International Arts Carnival 2015
The International Arts Carnival, an annual summer event, offers performing arts programmes and educational arts activities for children, teenagers and their families in the form of acrobatics, dance, magic, music, puppetry, multimedia theatre, musical theatre, physical theatre, interactive theatre for babies, and children's films.
The 2015 carnival opened with a Chinese acrobatic programme titled Legend of the Silk Road performed by the Shaanxi Acrobatic Troupe. An array of visiting programmes followed, including Too Many Penguins? by Frozen Charlotte from the United Kingdom, Swamp Juice by Bunk Puppets, How High the Sky by the Polyglot Theatre from Australia, Franz & Friends' Voyage Undersea by the Image in Motion Theater of Taiwan, a concert by the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, The Forest of Grimm by La Maquiné from Spain, and Drumblebee by The Quatuor Beat from France.
Three local artists/arts groups were commissioned to create new works encouraging parents to take part with their children in performing arts activities. The line-ups of these family programmes included Ninja Academy by The Radiant Theatre, My Moon Story by Harry Wong, and Super Mama Market by the Wind Mill Grass Theatre.
The Sorrows of Young Yat Sum by the Ricochet Ensemble was a youth theatre work that engaged young actors in skill-enhancement workshops, and included insightful post-performance talks. Blending drama, physical movement and a cappella, the work explored various social issues around the themes of education, love and social media.
A total of eight visiting and 31 local arts groups and artists participated in 414 carnival events, attracting audiences of around 137 000. The average attendance was 96 per cent of capacity for ticketed events.
World Cultures Festival 2015
In 2005, the biennial World Cultures Festival series began its global journey in Latin America. Since then it has journeyed through Eastern Europe, crossed the Mediterranean and travelled the Silk Road to Asia. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, a festival on world cultures was curated on the theme A Decade of Exquisite Arts, in which the cream of performing arts from countries around the world was showcased.
The 2015 festival opened with the passionate The Song of Eva Perón by Tango Buenos Aires from Argentina. It concluded with the Shanghai Yue Opera House's graceful rendition of classical plays, along with two of their new productions, Empresses in the Palace and A Poet's Lament.
Three Grammy winners enthralled audiences with their vibrant world music performances. The Chieftains, legends of Irish music, delivered brilliant improvisation; Beninese diva Angélique Kidjo impressed with her powerful soaring voice; while conjunto band Los Texmaniacs from the United States gave audiences an authentic taste of the vibrant Tex-Mex sound. Other highlights of visiting programmes included Dadan 2015 by Kodo from Japan, Ablaze! by Jinjo Crew from Korea, and performances by the Dhoad Gypsies from Rajasthan in India and the Georgian National Dance Company Sukhishvili.
On the local front, Hong Kong Episodes by Teriver Cheung and Fung Lam, as well as Bands Around the World by Hong Kong Professional Winds, were both well received.
During the month-long festival, a total of 14 visiting and 41 local arts groups and artists presented 80 events, including extension activities such as exhibitions, workshops, talks, meet-the-artist sessions, foyer and outdoor performances, a street dance battle and a critique writing award scheme. The festival attracted an audience of around 108 000, with an average attendance of 85 per cent of capacity for ticketed events.