PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 June, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 June, 2000, 12:00am

Caring parents should take their children to see the forthcoming show The Yale Whiffenpoofs - A Cappella Singing, so the Fringe Club advises us. We're told that when one executive director last year took his daughter to see the Harvard Din & Tonics (who, incidentally, will be performing at the Fringe next month), the teenager was so taken by the all-male a cappella singing group that she told her father she would study hard to get into Harvard. The director was apparently so pleased with his daughter's enthusiasm that he now recommends these singing shows to parents who want to get their children thinking about going to America's Ivy League universities at an early age. However, this column believes parents should also be aware of what exactly these young girls are impressed with: the group's fine singing voices or their good looks? The Yale Whiffenpoofs are at the Fringe on June 19 and 20 at 7pm. Tel: 2521 7251. Tickets: $150.

It was only a matter of time. Having picked up numerous awards for screen adaptations of his plays (I Have A Date With Spring, The Legend Of The Mad Phoenix and The Umbrella Story just to name a few) prolific playwright Raymond To Kwok-wai is finally debuting as a film director. And what better way to kick-start his budding movie career than with his own play, Forever And Ever, staged by the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre in January 1999. Shooting is scheduled to start next month. Forever And Ever It is a bittersweet tale about the relationship betweena young HIV-infected writer, his mother and her friend who also has the Aids virus.

Horrors! Staff at the Hong Kong Arts Centre appear to have adopted that secretive corporate practice of hiding behind the switchboard operator (you know, the one that goes: press one if you want to reach the executive office, press two if you want the personnel department, press three if you are still there and have not exploded in frustration). Gone is that friendly voice who connects callers. Now if you don't know who you want to speak to, you get transferred to the receptionist, who is (more shrieks!) an answering machine. We were assured all messages left on the centre's answerphones would be answered as soon as possible. Well, we should hope so too, because how else are we going to find out what great shows they are putting on.

A new system called Tixmart (2815 1516) has joined the growing number of ticket booking hotlines. With this one, someone human (yes, a real person!) answers your call. Rumours abound that a number of arts venues are considering breaking away from the Urbtix network to introduce their own hotlines. Watch this space.