Festival to tighten belt after funds cut

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 August, 2002, 12:00am

The Hong Kong Arts Festival will have to tighten its belt for the 2003 programme after losing $3 million in funding.

A festival source said yesterday the Jockey Club, one of the event's biggest sponsors, would cut its contribution of $7.55 million to $4.51 million. The festival's operational budget is $60 million.

Kau Ng, the festival director, confirmed they were notified about the cut in early July, but maintains there will be no cancellation of international acts.

'We are working closely with our other sponsors in hopefully securing more donations, as well as trying to reduce our administrative and promotional budget,' he said.

'We have to tighten our belts and do our best, there is no other way.'

As contracts for all international acts have been confirmed, there is speculation by local artists that the festival will reduce local programmes.

The 2003 Hong Kong Arts Festival highlights include renowned conductor Kurt Masur leading the Orchestre National de France, and Stuttgart Opera performing Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio.

Also making a return are Hamburg Ballet and avant garde director Robert Lepage.

In a bid to attract younger audiences, the festival will feature a Korean rock musical entitled Line 1 , and the Junebug Symphony, a surreal theatrical piece created by James Thierre, the grandson of silent-screen icon Charlie Chaplin.

The festival will take place from February 27 to March 2. Advance bookings will open on October 31.