The Hong Kong Repertory Theatre could have a home as soon as 1999 if plans to build four theatres win approval. This could also result in more experimental works. It would also mean blockbuster productions such as Les Miserables would stay for longer than the three-month limit. The Urban Council plans to erect a 1,000 seater theatre, two 800-seaters and a 400-seat studio have excited amateur and semi-professional performers. 'Hong Kong has always missed a venue just the right size for experimental groups . . .,' Theatre Ensemble's director Chim Sui-man said yesterday. Ada Wong Ying-kay, chairman of the working group on the Urban Council plan, said: 'I think it would be very important for the development of smaller theatrical groups to give them a theatre of the right size . . .' She said these groups were losing out in terms of bookings - they were not able to plan far enough in advance to secure a venue. One of the 800-seat theatres could house the Hong Kong Repertory. 'We would like one of them to be home for the Rep Theatre. At the moment they have no home base. 'For this group to grow, we think it's best for them to have a home with workshops, sets, storage,' Ms Wong said. The 1,000-seat theatre would be for major local productions - Chinese opera, ballet and theatre - leaving the Cultural Centre's Grand Theatre for international productions. Arts Development Council executive director Katherine Hall heralded the plans as 'a very timely thing'. 'Perhaps they can also be more flexible with the venues,' she added, pointing to strict guidelines on vacating the theatres and moving sets. Funding for performing arts in 1996-97 is estimated at $805 million. Rough estimates put the cost of a new theatre with 800 to 1,200 capacity at $480 million.