There aren't many people around the industrial district at Kwai Fong on a Sunday afternoon. But sounds of Chinese traditional instrument - erhu, guqin, pipa, flute and gong - ring out from a factory block. Inside a factory-turned-studio, Tom Kwong Tsz-wai and Cindy Yu Sze-man are wearing bulky costumes and boots, and armed with long spears. The two are preparing for the traditional Cantonese opera play Who Should Be The Commander-in-chief? which will be performed at the Kwai Tsing Theatre. Although they are only 11 and 14 years old respectively, the pair are seen as rising stars in the traditional art. 'I have been practising Cantonese opera for four years. I first started for my grandmother - she's a big fan. I wanted to entertain her and make her laugh,' says Tom, who wears a helmet attached with long pheasant feathers, and a dress with Dai Kow pennants resembling a warrior's armour. 'She's too old to attend my performances, but whenever I visit her, I sing a song for her.' Cindy was attracted by the decorative costumes. 'When I first saw Cantonese opera five years ago, I was totally amazed by the dresses. I fell in love with it,' she says. There are worries that this traditional art may die out. The lease for the only commercial venue for Cantonese opera - North Point's Sunbeam Theatre - runs out in 2009. But younger fans like Tom and Cindy have been working hard to revive it over the past few years. Thanks to efforts of the government and other organisations, Cantonese opera has become a popular extra-curricular activity. Small groups like the Small Red Boat Cantonese Operatic Song Association - the one Tom and Cindy belong to - are springing up all over the city. 'There is a generation gap in Cantonese opera. While people in their mid-20s to 40s have little interest, a large number of children and students are now picking it up,' says Kappa Yuen Sin-ting, 20, an instructor with the group. Cantonese opera is difficult for young people. They have to learn a totally different style of singing that requires special breathing techniques. What's more, some plays require difficult actions such as doing the splits or fighting with swords or spears. It takes at least three years before performers are given significant roles. Performers also have to remember hundreds of lines in ancient Cantonese for each play, but they gain a lot from their hard work. 'It's an interesting way to learn Chinese language, culture and history,' says Cindy. 'Some stories are based on legends and heroic figures, and we learn to speak proper Cantonese.'