New pass just the ticket for families

FAMILY value is highlighted in this year's Hongkong Arts Festival with the introduction of a new Family Ticket programme.

The festival has always provided for younger audiences, according to Mr Tseng Sun-man, the festival's general manager.

As an incentive, those who book family tickets for three or more shows on the Family Entertainment programme will be given a 10 per cent discount on the total cost.

There are four shows to choose from.

The most unusual is the 1,000-year-old art form of water puppetry, performed by the National Water Puppet Theatre of Vietnam.

This is a unique form of theatre, with a pond, river, or as in Hongkong, a swimming pool, constituting the stage.

This form of puppetry is performed by travelling troupes, of which the National Water Puppet Theatre is the best known.

There is theatrical magic with the Hongkong debut of American mime, dance and magic artist Jeff McBride.

In Mask, Mime and Magic, McBride combines magic with performing arts such as Kabuki theatre and martial arts.

McBride's style is popular because he rarely uses the spoken word and therefore cuts across language barriers and appeals to the very young.

During his 90-minute show, McBride will show off hi-tech illusions dramatising traditional myths from around the world.

There is more festival puppetry from the Obraztsov Puppet Theatre from the former Soviet Union.

Founded by Sergei Obraztsov, the theatre features poodles that sing duets with chickens, a baby who plays Chopin concertos and puppet orchestras.

The fourth and final act in the Family Programme is the Velo Theatre Group from Canada, which will present a 11/2-hour production consisting of two shows, titled The Postman and The Fisherman.