Those curious about the inner workings of the stage and entertainment world had a glimpse behind the scenes at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (APA) open day recently. Students and staff of the APA's four schools of dance, drama, music and technical arts had set up information counters and displays, held workshops, and gave performances and demonstrations relating to their various departments. Music was in the air all day as different ensemble groups gave mini-concerts in the purple-carpeted atrium. A brass band welcomed visitors with a fanfare at the opening ceremony, followed by more acoustic thrills from African drums and percussion, as well as jazz, woodwind, keyboard and Chinese music. For the technical arts students it was a rare opportunity to enjoy the spotlight and be seen by the public. Their work goes on in the background as they attend to stage design, lighting, props and the like. Stage management student Sheila Tsang See-lai told Young Post that audiences do not often realise that a stage show has a large technical crew, hidden from sight, to make sure everything is in place and the show runs smoothly. 'There's a lot going on that you don't ever see,' she said. 'The stage manager is the busy middle-man who has to attend to the needs of the director, stage designers, actors and actresses. And he has to be on maximum alert to make sure no one gets hurt, as there are many hidden dangers in the stage business,' she said. She said the APA was adding more management courses to prepare the students for arts administration work. The corridors were lined with intriguing props (statues of Greek gods) and costumes (Victorian ladies swathed in layers of fabric), while those who wished to sing could do so in a karaoke workshop. In one studio, dance students demonstrated basic ballet steps, while in another the pace quickened to the sound and rhythms of jazz dance. Visitors were allowed to go backstage at the Lyric Theatre where stage management students had set displays of various stage projects. The APA offers diploma, advanced diploma, professional diploma, and bachelor degree courses in all aspects of the performing arts.