The 45th Hong Kong Arts Festival closes on 18 March
Over 1,700 top international and local artists in 180 performances
with over 93% of tickets sold
(Hong Kong, 18 March 2017) The 45th Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF) celebrates its official finale on 18 March with a performance of The Dream of Red Chamber, a co-production by San Francisco Opera and Hong Kong Arts Festival. At the post-performance ceremony, Guest of Honour, Mr Matthew Cheung, Chief Secretary for Administration, toasts this major annual international event and highlight of Hong Kong’s cultural calendar.
This year’s HKAF has presented over 1,700 acclaimed artists from at home and around the world in 180 performances. It has featured a total of 16 new works/world premieres, 14 Asian premieres and 48 free performances of the sound installation Chorus.
Of the 107,000 available tickets for sale, close to 100,000 tickets have been sold, representing an average attendance rates above 93%. The total ticketed audience number is close to 111,000, including 11,000 Young Friends. Across the 132 ticketed performances, 104 have had attendance rates of over 90%, with 84 at full capacity.
In addition to the wide array of performances, the HKAF has presented, in its 45th season, a total of 400 outreach events comprising events for Young Friends, other education activities with schools and community groups, and a comprehensive PLUS programme of talks, workshops and master classes.
This year’s Festival has also included free, special participatory events: SUPER POOL, a creation by US interactive media artist Jen Lewin (co-presented with The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust), has staged 186 sessions; also the 48 free performances of Chorus, by UK sound artist Ray Lee, have marked the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of HKSAR, with funding from the HKSAR government through the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
The 2017 Festival’s total budget is over HK$120 million. As a non-profit organisation, HKAF receives 14% of its income from the Government in the form of recurrent subvention. Another 9% is specially provided by the Government in 2017 for programmes celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the HKSAR. Box office income contributes another 28%. Over 32% of Festival income comes from sponsorship and donations from corporations, individuals, and charitable foundations. The Festival is grateful to have received support from the two main funding bodies, 26 major sponsors, Patron’s Club members, numerous corporate and individual donors, as well as in-kind and other supporters.
It is anticipated that the remaining 17% of the budget will come from the Government’s new matching scheme, which matches income generated through private sector sponsorship and donations.
HKAF productions and commissions
In addition to presenting renowned overseas artists, the HKAF continues to commission new works and showcase local creative talents. New HKAF productions at the Festival have included the Jockey Club Local Creative Talents Series Hong Kong Odyssey; A Floating Family (a trilogy of three plays: Hong Kong Astronaut, All Out of Love and Vacant in the City), and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Series featuring 11 new dance works created by young talented local dance makers. Danz Up 2.0, a Jockey Club-funded revival of an acclaimed 2016 HKAF production, forms parts of the Festival’s 45th anniversary celebrations, with three performances in Hong Kong in May 2017, followed by tours to Singapore and Shenzhen.
Festival PLUS has continued to present a wide range of events including masterclasses, lecture demonstrations, talks, workshops and meet-the-artist sessions. This year’s HKAF Distinguished Cultural Leader Talk Series presented Garry Hynes and Marie Mullen, founders of Druid Theatre. Artist Salon is a series which gave audiences the chance to have up-close encounters with Festival artists, while Discovering Bauhaus offered a series of lectures, workshops and backstage tours, illuminating the various aspects of Bauhaus and its influence on modern art and design. A special exhibition has also been held during the Festival to reflect on HKAF’s journey as part of the continuing story of the performing arts in Hong Kong.
Reaching out to young people
HKAF’s Young Friends Scheme has remained popular amongst students this year with 6,200 participants from secondary schools and tertiary institutions. They have attended a total of 66 performances, rehearsals and Young Friends Specials, while over 18,500 attended 86 school tour showcases and in-school workshops. Discount student tickets are in demand with over 10,000 having been made available, fully supported by the Student Ticket donation scheme.
With the support of corporate sponsors, HKAF organises a wide range of outreach programmes via the Artists-in-Residence Project, school-based projects, as well as arts appreciation performances and workshops targeted at young students. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust continues to sponsor student matinees, enabling 3,200 students who seldom have the resources or opportunities to attend two performances by Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal.
Highlights of the 46th Hong Kong Arts Festival
Highlights of the forthcoming 46th HKAF in 2018 include: State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia “Evgeny Svetlanov” with conductor Kristjan Järvi and pianist Denis Matsuev; Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Estonian National Male Choir with conductor Leif Segerstam; Claude Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande performed by Welsh National Opera; Vox Clamantis with conductor Jaan-Eik Tulve; Whipped Cream, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, performed by American Ballet Theatre; Cantonese Opera Farewell My Concubine; and Anna Karenina, choreographed by Christian Spuck and performed by Zurich Ballet. More programme highlights will be announced in August and Advance Booking for the 46th HKAF will start in October.
About the Hong Kong Arts Festival (www.hk.artsfestival.org)
Launched in 1973, the Hong Kong Arts Festival is a major international arts festival committed to enriching the cultural life of the city. The Festival also commissions and produces work in theatre, music, chamber opera and contemporary dance by Hong Kong’s own creative talents and emerging artists, many of which have had successful subsequent runs both locally and overseas.
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