The government should make room for bamboo stages - the traditional theatre setting for Cantonese opera - in the reconsidered plan for the West Kowloon Cultural District, a leading academic said yesterday. The original plans for the arts hub put too much emphasis on western art forms such as opera while neglecting the Chinese roots, associate dean of the Chinese University's Faculty of Arts, Chan Wing-wah, said. 'If you are talking about being creative, you should think of creative venues that could represent local culture,' Professor Chan said. 'With a venue for Cantonese opera we can have a resident performing group. It's also easier to groom a troupe and young talent.' The professor was speaking at the opening of the Gems of Chinese Music exhibition, a four-month display at the Racing Museum in Happy Valley that showcases artefacts from the Chinese University's Chinese Music Archive. He said putting up an indoor bamboo stage, like those erected at outdoor venues across the city on special occasions, would allow visitors to experience the art form in the most traditional way. It would also provide a great opportunity to showcase traditional Chinese architecture and visual arts. 'The bamboo stage is the most traditional. When opera groups travelled to smaller towns with no theatre facilities, they just built a stage. From the western architecture point of view, such structures are fascinating. They can be pulled down and rebuilt at very low cost.' He said the Ramen Museum in Yokohama, an indoor venue with a high ceiling giving visitors the feeling of being in an outdoor environment, was a good example of the use of an indoor bamboo stage. He added: 'A month could be allocated for pulling down and rebuilding the stage, and we could invite foreign scholars to study the architecture at that time.' Professor Chan said Hong Kong was an ideal place for the preservation of Chinese music culture as many of the mainland's treasures were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Archive director Yu Siu-wah said mainland institutions could not compare with the bilingual nature of the Hong Kong archive. The Gems of Chinese Music exhibition features rare collections of manuscripts, replicas of ancient instruments and costumes and scripts used by Cantonese opera legends Yam Kim-fai and Pak Suet-sin. It runs from today until June 30.