Overall attendance over 98% in the 2008 Hong Kong Arts Festival

March 17th, 2008

The 2008 Hong Kong Arts Festival added another full house to its impressive record this year with a sold-out performance by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of principal conductor Vladimir Jurowski on 16 March.

Overall ticket sales this year set a 36-year record high at overall attendance of over 98%. As a result of audience support, the Festival presented eight additional shows*. All programmes presented achieved over 90% attendance, of which 81 performances of all 90 performances presented (including the additional shows) or 90% were completely sold out.

Adding to the splendid array of international performers in the Arts Festival, the equestrian theatre ZingarO's Battuta is performing a series of 32 performances parallel to the Festival period. Jointly presented by the Hong Kong Arts Festival and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, Battuta is performed in a tent specially built in Hung Hom Ferry Pier Lawn. The theatre will close on 23 March. As of today, 98.7% of all 40,000 tickets are sold.

Ms Tisa Ho, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, said, "this was an adventurous year for us in terms of scale and scope; and I am delighted that in addition to excellent support at home, we have seen an encouraging increase in media exposure in neighbouring cities this year. This is strong indication that while serving the local audiences and artists, the Hong Kong Arts Festival can also make a real contribution to Hong Kong's leadership position in the region and as a major international centre."

The 2008 Hong Kong Arts Festival presented six world premieres, six Asian premieres and one world premiere tour. There were three Festival commissions: Titus Andronicus, The Shape of Things and Danny Yung Experimental Theatre – Tears of Barren Hill (co-commissioned with Zuni Icosahedron). A range of exceptional artists from 12 countries, regions and cities participated, with a total number of 1,249 performers and supporting staff.

The Festival’s Young Friends Scheme (YFS) continues to generate great interest among students. This year 6,412 students from 137 secondary schools and 32 tertiary institutions attended 44 performances and rehearsals. This amounted to a total YFS audience of 12,824.

The Festival Plus events were an important component of this year’s Festival experience. A total of 26 talks, lecture demonstrations, workshops, masterclasses, symposiums and meet-the-artist sessions and a symposium on funding models were presented as part of the Festival Plus this year.

The Festival also announced some of the highlights of the 37th Hong Kong Arts Festival which will run from 5 February to 8 March 2009. These include Handel’s Alcina; Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk; the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir; Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Ton Koopman and The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra. There will also be Yue, Kun and Cantonese Opera productions as well as major choral works. Other highlights include The White Body by Ea Sola, Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones and a recital by pianist Sergio Tiempo. Programme details will be released in August this year, and advance bookings will open in October.

A major international arts festival and a premier arts event in the Asia-Pacific region, the annual Hong Kong Arts Festival is committed to presenting works of the highest artistic standards, featuring artists from around the world and leading artists from mainland China and Hong Kong.

For more information please contact the Festival’s Marketing Director, Ms Katy Cheng on (852) 2824 3555.

* The eight additional shows were for the following productions: Fragments; American Repertory Theatre – Orpheus X; ExxonMobil Vision – Pius Cheung Marimba Recital; Hiromi’s Sonicbloom – Time Control; Titus Andronicus; The Shape of Things (two performances); and Hungarian State Folk Ensemble – Hungarian Concerto.

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