Arts academy to offer Chinese opera degree course

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 4:11am

The world's first bachelor degree programme focusing on Cantonese opera will be launched in Hong Kong, and it is hoped the new course will coincide with the city's development of the West Kowloon arts hub project.

Academy for Performing Arts director Adrian Walter said the four-year degree course, which will start in September, was aimed at offering students a higher level of study to master the art of Cantonese opera, and also to strengthen the connection between the academy's training and the industry.

"When these students graduate, they can move into the professional business," said Walter of the academy's aspirations for its new Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) degree in Chinese Opera, with a focus on Cantonese opera performance and music.

The academy currently offers two-year diploma and advanced diploma courses in the study of Cantonese opera. The degree programme will double the study time. Walter said that in the past, the study of Cantonese opera was based on an apprenticeship model. But formal education was now necessary as times had changed and students responded differently, he said.

The academy presently has 20 staff members working in the Chinese opera degree programme. Industry professionals, primarily from Hong Kong, would be invited to give master classes, and internship opportunities would also increase, said Walter, adding that he hoped eight to 12 students would be admitted into the first year of the new degree programme.

The Home Affairs Bureau's funding for the academy has been increased in recent years. Last year, the academy received HK$236.2 million. The amount went up to HK$269.4 million this year, and it will go up further to HK$283 million next year. Tuition for the degree programme will be HK$42,000 a year.

The course's first batch of students will graduate in 2017 - a year after the commissioning of the Xiqu Centre in West Kowloon Cultural District.

Walter said working with the West Kowloon arts hub was vital as it would be the academy's main performance space and education resource.

He said many of the academy's students were committed to education, and that he hoped to enhance the impact of the academy's teaching by working closely with the arts hub.