In the process of maintaining Hong Kong's status as Asia's events capital, the LCSD offered a wide range of high quality cultural events during 2015-16. These included a variety of exciting festivals, performances and audience-building activities, with contributions from local and international artists. The department also managed many of Hong Kong's leading performance venues.
Hong Kong Cultural Centre
The Hong Kong Cultural Centre has established itself as the premier performing arts venue in Hong Kong. The cultural centre, which is capable of staging a wide range of performing arts events, houses a 2 019-seat Concert Hall, a 1 734-seat Grand Theatre and a Studio Theatre with a seating capacity of 496. In 2015-16, the 713 performances held there attracted over 616 000 patrons.
During the year, the cultural centre hosted several major cultural events, including the Hong Kong Arts Festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, Le French May arts festival, the Chinese Opera Festival, the International Arts Carnival, and the World Cultures Festival. It also provided a stage for many internationally acclaimed performing arts groups, including the Russian National Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Cirque Éloize, the Shanghai Yue Opera House, and the Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe. Other important programmes included Puccini's opera Tosca and recitals by Itzhak Perlman and Nelson Freire.
With its panoramic views of Victoria Harbour, the cultural centre's outdoor piazza was a popular place for viewing spectacular events during the year such as the International Chinese New Year Night Parade, the Lunar New Year Lantern Carnival, and various fireworks displays. The Creative Market in Partnership @ HKCC held there provided a valuable platform for local youth and arts organisations to foster creativity, and the wide range of handicrafts and arts stalls set up in the piazza on weekends added extra vibrancy to the promenade.
Hong Kong City Hall
The Hong Kong City Hall, built in Bauhaus style and opened in 1962, is now a designated Grade 1 Historic Building. It has a 1 434-seat Concert Hall with excellent acoustics, a 463-seat Theatre and a 590-square metre Exhibition Hall. Around 373 000 patrons attended 639 performances staged there in 2015-16.
The Hong Kong City Hall's legacy as a cradle of the arts, and its pioneering role in promoting arts and culture in Hong Kong, has been widely recognised. In 2015-16, it hosted many outstanding programmes by world-renowned artists and arts groups, including performances by Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras, Lise de la Salle, Concerto Copenhagen, Lin Cho Liang, Sir James Galway, Krzysztof Penderecki, the Wells Cathedral Choir, the Borodin Quartet, Miloš Karadaglić, Imogen Cooper, the Amarillis Ensemble, and the Vienna Boys Choir. Several acclaimed local artists also performed at the venue, including Nancy Loo, Trey Lee, Mary Wu and Colleen Lee.
Community Arts Facilities
Our many arts facilities are focal points for cultural activities around Hong Kong. They include larger venues such as the Sha Tin, Tsuen Wan and Tuen Mun town halls and the Kwai Tsing, Yuen Long and Ko Shan theatres; and smaller venues such as the Sai Wan Ho, Sheung Wan, Ngau Chi Wan and Tai Po civic centres, and the North District town hall. Most of them have been serving the community for many years. Apart from the LCSD's presentations, various cultural organisations also hired our facilities for arts activities during the year. In 2015-16, 6 449 performances at these venues attracted around 2 150 000 patrons.
Our venue sponsorship scheme promotes the arts at community level by offering free use of our facilities to district arts groups that are involved in organising cultural activities for the local community. In 2015-16, 94 community arts groups were sponsored for 695 activities, which together attracted about 109 000 people.
Support for Cantonese Opera
The Government is keen to preserve and develop Cantonese opera in Hong Kong. Given the high demand for performance venues in the city, the LCSD has put in place a priority hiring policy for professional Cantonese opera troupes. This gives them priority hiring of the Ko Shan Theatre, along with priority hiring for specific periods at five other major performance venues. The Yau Ma Tei Theatre is dedicated to Chinese opera and related activities.
