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LCQ2: Performing arts venues of Leisure and Cultural Services Department

     Following is a question by the Hon Sin Chung-kai and a written reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Lau Kong-wah, in the Legislative Council today (April 20):


     Some cultural and arts organisations have complained to me that the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) has, over the years, repeatedly rejected their applications for hiring performance venues under LCSD.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the dates and number of days of closure of each performance venue under LCSD in each of the past three years due to repair and maintenance or other reasons, as well as the number of days available for hire by organisations;

(2) of the number of applications rejected by LCSD, in each of the past three years, for hiring performance venues, and the names of the organisations making such applications; the general reasons for LCSD's refusal to let its performance venues to such organisations; and

(3) whether LCSD has drawn up a blacklist of organisations that are prohibited from hiring its performance venues; if LCSD has, of such lists for the past three years; if not, whether LCSD has looked into the reasons for individual organisations' repeated failure to hire such performance venues?



     The creative liveliness of performing arts is the cultural heartbeat of any city.  The Government is committed to the provision of quality performing arts venues and facilities to cater for the needs of members of the public and arts groups.  These venues and facilities are open for public hiring as part of the Government's efforts in arousing public interest in and promoting the development and appreciation of arts and culture in Hong Kong.  My reply to the various parts of the Hon Sin's question is as follows:

(1) In order to maintain the quality of the facilities and service provided, time slots are reserved during the year to carry out routine repair, maintenance or improvement works at the performing arts venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD).  In general, 20 to 30 days are required per year for quarterly and annual inspections as well as follow-up maintenance of the major facilities of the venues.  Also, works are continually arranged by the LCSD at some of its venues, particularly for those built during the 1980s or 1990s, for the replacement and upgrading of ageing and obsolete facilities.  To ensure equal opportunities for people with disabilities for using its facilities, the LCSD has been carrying out barrier-free access improvement works at all of its performing arts venues during recent years in accordance with the design standards set out in "Design Manual: Barrier-Free Access" (2008 edition).  Information on the numbers of days available for hiring and closed for repair, maintenance or improvement works for the 14 performing arts venues managed by the LCSD from 2012-13 to 2014-15 are at Annex I.

(2) and (3) All along the LCSD has been ensuring fairness, openness and transparency in its hiring policy.  All hiring applications are processed according to the established policy, criteria and procedures.  The relevant criteria are laid down in "Booking Arrangements" of individual venues and uploaded to their webpage for potential hirers' reference.  

     The function organised by the hirer should be in compliance with the designated use of the respective facilities.  If there is more than one applicant applying for the same slot, the LCSD will consider each application having regard to a number of factors including the nature (priority will be accorded to arts-related activities) and artistic merits of the proposed function, its value to the promotion of arts and culture in the community, whether a new applicant is organising arts-related functions or the organising ability of past successful hirer as well as the duration of period applied for in assessing the priority for slot allocation.  If applicants score same marks, the time slot concerned will be allocated by random ballot through the computerised booking system.

     In addition, according to the LCSD's existing policy, events organised/sponsored by the Department or funded by the Home Affairs Bureau as well as Cantonese opera troupes (only year-round for the Ko Shan Theatre and its New Wing; and designated slots for the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Sha Tin Town Hall, Tsuen Wan Town Hall and Kwai Tsing Theatre) enjoy priority use of the performing arts venues.

     The LCSD does not bar any organisations from hiring its performing arts venues.  However, inevitably there are unsuccessful applications due to the limited time slots available.  During the period between 2012-13 and 2014-15, the numbers of unsuccessful applications are 8,257, 9,998 and 11,924 respectively, accounting for about 70 per cent of the total number of applications received.  Details are set out at Annex II.

     The Government will review the overall supply of performing arts venues and facilities from time to time so as to meet the needs of the arts and cultural sector and the community.  The East Kowloon Cultural Centre in Ngau Tau Kok is now under construction; and Phase I of the facility upgrading work of the Tai Po Civic Centre will soon commence.  In addition to the performing arts venues of the LCSD, the West Kowloon Cultural District will develop a cluster of arts and cultural facilities targeting at different art forms and world class presentation.  Upon commissioning of these venues and facilities, more choices of performing arts venues will be made available to the arts groups.

Ends/Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Issued at HKT 11:51


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