Hong Kong City Hall, where many renowned overseas and local arts troupes have performed, has been one of the landmarks of Central throughout the past 50 years and is part of the fond memories of many Hong Kong people. The City Hall's golden jubilee was celebrated tonight (March 2) at the opening ceremony of "The Golden Stage – Hong Kong City Hall 50th Anniversary Commemorative Exhibition" and the 50th anniversary cocktail reception held at the venue's Exhibition Hall.
Officiating at the ceremony were the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, and the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung. Distinguished guests from performing groups, artists who have a long history with the venue, people who worked in the City Hall many years ago and those involved in its opening also participated in the celebration.
Mr Tsang said at the opening ceremony that many Hong Kong people, in particular lovers of arts and culture, feel they have grown up together with the City Hall. The City Hall, therefore, carries lots of good memories of the past 50 years.
Opened on March 2, 1962, the City Hall was the first multi-purpose cultural complex in Hong Kong for the general public. Over the past decades, it has been playing a vital role in promoting Chinese and Western arts and culture as well as nurturing local arts talent, making the venue the cradle of Hong Kong arts and culture, he said.
Looking ahead, Mr Tsang said that even though a number of state-of-the-art performance venues would be completed with the development of the West Kowloon Cultural District, he believed that the City Hall's role for local residents is indispensable. Based on its current strength and with the spirit of striving for innovation and excellence, the City Hall would continue to serve the people of Hong Kong with its unique characteristics, further promoting the development of arts and culture.
Dr Darwin Chen, the first Assistant Manager of the City Hall, and Mr Ronald Phillips, one of the architects of the City Hall, were also present at the reception to share their memories and working experiences from 50 years ago.
As part of the celebration programme, the world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed in "Celebration Concert – Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and Yo-Yo Ma" at the Concert Hall after the opening of the "Hong Kong City Hall 50th Anniversary Commemorative Exhibition".
Organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the exhibition will be open to the public from tomorrow (March 3) to April 9. The exhibition features the history and architectural features of the City Hall as well as the drama, Chinese opera, music and Western opera, festival, dance, multimedia and film activities that took place at the venue.
On display will be costumes worn by Cantonese opera stars Fung Wong-nui and Mak Bing-wing in their performance "Never-ending Ties and Feud"; the nightclub set from the famous drama "I Have a Date with Spring"; and interviews with Lung Kim-sung, Yuen Siu-fai, Ko Tin-lung, Lo King-man, Barbara Fei, Ella Kiang, Yip Wing-sie, Mui Cheuk-yin, Alex Cheung and other artists on their different performances and experiences in Hong Kong City Hall. Valuable posters, early recordings, stage-set models and precious memorable photos collected during the "Hong Kong City Hall 50th Anniversary Photo Collection Campaign" will also be exhibited to revisit the glorious days of the cultural complex as well as highlight the contributions of local performing arts groups. Admission to the exhibition is free.
To mark the golden jubilee of the City Hall, the LCSD, together with the long-time partners of the City Hall, has lined up a colourful array of programmes spanning from last November to May this year. Through different art forms such as music, theatre, Chinese opera, dance and film, the remarkable achievements of Hong Kong in the field of arts over the years are being showcased.
Not to be missed is the fabulous "Dance Day" to be held at the City Hall on Sunday (March 4). Four event ambassadors, Lau Siu-ming, Mui Cheuk-yin, Li Long-hin and Lee Hiu-ching, will team up with veteran and emerging dancers to perform an unforgettable programme for the public during the holiday.
Hong Kong City Hall has also published a 50th anniversary commemorative publication entitled "Where Modern Hong Kong Began - The City Hall and Its 50-Year Story", written by veteran music critic Mr Chow Fan-fu. Using a storytelling approach, the book affectionately depicts the people and events with close ties to the City Hall in the past 50 years. The book, priced at $230, is on sale at the City Hall Arts Shop.
Enquiries can be made at 2921 2881 and further information can be found at the City Hall 50th anniversary website, www.cityhall.gov.hk/50.php.
Ends/Friday, March 2, 2012
(From left) The Deputy Director of Leisure and Cultural Services (Culture), Ms Cynthia Liu; the Architect of the City Hall, Mr Ronald Phillips; the first Assistant Manager of the City Hall, Dr Darwin Chen; the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung; the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing; the Ex-Urban Council Chairman, Mr Hilton Cheong; the Ex-Urban Council Chairman, Mr Ronald Leung; veteran vocalist Ms Barbara Fei; and the Chairman of Programme and Development Committee of Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Mr Lo King-man; joined the cake-cutting ceremony today (March 2) at the opening ceremony of "The Golden Stage - Hong Kong City Hall 50th Anniversary Commemorative Exhibition" and the 50th anniversary cocktail reception.