Full house for the first WKCD show

exhibitionThe first production by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) attracted a full house at the West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre over the Chinese New Year period with more than 12,000 people having attended the five-day Cantonese opera, movie shows and visual art exhibitions.

A colourful teaser for Hong Kong's future arts hub, the West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre officially kicked off the first of many arts and community activities that the Authority has planned to bring life to the site of the arts district in the years to come.

Mr. Michael Lynch, WKCDA's Chief Executive Officer, expressed his gratitude to the public for their enthusiastic support for the West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre.

"We are greatly encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response,” said Mr. Lynch. “We hope the Bamboo Theatre could become an important annual event in Hong Kong's cultural calendar.”

Performing Arts Executive Director Louis Yu Kwok-lit was grateful for the turnout of audience, many of whom expressed their desire to come again next year. His team is currently working on a series of musical and street performances this summer.

From January 20th to January 23rd, six star-studded Cantonese opera performances, starting with the opening performances of Prime Minister of Six States and Contention for the Sea, were staged in an 800-seat purpose-built bamboo theatre on the future site of the Xiqu Centre. The lead cast includes renowned artists Lee Lung, Nam Fung, Lung Koon-tin, Wong Chiu-kwan, Ng Chin-fung, Wan Fai-yin, Law Kar-ying and Chan Wing-yi.

"Cantonese opera in bamboo theatre is a refined and popular art genre in Hong Kong.  The West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre project revives performance in a grand bamboo theatre with traditional décor in a bustling downtown area and excites us all who are involved in this hereditary art form," Dr Liza Wang, Chairperson of the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong, said.

"We cherish this opportunity to work with the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority for bringing the art closer to the people," she added.

Outside the bamboo theatre, M+, the new Museum of Visual Culture in Hong Kong, provides an impressive line-up of visual art installations created by five Hong Kong artists, namely Gaylord Chan, Henry Chu & Samson Young, Chu Hing-wah and Michael Wolf.

On January 24th, there was an 8-hour marathon screening of five Cantonese opera-related local films at the bamboo theatre from 2pm to 10.30pm.  Specially curated by film veteran Law Kar and visual artist Chow Chun-fai, M+ Bamboo Cinema offered a truly unique cinema experience.

exhibitionOfficiating the first show, WKCDA Board Chairman Stephen Lam Sui-lung praised this traditional art form embracing many elements closely linked to our way of life, and the future Xiqu Centre, being the first cultural venue of the WKCD, will showcase Cantonese opera masterpieces.

"The Government is taking major steps to strengthen our cultural software and spends over $2.8 billion per annum to enhance the capacity of local arts groups, nurture arts talent, promote arts education and widen the audience base,” said Mr Lam. “Together with the ambitious West Kowloon Cultural District project, we are set to broaden the vista of Hong Kong's arts and cultural landscape, and propel Hong Kong into a major cultural hub."