Built in 1930, the Yau Ma Tei Theatre is the only surviving pre-war cinema building in the urban area of Hong Kong. It was accorded Grade 2 status by the Antiquities Advisory Board in 1998. The theatre and the adjacent Grade 1 Red Brick Building were revitalised and re-opened in 2012. The complex, which contains a 300-seat theatre and two function rooms has become an important training and performance venue for budding Cantonese opera artists. In 2015-16, more than 64 500 visitors attended over 290 performances at the theatre.
Opened in October 2014, the Ko Shan Theatre New Wing is specially designed for staging Cantonese opera. The 600-seat auditorium and rehearsal rooms, equipped with modern facilities, perfectly complement the original 1 031-seat theatre, making the Ko Shan Theatre an ideal performance and rehearsal base for Cantonese opera.
Planned New Facilities
To facilitate the development of culture and the arts and help alleviate the current acute shortage of professional performing arts facilities, in January 2016 the Government began construction of the East Kowloon Cultural Centre in Ngau Tau Kok. The cultural centre will consist of a 1200-seat auditorium, a 550-seat theatre, three music/dance/drama studios with seating capacities from 120 to 250, rehearsal rooms, art booths, a restaurant, and a coffee shop. Ancillary facilities include offices, car parking spaces, public open spaces, and a loading/unloading area. Scheduled for completion by the end of 2020, the cultural centre is expected to become a major cultural facility in East Kowloon.
Venue Partnership Scheme
The third round of our three-year Venue Partnership Scheme is running from April 2015 to March 2018. The scheme fosters partnerships between venues and performing arts groups with the aim of enhancing their image, increasing their audiences, optimising the use of the venue facilities and more generally encouraging community involvement in the arts. Venue partners are supported through, for example, the provision of work spaces, the priority use of venue facilities, funding, and enhanced publicity. In 2015-16, the LCSD's 22 venue partners (which include individual groups, joint groups and consortia) presented 812 performances and engaged in 1 154 audience-building activities, together attracting around 735 000 spectators and participants.
|(1) Hong Kong City Hall||Hong Kong Sinfonietta|
Hong Kong Repertory Theatre
|(2) Hong Kong Cultural Centre||Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra|
Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra
The Hong Kong Ballet
|(3) Kwai Tsing Theatre||Chung Ying Theatre Company|
W Theatre and Wind Mill Grass Theatre
|(4) Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre||Whole Theatre|
E-Side Dance Company
|(5) North District Town Hall||Hong Kong Theatre Works|
|(6) Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre||The Absolutely Fabulous Theatre Connection|
|(7) Sha Tin Town Hall||The Cantonese Opera Advancement Association|
Trinity Theatre and The Radiant Theatre
|(8) Sheung Wan Civic Centre||Theatre Dojo and iStage|
|(9) Tsuen Wan Town Hall||Hong Kong Dance Company|
Ming Ri Institute for Arts Education
|(10) Tuen Mun Town Hall||Spring-Time Experimental Theatre and Hong Kong Young Talent Cantonese Opera Troupe|
|(11) Yau Ma Tei Theatre||The Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong|
|(12) Yuen Long Theatre||Hong Kong Performing Stage of Cantonese Opera|
Theatre Noir Foundation
Arts Administrator Trainee Scheme
The Arts Administrator Trainee Scheme nurtures a pool of young arts administrators who will eventually play a role in the development of Hong Kong's cultural scene. There were 42 the LCSD trainee positions in 2015-16.
The LCSD arts administrator trainees undergo a two-year programme that provides training in venue operations, facility management, event promotion, and the organisation of performing arts programmes, carnivals and arts festivals. Trainees in stage management also acquire technical know-how at the LCSD venues under the guidance of in-house stage professionals.
During the year, the LCSD also sponsored its 22 venue partners (comprising major and small/medium-sized performing arts groups) and the Hong Kong Arts Festival Society in the engagement of 46 trainees. These trainees learned about the management of performing arts groups and arts festivals.