Around the world, throughout the decades, people have gathered to appreciate the work of the Bard in the great outdoors. Open-air Shakespeare festivals have wowed crowds from London to New York and Sydney, becoming regular fixtures on arts calendars in those cities. But not in Hong Kong - at least, not until now.
Shakespeare in the Port is described by its organisers as Hong Kong's "very first outdoor theatre festival". It will feature 24 performances over 18 days starting in mid-April. In the grassy open space of Cyberport's Podium, audiences will be able to enjoy Shakespeare's genius and (with any luck) views of the harbour.
"Our festival will present these timeless tales in an atmosphere that is casual and fun," says Meaghan McGurgan, the festival organiser.
Alongside traditional Shakespearean fare - from tragedy Julius Caesar to comic classic The Taming of the Shrew - there will be events to give the festival a family-friendly feel: a living-statues project will showcase the great man through fashion; there will be live storytelling; and a party on April 26 will celebrate the Bard's birthday.
Recognising the need to support the local arts scene, the organisers will not be importing actors or producers.
"We've truly embraced the Hong Kong cultural landscape in our casting and show selection. There is a preconceived notion that art made in Hong Kong isn't as good as a tour brought in from England. We hope to change people's minds and show them how wonderfully talented Hong Kong is," says McGurgan.
The festival runs from April 17 to May 4. A season pass, available from www.ticketflap.com costs HK$1,000. Individual performance tickets are also available and children under the age of 12 will be admit-ted for free. For more information, visit www.hongkongshakes.com.