Event managers need to give best performance
For Michelle Ho (right), not being on the stage has not prevented her from working in the performing arts industry. As head of the cultural services unit of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG), she makes her artistic contribution as an events manager, guiding the alliance's singers, dancers and actors.
'The stage is not where I belong, but I still play a key role by helping the artists look for performance opportunities, and managing the logistics of performances and promotions. I also help with the art direction by providing ideas on the latest trends and hot topics,' she says.
Ho manages an a capella choir, a dance group and a band under HKFYG, and she plans to have a drama group soon. 'The biggest satisfaction I get is forming a performance group from scratch and seeing it grow,' she says, adding that the work entails hiring artists and art directors, and then finding venues, such as malls, theatres and even street corners.
An event manager does not have to be a performer, but must understand what makes a performance successful.
'My background is in social work. I have no training in art at all, but have a curious mind. The best way to learn is not through books, but by asking. There are no academic qualifications required - you need to love art.
'Normally, I work from 10am to 6pm, but as a performance inches closer, the workload starts to weigh in. We have to stay late, and on the night before the performance, we tend to work overnight. The workload can be overwhelming at times,' she says.
Ho notes that skills in event management - which can involve NGOs, private firms or public groups - are in demand. 'I think the West Kowloon cultural hub is a sign that demand for cultural performances is increasing,' she says.