a wide range of cultural activities.

The survey on performing arts programmes was conducted in late 2001 and focused on aspects such as audience profile, programme preference, marketing and publicity. A questionnaire was completed by 3,486 members of the audience drawn from 43 LCSD performances, while 2,014 non-audience members of the public were interviewed by telephone. A large majority of the respondents considered the LCSD programmes good in terms of performance standard (83.1%), overall performance (75.2%) and selection of theme/repertoire (70.9%). Nearly 60% preferred overseas programmes while 25% had no preference.


Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Since its inauguration in 1989, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre has certainly sustained its reputation as the premiere arts centre in Hong Kong. It is the home of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and a regular rehearsal base for the Hong Kong Ballet and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

Arts lovers will be familiar with its versatile facilities, including a 2,019-seat Concert Hall and 1,734-seat Grand Theatre, as well as the very popular Studio Theatre which accommodates up to 530 patrons. The centre is a major venue for large-scale international festivals including the Hong Kong Arts Festival, New Vision Arts Festival, International Arts Carnival and Hong Kong International Film Festival as well as the regular performing base for world-renowned artists and local flagship performing companies. Highlights of the year included performances by The Bolshoi Theatre, The China National Beijing-Opera Theatre, NHK Symphony Theatre, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, National Ballet of China and the Batsheva Dance Company. In 2002, more than 800 programmes were staged in its three major halls which boast usage rates of more than 90 per cent.

Numerous free audience-building programmes have also been held in the foyer to complement formal productions. In addition, the outdoor piazza area is fast developing into another hot spot for large-scale community arts events. This year these included: the Rainbow Dance Carnival, featuring more than 2,000 dancers; the 2002 Music for the Millions Music Carnival, in which both professional and amateur musicians played western and Chinese music; the Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival, which saw the whole piazza illuminated by an array of colourful lanterns; the Museum Open Day; and a weekly Arts and Crafts Fair.

 
The Arts and Crafts Fair at Hong Kong Cultural Centre provides a platform for arts practitioners to demonstrate their creativity.
 
The Arts and Crafts Fair at Hong Kong Cultural Centre provides a platform for arts practitioners to demonstrate their creativity.*
 
 
Youngsters perform dances to bring more attractions to the arts and crafts fair.
 
Youngsters perform dances to bring more attractions to the arts and crafts fair.*

Visitors can not only enjoy the programmes staged at the centre, but also enlist in various arts-related classes organised by independent outfits at the centre's ancillary facilities.

According to the public opinion survey conducted early in the year, more than 95% of the interviewees indicated they were satisfied with the services provided at the box office and the three major halls.

The centre always strives for excellence. To enhance the surrounding environment, more than 10,000 potted plants have been placed in the piazza. In addition, two improvement projects are in progress including a Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade Beautification Project and the replacement of retractable seating at the Studio Theatre. The latter will provide even more comfortable seating for the audience, as well as offering more production flexibility.

 
Musicians perform for the public at the Music for the Millions Music Carnival.
 
Musicians perform for the public at the Music for the Millions Music Carnival.*


Hong Kong City Hall

Hong Kong City Hall has been the venue of choice of many renowned artists and performing groups over the years. Renowned for its excellent acoustics, the Concert Hall is never short of quality concerts. In 2002, these included: The Master Musicians of Jajouka (Africa); jazz group, the Don Byron Quintet (USA), performing as part of the 2002 Hong Kong Arts Festival; A Tribute to Maestro Peng Xiuwen, by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra; and Piano Recital by Constantin Lifschitz, staged by Pan Asia Concerts.

The Theatre is also a favourite venue for many dance and drama groups, including the Hong Kong Dance Company, City Contemporary Dance Company and Hong Kong Repertory Theatre. In addition to these two major facilities, the Exhibition Hall and Exhibition Gallery are also ideal venues for visual arts exhibitions, ceremonies and receptions.

Hong Kong City Hall celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2002. A series of spectacular celebration programmes were launched to grace this event. Among them, 37 citizens who shared their birth date March 2, 1962 with City Hall were invited to celebrate the day together with the venue management. The anniversary celebrations were officially kicked off by the Joint Concert by Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

 
The cradle of Hong Kong's culture and arts ¡X Hong Kong City Hall.
 
