West Kowloon Cultural District

West Kowloon arts hub operational plan for venues revealed

Groups to be engaged as either resident or associate partners to guide programmes

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 May, 2014, 4:19am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 May, 2015, 11:40am

An artistic framework for the direction and operation of performing arts facilities at the West Kowloon arts hub is being developed ahead of the opening of the first venues from 2016.

Executive director for performing arts Louis Yu Kwok-lit said yesterday the arts hub authority had come up with a scheme for direction of the venues and an operation plan that would engage arts bodies either as resident partners or associate partners.

Under the plan, selected local groups would become resident partners, contributing to a venue's artistic direction, collaborating on programming, and having priority access.

Associate partners, open to local and overseas groups and individual artists, would have priority access to the venue.

"The plan is a result of the long-term engagement with the arts community and we still have time to decide," Yu said.

He said the Xiqu Centre, Freespace and Lyric Theatre would be among the performing arts venues ready for use. While the Xiqu Centre and Freespace would seek associate partners, Lyric Theatre would involve both associate and resident partners.

Freespace, the first venue ready in 2016, would play the role as a cultural incubator for more experimental works aimed at a younger audience, Yu said.

The venue is made up of a 450-seat black box for all art forms and an outdoor stage mainly for music performances able to entertain more than 10,000 people.

The Xiqu Centre will be ready in 2016 or 2017 despite a four-month delay in preparing the tender documents.

The HK$2.7 billion building, designed by Bing Thom Architects and Ronald Lu and Partners, will feature a 1,100-seat theatre and a 200-seat tea house plus educational facilities and a retail and dining area.

Yu said that besides Chinese opera, it was hoped other traditional Chinese musical performances could be staged.

Foundations of the Xiqu Centre were due for completion soon and construction would start by the end of this year, Yu said.

The Lyric Theatre, focusing on dance, is due to be completed by 2019. Earlier this month, the authority appointed a joint venture of Dutch firm UNStudio and Hong Kong's AD+RG as design consultant for the theatre, next to the M+ museum.

Yu said details of the design of the park, including Freespace and the arts pavilion, were expected to be unveiled in summer. He said the performing arts team had more than 20 people and recruitment was continuing.