The following is issued on behalf of the Provisional Regional Council:
With the unveiling of a commemorative plaque, the Kwai Tsing Theatre located adjacent to the MTR Kwai Fong Station at 12 Hing Ning Road, Kwai Chung, is officially declared open this evening (Thursday) by the Chairman of the Provisional Regional Council (Pro RC), Mr Lau Wong-fat.
The $468 million theatre, under construction since 1994, houses a 900-seat auditorium, an exhibition gallery, a dance studio, a lecture room, a rehearsal room, a 5000-square-metre open-air plaza and catering facilities.
The grand ceremony not only unveils a milestone for the theatre but also kicks off a four-and-a-half-month-long opening theatrical arts festival entitled "Literature in Theatre - A Celebration of the Arts". A total of 56 performances, activities and workshops will be presented by top performing troupes from local and overseas.
Mr Wong said: "The Kwai Tsing Theatre is a well-equipped theatre designed for drama, Chinese and western opera, ballet and concert performances. It is the medium-scale theatre we have been waiting for."
He firmly believed that with the approach of the new millennium, this new venue would be a new cultural focus and contribute to the arts and culture in Hong Kong and enrich the life of people in the territory.
With the opening of this remarkable theatre, Mr Wong said: "This turns a new leaf for culture and the arts in Hong Kong. In building this remarkable facility, the Pro RC has shown its initiatives and commitment towards promoting the arts.
"Since deciding to build the Kwai Tsing Theatre in 1990, it took the Pro RC ten years of hard work to plan, design and build the theatre. At this evening's opening ceremony, we are able to witness the fruition of the Council's efforts in promoting the arts."
He also paid tribute to the contributions from councillors serving on the Culture and Arts Select Committee, Capital Works Select Committee and the Steering Committee on Kwai Tsing Theatre Project, staff of the Regional Services Department and the Architectural Services Department.
Also officiating at the ceremony are Pro RC's Culture and Arts Select Committee Chairman, Ms Cheung Yuet-lan; Pro RC's Capital Works Select Committee Chairman, Mr Wellington Cheng Wing-kee; Pro RC's Steering Committee on the Kwai Tsing Theatre Project, Mr Alan Tam King-wah; and the Director of Regional Services, Mrs Helen Yu Lai Ching-ping.
Turning to tonight's opening theatrical arts festival-- the "Literature in Theatre - A celebration of the Arts", Mr Wong said: "We are promising our audience a sumptuous feast of theatrical entertainment."
Today's festival, last until April 1 next year, will cover the mainstream drama, modern drama, experimental performances, traditional Chinese operas and new western operas to be presented by prominent performing troupes from Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. A total of 31 performances will be staged.
Apart from tonight's special opening presentation of "Prime Minister of the Six States", programmes in the "Literary Cantonese Opera - An All-star Night" will be presented by some of Hong Kong's most established Cantonese opera stars.
Programmes include a series of traditional repertoire adapted from literary classics, namely, "Murder of Fury" from the Water Margin; "Escape from Deep Meditation" and "The Interrogation" from The West Chamber; "Chang Ban Bo" from the Three Kingdoms; "To Bid Farewell" from the Story of the Hairpin; "Meeting by the Well" from Liu Zhi Yan (The Story of White Rabbit); "The Reunion" from the Blessing of the Moon; and "In Plea of Her Husband" from Putting the Dog to Death. There will be four performances from January 20 to 23.
Other visiting participants of the arts festival include the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company (UK) with the very contemporary comedy "The Taming of the Shrew"; the renowned Shanghai Kunju Opera Troupe to give its Hong Kong premiere the complete version of "Peony Pavilion"; and Taiwan's Fu Hsing Chinese Opera Troupe and well-known actor Wu Hsingkuo to bring in "Rashomon".
Locally, veteran opera producer Lo King-man, in collaboration with young composers Lo Hau-man and Lam Shun will premiere opera derived from Lu Xhun's short stories "The Lam of Everlasting Light" and "The Divorce".
Artistic Director Ko Tin-lung of Chung Ying Theatre and renowned playwright Raymond To will present "A Tale of an Evanescent Mortal", a drama on the life of an extremely colourful personality in modern Chinese literature and history - Su Manshu.
Director Hoyingfung of Theatre Fanatico will bring to the festival a bold and cross-cultural attempt that takes off from General Yue Fei of Song Dynasty and Shakespeare's Coriolanus, to explore the possibility of fusion between traditional opera and modern theatre.
Zuni Icosahedron will present four contemporary versions of the Bard's "King Lear", with Hong Kong's Danny Yung, Beijing's Meng Jinghui, and Taipei's Edward Yang and Stan Lai participating in experiment.
The Theatre Ensemble will adapt George Orwell's "Animal Farm" to the contemporary office to create a satire on the staying power of politics.
The story-telling series is another outstanding feature in this festival, showcasing traditional Cantonese story-singing, contemporary poetry reading and story-telling for the youths.
An Open Day will be held on December 26 for the community. Free programmes shall be arranged to enable visitors to experience the facilities of the theatre in first hand.
End/Thursday, November 18, 1999