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Speech by CS at Ground Breaking Ceremony of Xiqu Centre of West Kowloon Cultural District (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech delivered by the Chief Secretary for Administration and Chairman of the Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the Ground Breaking Ceremony of Xiqu Centre of West Kowloon Cultural District today (September 24):

Ladies and gentlemen,

     Welcome to the Xiqu Centre Ground Breaking Ceremony. Today marks the beginning of the construction of the Xiqu Centre, the first landmark performing arts venue in the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), and is a defining moment in the development of the WKCD project. It also underlines the importance that the Government attaches to supporting the development of Cantonese opera in Hong Kong.

     I am pleased that the design of the Xiqu Centre not only meets the requirements of this unique art form, but is also conceived with sustainability in mind. Through ingenious architectural and engineering solutions, energy consumption as well as capital and operating costs of the Xiqu Centre can be lowered.

     The Xiqu Centre will provide a platform for Xiqu communities to interact and develop the finest examples of Cantonese and other Chinese opera performances, and to nurture new artists and build new audiences for this remarkable art form. Scheduled for completion in 2016, the Xiqu Centre will provide a 1,100-seat Main Theatre, a Tea House, training and educational facilities as well as public open spaces for visitors' enjoyment.

     Apart from building hardware, we also attach great importance to cultural software development. Our next mission is to map out the artistic positioning and mode of operation of the Xiqu Centre. The Authority has engaged with stakeholders to exchange views on the way forward for the venue, and will press ahead with relevant works. The Authority will also continue to organise performances, talks, education and research programmes and exhibitions like the well-received "West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre" and the "Xiqu Centre Seminar Series", etc, to build audiences and enhance artistic and professional development. Our goal is to preserve and promote Cantonese opera and Chinese traditional theatre in Hong Kong and beyond through the Xiqu Centre.

     The WKCD is a long-term strategic investment made by the HKSAR Government to promote the development of arts and creative industries, meet the growing cultural needs of the public and strengthen Hong Kong's position as an international arts and cultural metropolis. We will continue to engage the community with programmes that promote excellence, innovation and diversity and take forward the WKCD as a world-class arts hub that will make us proud, where everyone may relax, be inspired and enjoy an extraordinary cultural experience.

     I would like to express my sincere thanks to the arts and cultural community and the public for their support to the WKCD project, and wish the construction of the Xiqu Centre every success. Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:49


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