Seven arts groups have joined 40 schools to bring performances to the community under a government project that gives pupils a taste for the stage and provides welfare organisations with a new service. The project, 'Students Performance for the Community', is a new initiative under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department's School Arts Animateur Scheme, which is aimed at fostering creativity among young people. Pupils, trained by arts groups, will perform at various institutions such as hospitals and homes for the elderly as an alternative kind of social service. It broadened pupils' perspective and boosted their ability to perform in a variety of settings, some of the participants said. Exploration Theatre, Unlock Dancing Plaza and Prospects Theatre are among participating groups. Three arts groups and six schools took part in a pilot programme during the last school year. One of the collaborations was between Hong Kong Taoist Association The Yuen Yuen Institute No3 Secondary School and arts group Shu Ning Presentation Unit, in which the pupils performed at a Po Lam centre for the elderly. Around 40 elderly people watched the young actors, wearing Pinocchio noses, perform Pinocchio in the Age of Video Games - a modern retelling of the classic fable centred on a group of pupils who skip school. Chan Tai-yau, 75, said that while she had not understood all of the story, she loved the performance: 'They acted quite well. Their facial expressions were good, very genuine.' Wong Pik-yee, 67, said the drama and Chinese opera made her happy. Hui Shu-ning, the founder of Shu Ning, said acting outside of school helped pupils learn how to adapt a drama for performances in different venues. 'They can experience the flexibility in creativity. Space shouldn't be a restriction [for performances],' he said. Hui said the programme nurtured young talent, but it was equally important for the government to look into building 'hardware' in the community to promote arts development. It was difficult for amateur drama groups to book a venue, he said. The secondary school's deputy publicity master, Lai Chun-kit, said some pupils used to find a visit to centres for the elderly boring. A performance, on the other hand, bridged the gap between the audience and the pupils. Tybalt Yiu Chak-man, 18, said he was pleased the elderly people easily understood the drama's message. 'The elderly are very honest when giving us feedback.'