LAST year, the American Community Theatre presented the vibrant young talents from Howard University, Washington DC, who did Dream Girls. Opening on Thursday for a seven-night run at the APA Drama Theatre will be Stephen Jeffreys' adaptation of Charles Dickens' great classic Hard Times, presented by the graduating students from England's Guildford School of Acting. ''It's part of our policy to do one overseas production each year,'' an ACT spokeswoman explained this week. Most laudable - but what's an American outfit doing with a production from Britain? In case you haven't noticed, the ACT is thoroughly international these days and drama fans can only rejoice in this initiative to forge links between Hongkong and some of the English-speaking world's finest acting schools. Guildford, led by principal Michael Gaunt - one of Britain's most prominent actors and a panel member of the 1993/94 Olivier Awards - is definitely the creme de la creme. Last year's graduating class included Lynn Redgrave's daughter and the 12-member cast coming to Hongkong looks very impressive. ''All art is international and it is very important for actors at the training stage of their lives to open up their consciousness to other cultures,'' says Gaunt, who will be accompanying his latest marvels and directing them in Hard Times. How did the ACT get in on this particular act? Easy. One of its young members, Hongkong-raised Peter Dickson, is now studying at Guildford and he dropped the word. ANOTHER dozen of the best are about to make their local debut. They are the members of Chanticleer, an all-male a capella ensemble from San Francisco which will perform at the Cultural Centre Concert Hall tomorrow night. The only full-time professional group of its kind in the US, Chanticleer has won a stunning reputation both at home and abroad - not least for its wide-ranging repertoire. Founded 14 years ago, Chanticleer's music director is Joseph Jenning who also sings, conducts and arranges pop music. Equally impressive are the others, dubbed as ''an orchestra of voices'' because of their seamless sound and sheer vocal beauty. So impressed with Chanticleer was Taiwan after a recent tour, that Taiwan Television went all the way to San Francisco to film the ensemble. Hongkong will also be getting the works. Pieces from the Renaissance, spirituals, jazz, barbershop and folk songs - all and more are in the programme. MIME and the movies will come together at the Cultural Centre Studio Theatre from Thursday to April 18 when Japan's Mugon-Geki Company presents Image Cine Circus. Established in Paris in 1976 by Ikuo Mitsuhashi, this ensemble quickly made its mark on TV and major European festivals and has gone truly international since 1981 when it was re-formed in Japan. Combining skilful body language, circus tricks and dance movements, Mugon-Geki will ''recapture highlights of local and foreign films as well as the lustre of famous film stars'' via a ''fantastic'' lineup including Star Wars, Superman, ET, The King and I, Gandhi, Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Six shows, including two matinees, will be given.