The cradle of Hong Kong's culture and arts Hong Kong City Hall.*

A Writing Competition, for which participants had to write about their memories of using City Hall over the past 40 years, was very well received with more than 400 entries. Celebrations ran throughout the year and also included Souvenir Collection Campaign, Growing with Time: The Hong Kong City Hall Retrospective Exhibition and the 40th Anniversary Carnival.

 
A highlight of the many programmes to mark the 40th anniversary of Hong Kong City Hall, the carnival enables children to enjoy the musical performances.
 
A highlight of the many programmes to mark the 40th anniversary of Hong Kong City Hall, the carnival enables children to enjoy the musical performances.*

In addition, City Hall itself was renovated for the anniversary, with modifications made to the entrance of the Concert Hall and Theatre, the Low Block foyer, all the washrooms and the Memorial Garden.

 
Hong Kong City Hall celebrates its 40th anniversary on March 2, 2002 with citizens who were born on the same date.
 
Hong Kong City Hall celebrates its 40th anniversary on March 2, 2002 with citizens who were born on the same date.*


Community Arts Facilities

The community arts facilities serve as focal points for cultural activities at the community level. These range from larger venues like the Sha Tin Town Hall, Tsuen Wan Town Hall, Tuen Mun Town Hall, Kwai Tsing Theatre, Yuen Long Theatre and Ko Shan Theatre, to smaller venues like the Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre, Sheung Wan Civic Centre, Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre, Tai Po Civic Centre and North District Town Hall. A major refurbishment project was carried out at the Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre in 2002 to improve the sightline and legroom of the auditorium seating, the ambience of the foyer and the stage and lighting facilities.

 
Ngau Chi Wan is a focal point for cultural activities at the community level.
 
Ngau Chi Wan is a focal point for cultural activities at the community level.*

To promote and encourage arts at the grassroot level, district arts bodies organising cultural activities for the local community can enjoy free use of these facilities through venue sponsorship. In 2002, 77 community arts groups were granted sponsorship for a total of 549 activities serving 107,970 audience members.

Various independent organisations also frequently hired the ancillary facilities of these community venues for use in a variety of arts-related activities.


Programme Partnership Scheme

The Programme Partnership Scheme was one of the department's new initiatives to involve the private sector in arts programming. Under the scheme, proposals were invited from the arts community for creative use of the department's performing arts facilities over a period of time. An arts partnership is then forged between the venue management and these local arts groups, resulting in the creation of well-conceived performing arts activities which reinforce the image of the respective arts centres. Further, tailor-made arts education programmes will also be offered to local communities.

Pilot schemes were conducted in 2002/03 at the North District Town Hall, whose programme partner was the Ming Ri Institute for Arts Education, and the Yuen Long Theatre, partnered by DanceArt Hong Kong Ltd.

The Ming Ri Institute's project was an arts education programme for children, comprising a series of performances and workshops on the art of puppetry. Since the start of the scheme in May 2002, 30 performances (20 of them for schools and 10 for the public) and 108 workshop sessions for teachers, teenagers, schools and families have been organised at the North District Town Hall with an attendance of 6,000.

Under the pilot scheme at the Yuen Long Theatre, DanceArt Hong Kong Ltd organised the Multi-Prism of Arts, a project offering the public a wide choice of arts courses, workshops, foyer performances, fun days, guided tours, lectures and stage performances. The aim was to enhance the public's appreciation of and interest in the arts at community level. Since its launch in July 2002, the Yuen Long Theatre has accommodated 33 activities with an attendance of 4,000.

The success of the Programme Partnership Scheme at the North District Town Hall and the Yuen Long Theatre has prompted the Sheung Wan Civic Centre and Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre to adopt it. Proposals were invited in 2002 from local arts groups and organisations to become programme partners at these venues in 2003/04.


Kwai Tsing Theatre

Just three years after inauguration in late 1999, the Kwai Tsing Theatre has quickly established itself as one of the most popular performing arts venues in Hong Kong by welcoming a wide variety of artists and groups, both local and international. The theatre houses a 905-seat auditorium, built with advanced stage installations and equipment and designed primarily as an ideal platform for staging theatrical productions such as drama, dance and opera.

