Annual Report 2003 - Leisure and Cultural Services Department Brand Hong Kong - Asia's world city
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  Performing Arts

Hong Kong is gaining an image as a growing cultural centre with an international outlook. This was highlighted in 2003 with the department being awarded the hosting rights for organising the 2006 International Society for the Performing Arts Foundation (ISPA) International Congress. It is expected that more than 300 overseas delegates will participate in the congress to share experiences and establish networks for future collaboration.

In its goal of developing the performing arts and promoting appreciation of the arts in Hong Kong, the department continued to provide quality cultural facilities and organise cultural activities. In bringing the people closer to the arts, a rich and diverse programme featuring internationally renowned and local artists was presented during the year. A Cantonese Opera Working Group was formed under the Greater Pearl River Delta Cultural Co-operation Meeting for enhancing co-operation among cities in the region in the promotion and presentation of Cantonese Opera as a cultural heritage. The first Cantonese Opera Day was held in Hong Kong in November 2003.

The first Cantonese Opera Day kicks off at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.
The first Cantonese Opera Day kicks off at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

The partnership between artists groups and the community was strengthened through the extension of the Programme Partnership Scheme to four performing arts venues and the re-launching of Cultural Services Volunteer Scheme.


Hong Kong Cultural Centre

As Hong Kong's premier arts centre, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre is the home of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and a regular rehearsal base for the Hong Kong Ballet and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

Hong Kong Cultural Centre is a regular rehearsal base for the Hong Kong Ballet.
The Hong Kong Cultural Centre is a regular rehearsal base for the Hong Kong Ballet.

Arts lovers will be familiar with the centre's versatile facilities, including a 2,019-seat Concert Hall, 1,734-seat Grand Theatre and a very popular Studio Theatre which accommodates up to 496 patrons. The centre is a major venue for large-scale international festivals X such as the Hong Kong Arts Festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, the International Arts Carnival and Legends of China Festival X as well as the regular performing base for world-renowned artists and local professional performing companies. Highlights of the year included performances by the Stuttgart Opera, the Orchestre National de France, the Hamburg Ballet, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and soloists Lang Lang, Yundi Li and Jennifer Larmore. More than 600 programmes were staged in 2003.

Complementing indoor performances, the CLP Lights Up Hong Kong 2003 was a true spectacular held in the outdoor piazza over Chinese New Year. During the week-long celebrations, scenic projections, intelligent lighting and laser animation synchronised to a sound score were incorporated into a 14-minute light show, drawing more than 130,000 people to witness the unique lighting effects on the Cultural Centre's harbour-front facade.

The CLP Lights Up Hong Kong 2003 provides a spectacular scene above the Cultural Centre Piazza.
The CLP Lights Up Hong Kong 2003 provides a spectacular scene above the Cultural Centre Piazza.

The piazza has provided an attractive backdrop for other major outdoor events including the International Museum Day 2003, the Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival, the Hong Kong Synergy 24 Drum Competition, Cantonese Opera Day and the weekly Arts and Crafts Fair.

Colourful lanterns light up the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza during the Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival.
Colourful lanterns light up the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza during the Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival.

Free workshops and educational activities were organised to encourage community participation in the arts. Visitors in addition to enjoying these programmes can also enrol in arts-related classes offered by hirers of the centre's ancillary facilities.

Regular meetings are organised with the centre's patrons and hirers to gauge their views as part of the department's ongoing commitment to provide quality service. In meetings with public patrons in 2003, their views reflected high satisfaction with the venue environment, hygienic conditions and frontline services in ushering, ticketing and public enquiries.


Hong Kong City Hall

Opened in March 1962, the Hong Kong City Hall will be remembered as the first multi-purpose cultural centre built to enhance the quality of life of the Hong Kong community. It has played host to over 10,000 outstanding local and overseas arts groups and maintains an important link in the international arts scene contributing to the convergence of the cultures of the East and West.

The City Hall houses a 1,448-seat Concert Hall, a 463-seat Theatre, a 111-seat Recital Hall, a 590 square-metre Exhibition Hall and a 260 square-metre Exhibition Gallery. The Concert Hall is suitable for different kinds of music concerts as well as other performing arts activities such as dance, drama and Chinese opera while the Theatre is an ideal venue for staging medium scale productions and film screenings. Highlights of the year included the pantomime performance by the legendary Marcel Marceau, guitar recitals by David Russell, violin recitals by Vera Tsu, jazz concerts by Charles Lloyd, the Peking Opera Troupe of Beijing and the 2003 Chinese Composers' Festival. Throughout the year 675 performances were held, attracting some 335,982 patrons.

Extensive modifications to the Low Block and Memorial Garden last year to tie in with the venue's 40th Anniversary were followed by renovations to the High Block this year including the elevators. The refurbishment of the building's outer wall has enhanced the new look of the High Block.


Community Arts Facilities

Hong Kong has a range of arts facilities which serve as focal points for cultural activities at the community level. These include larger venues like the Sha Tin, Tsuen Wan and Tuen Mun Town Halls, the Kwai Tsing, Yuen Long and Ko Shan Theatres, and smaller venues like the Sai Wan Ho, Sheung Wan, Ngau Chi Wan and Tai Po Civic Centres and the North District Town Hall.

To promote and encourage arts at the grassroots level, district arts bodies organising cultural activities for the local community can enjoy free use of these facilities through venue sponsorship. In 2003, 100 community arts groups were granted sponsorship for a total of 685 activities serving 111,107 people. Various independent organisations also frequently hire the ancillary facilities of these community venues to organise a variety of arts-related activities.


Programme Partnership Scheme

The Programme Partnership Scheme launched in 2002/03 at the North District Town Hall and Yuen Long Theatre was one of the department's 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 the 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.

In view of the success of the pilot scheme, it was extended in 2003/04 to the Sheung Wan Civic Centre to partner with the Spring-time Experimental Theatre, and the Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre to collaborate with the Wanchai Theatre as partner. The Spring-time Experimental Theatre project staged five drama productions with 27 performances, open forums, visual arts workshops and exhibitions of artworks. Since its launch in April 2003, the Sheung Wan Civic Centre has accommodated 33 activities which attracted some 9,000 people. The Wanchai Theatre organised activities including drama, dance and music performances, workshops, and arts classes. By the end of 2003, 31 performances and 15 workshops/classes had been arranged with a total attendance of over 4,000.

 
 
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