The 37th Hong Kong Arts Festival 2009 officially closed Over 94% of tickets sold

March 09th, 2009

The 37th Hong Kong Arts Festival 2009 (HKAF) officially concluded on 8 March. The Festival presented 126 performances, including four free outdoor performances and catered to a total audience of over 117,000, among them 12,400 from the Young Friends Scheme (YFS). 1,756 artists from 37 performing groups participated in the Festival with 190 performances and supporting events. There were eight world premieres and eight Asian premieres. Of 122 ticketed performances, 74 were sold out, another 10 performances had over 90% attendance. Three performances were added by popular demand*. Of the 102,000 tickets available at the box office, over 94% were sold.

Mr. Charles Lee, Chairman of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, said, “This year’s Festival is a particularly ambitious one, with 122 ticketed performances, four free outdoor performances, an exhibition of contemporary art and over 60 supporting events and activities. There are performances in venues in the New Territories, and in locations that have never previously been used for performances. Several new initiatives merit special mention: the Mentorship Scheme, which seeks to nurture local talent; the Asia Pacific Dance Platform which connects the Festival to contemporary dance practice in the region, and the Credit Suisse Emerging Artist Series, which offers a showcase to rising stars on the international scene. These are all ways in which the Festival seeks to make an active contribution to the development of the performing arts locally, regionally and internationally.”

Ms. Tisa Ho, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, said, “The range of programmes in the 37th HKAF is remarkable – from Baroque to Bossa Nova – truly a reflection of the diversity and dynamism of Hong Kong. This year, we also made journeys of discovery, both as a thematic idea in programme choices, in our exploration of new performing venues, and in the ways in which we can bring audience and performer together. Responses from artists, audiences and supporters have been most encouraging, and inspire us to work towards an outstanding Festival in 2010.”

The 37th HKAF included four Festival commissions: Murder in San Jose, Black Swan, Book of Ghosts (co-commissioned with Zuni Icosahedron) and ExxonMobil Vision: Primary Shapes An Eternal Golden Braid.

The Festival’s Young Friends Scheme continued to generate great interest among students. This year 6,200 students from 224 secondary schools and 38 tertiary institutions attended 67 performances and rehearsals.

The Festival continued its support to young audiences and the demand for discount student tickets this year was strong. Over 8,900 half-price tickets were made available to students, partly supported by the Student Ticket Scheme.

The Festival Plus events were again an important component of the Festival experience. A total of 64 talks, lecture demonstrations, workshops, masterclasses, meet-the-artist sessions and a symposium on design of art spaces were presented as part of the Festival Plus this year. Also HKAF collaborated with Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre in a special exhibition Voyage of Discovery: Shek Kip Mei to Tsim Sha Tsui, displayed in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre throughout the Festival.

In the third year of the initiative, Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust sponsored another special matinee for young people. Over 1,600 young people and students from 70 organisations and schools, who have not had the resource or opportunity to go to a formal performance, attended a performance of English National Ballet’s Alice in Wonderland.

HKAF also entered into an exclusive three-year partnership with Credit Suisse in the HKAF’s first-ever “Emerging Artists Series”. Credit Suisse is the title sponsor of the series. This year, the Series showcased bass-baritone Shenyang, cellist Trey Lee and choreographer Dick Wong.

The Festival announced some of the highlights of the 38th HKAF which will run from 25 February to 28 March 2010. The Mariinsky Theatre (also known as the Kirov) will bring three programmes: Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin conducted by maestro Valery Gergiev, two orchestral concerts under the baton of Gergiev, and a ballet production of Don Quixote. There would be a major Cantonese Opera production The Imperial Emperor of Heaven Holding Court by Hong Kong Artists Association. 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 three additional shows were for the following productions: Metamorphosis, Murder in San Jose and Lisa Ono – A Celebration of 50 Years of Bossa Nova

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