Costumes inspired by the futuristic film Fifth Element and Hong Kong contemporary jazz meet William Shakespeare head-on in the Youth Arts Festival (YAF) production of Much Ado About Nothing. 'Theatre person' as he calls himself, Steven Cannon of Hong Kong Drama in Education is the man behind this dynamic sounding project. He promises: 'The costumes will be weird. They are inspired by the film Fifth Element where they were made by Jean Paul Gaultier. I love the science-fiction aspect but also the vibrant colours and shapes. And to match the contemporary costumes is a score written by Hong Kong-based jazz pianist Alan Youngblood.' Mr Cannon, a native of Vancouver, wears many hats - not just Gaultier-inspired ones. He selected the cast of 15 from around 40 under the age of 25. In addition to directing the production, he is also making the costumes, building the set and is spokesman, as well as a counsellor, for the cast. Mr Cannon arrived in Hong Kong in January this year and shortly after got involved in a 'schools workshop' of King Lear, where he and several actors went into schools and improvised and explored this Shakespeare tragedy. In answer to a call from Lindsey McAlister, founder and director of YAF, Mr Cannon agreed to put on a performance in English as there was a dearth of applications for all-English-speaking performances. Much Ado About Nothing is sponsored by the YAF and the Royal Society of St George (HK Branch) who support events which keep the classics alive. Mr Cannon said the reason he chose Much Ado About Nothing is that: 'This particular Shakespeare play is part of the school text. It is a comedy, which makes it easier to perform than a tragedy. It's a nice play - pleasant with no fighting.' It is not the fear of endorsing violence among Hong Kong's youth that helped determine Mr Cannon's decision but rather the difficulty in choreographing fighting scenes. He said from past experience the young combatants tended to burst out into laughter. The cast which ranges from 11 to 25 years old is a mix of cultures. Mr Cannon said non-native English speakers' readings of Shakespeare are in some ways better than those of natives as they approach Shakespeare as if they were learning a new word. 'Most kids love to act, some want to be professionals, others just enjoy it.' The young thespians, he said, were more inspired by Kenneth Branagh, who has directed several Shakespeare plays for the screen, rather than by the teenage heart-throb appeal of Leonard di Caprio, star of the latest Romeo and Juliet film. Much Ado About Nothing November 28-30. Shouson Theatre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai. 7.30pm. $50.