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People born in 1930 gather to celebrate historic opening of Yau Ma Tei Theatre (with photos)

     About 300 elderly people born in 1930 and their companions came together to enjoy a Cantonese Opera performance at the newly converted Yau Ma Tei Theatre (YMTT) today (June 16) to commemorate the opening of the former YMTT 82 years ago. They reminisced and shared fond memories of the theatre in the good old days, as well as celebrating its conversion into a contemporary performance venue.

     Another similar gathering will be held tomorrow (June 17), the Father's Day.

     The Yau Ma Tei Theatre (YMTT), which is classified as a Grade 2 historic building, is the only pre-World War II cinema building that survives in the urban area. The building, which opened its doors on June 14, 1930, is characterised by mixed Chinese and Western design, with a Chinese pitched roof, an art deco fa?ade and Dutch gable walls. For several generations, it was a popular place for film buffs and, according to existing records, its first film, "A Plum with Him", was shown on June 21, 1930.

    To commemorate this memorable date in the theatre's history, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) is specially presenting two free Cantonese Opera Excerpts today and tomorrow for elderly people who were born in the same year, as well as their companions. The participants are also being presented with a souvenir and a group photo taken at the theatre.

     The Cantonese Opera Excerpts are among a number of programmes commissioned before the official opening of the converted YMTT. The excerpts, entitled "Stealing of Immortal Herbs" from "The Legend of the White Snake", and "Leading Good Fortune to Home" from "Zhong Kui Marrying His Sister Off", have been arranged by the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong. Well-known Cantonese opera star Law Kar-ying is the artistic director of the programme and the performers include experienced Cantonese Opera performer Cheng Wing-mui and budding artists.

     The YMTT (including the theatre and the Red Brick Building) will have its official opening in mid-July. The venue has now been converted into a performing arts venue for the promotion of various forms of Chinese opera, and in particular as a training and performance venue for nurturing Cantonese Opera talents. The Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong, the venue partner at the YMTT since April this year, has the mission of nurturing up-and-coming and young Cantonese Opera performers.

Ends/Saturday, June 16, 2012
Issued at HKT 17:22


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