 
Chung Ying Theatre's Little Shop of Horrors shown at Kwai Tsing Theatre.
 
Chung Ying Theatre's Little Shop of Horrors shown at Kwai Tsing Theatre.*

In 2002, the auditorium played host to 284 performances, boosting its usage rate to nearly full-occupancy. Top theatrical productions by local groups included: the Hong Kong Ballet's Nutcracker; Chung Ying Theatre's Little Shop of Horrors; Theatre Ensemble's Kid Kid Show; Bestreben Drama Association's Non-mighty Detective & Kids with Lost Jigsaws; Edward Lam Dance Theatre's 18 Ways to Say Goodbye to Your Lover; and Zuni Icosahedron's Looking for Mies.

 
Prominent visiting arts group the Random Dance Company (United Kingdom) has also performed at Kwai Tsing Theatre.
 
Prominent visiting arts group the Random Dance Company (United Kingdom) has also performed at Kwai Tsing Theatre.*

Prominent visiting arts groups included: the Random Dance Company (United Kingdom); Multi-media Theatre's Hashirigaki (Switzerland); National Dance Company of Korea; Dadawa; Guangdong Cantonese Opera Academy 1st Troupe; Shanghai Comic Troupe; and the China Ping Opera Theatre. Large-scale international arts festivals such as the Hong Kong Arts Festival, New Vision Arts Festival, International Arts Carnival and Hong Kong International Film Festival also found a new base for their performances in the theatre's auditorium.

 
Korean Fantasy performed by the National Dance Company of Korea.
 
Korean Fantasy performed by the National Dance Company of Korea.*

Also housed in the theatre is the Exhibition Gallery, a versatile venue for hosting both exhibitions and experimental theatre performances. Equally popular are the ancillary facilities including the Lecture Room, Rehearsal Room and Dance Studio, which are popular for all kinds of art-related classes.

The theatre supported local district art organisations by sponsoring them with free use of the venue for up to 29 performances. It became the focal venue for performances in the annual Kwai Tsing District Arts Festival and other important community activities.

In addition to the continuing series of free audience-building schemes and new initiatives to boost its audience base, the theatre also contributed to this year's tourism drive City of Life Hong Kong is it! Kwai Tsing District Tourism Promotion Month by organising two events. These were the Kwai Tsing Theatre Open Day and a series of free concerts at the open-air plaza. The former attracted a crowd of more than 20,000 people, both local and overseas tourists. It featured cultural performances and demonstrations of stage installations and equipment, as well as an open-air dai-tat-dei cultural bazaar featuring various street-culture and entertainment activities of the 1950s and 60s. The latter concert series was a fusion of Chinese and western music held at the open plaza.

In support of the department's arts education project the School Cultural Day, the theatre arranged an array of stage technical demonstration sessions at the Auditorium for students. Students were also given commissioned guidebooks printed with comic illustrations to help them gain basic knowledge of theatre stage and technical operations in a lively and all-inspiring way.

The Kwai Tsing Theatre strives to always be better, and it was rewarded when the result of the department's public opinion survey, conducted early in the year, revealed more than 95% of the interviewees were satisfied with the facilities and services provided.


Yuen Long Theatre

Opened in May 2000, Yuen Long Theatre is a new civic centre that symbolises the Leisure and Cultural Services Department's commitment to the provision of quality venue facilities. The theatre comprises a 923-seat multi-purpose auditorium, a dance studio, a rehearsal room, a lecture room and art exhibition areas. The auditorium is equipped with advanced stage facilities.

 
Fascinating performance of the Shanghai Acrobatic Theatre ¡X Girls balancing on chairs.
 
Fascinating performance of the Shanghai Acrobatic Theatre Girls balancing on chairs.*

The theatre provides a welcoming space for local and international artists, thereby enriching the community's cultural life. As well as hiring out venue facilities to cultural and arts institutions and non-profit-making district organisations for formal productions, a wide variety of audience-building activities have also been organised in the venue. These include the Programme Partnership Pilot Scheme, regular free foyer performances, roving exhibitions, guided tours, and both Open Day and Fun Day at the theatre.

 
 
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