Speech by Ms Tisa Ho (Executive Director, Hong Kong Arts Festival Society Ltd) at the 2008 Festival Kick-off Press Conference

October 16th, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to join the Chairman in thanking you for your presence here today, and for your continued support.

It gives me great pleasure to share with you the complete line-up of programmes to be presented in the 36th Hong Kong Arts Festival, in 2008. I hope that many of them will be of interest to you. We will be happy to help organise interviews or provide additional background information, and hope that you will help to communicate our excitement about what’s in store.

In all, we will present over 100 performances and events in over 33 days, including workshops and masterclasses, meet-the-artist sessions, youth programmes, a symposium on funding models and other ‘Plus’ events. And in addition to the Festival, we will also be presenting the equestrian spectacle Zingaro, in partnership with the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, in support of the Beijing Olympics and the equestrian events to take place in Hong Kong in 2008.

There is significant star power in the 2008 Hong Kong Arts Festival, in which we maintain the Festival’s tradition of presenting works of the highest calibre, by the most outstanding performers and creative talent of the day. In the 36th Festival, you will find distinguished members of the performing arts community at home, and some of the world’s top talent from around the globe. Each one conjures up entrancement and promises memorable performances.

In addition, many of the artists whose work you will see in this Festival are major pioneering creative forces. These are trailblazers, whose work is not only at the highest levels of artistic achievement, but represents significant moments in the development of an entire genre.

Inspiring and stimulating at any time, this type of creative genius is particularly exciting for us today, as we embark on the journey towards a unique opportunity to achieve new paradigms in performing arts infrastructure and management presented by the West Kowloon Cultural District.

The Hong Kong Arts Festival is very much a part of the city for which it is home, and in this regard, I would like to acknowledge, with appreciation, the participation of three major Hong Kong Companies in the 2008 Festival: the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre. Titus Andronicus, The Shape of Things and Tears of Barren Hill are three important Festival productions and commissions bringing together a remarkable wealth of theatre talent; in music, we have two very talented young composer/performers: Pius Cheung and Ng Cheuk-yin, and in Cantonese opera, we have a cast of most acclaimed stars presenting plays written by the great playwright of Chinese classical theatre Guan Hanqing.

On the subject of young people, and bearing in mind the need to nurture audiences of the future, the Festival will again offer heavily discounted student tickets and organise special activities and performance opportunities in the Young Friend’s Scheme.

There is much more to say about the wonderful programmes we have in store and I look forward to many conversations with you in the run-up to the Festival. For now, before I conclude, I would like to echo the Chairman’s thanks to our sponsors and funding bodies, and mention that three of the major international programmes for 2008 have been made possible by the new funding model adopted by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.

I look forward to your continued support, to being in touch in the months ahead, and to seeing you at many performances in the 36th Hong Kong Arts Festival. Thank you very much for making the time to be here with us today.


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