THE Hong Kong Arts Festival, in its 23rd year, has a message for young people - arts is an entertaining and exciting territory to explore. The organiser, Hong Kong Arts Festival Society, is working with RTHK 4 to expand the scope of educational activities for student members of the Young Friends Scheme, a project jointly organised with the Education Department to encourage secondary school students to appreciate arts. One such programme is a music insert presented by members of Young Friends and broadcast as part of RTHK 4 programme, 1815 Capriccio, every Saturday until February 11 at 6.15 pm. Kau Ng, the society's new executive director, said the number of participating schools and students had increased this year, with over 5,000 members from 65 schools. As in the past, the 23-day festival (from February 11 to March 5) will have something to satisfy audiences of different tastes and ages. It will offer music, dance, theatre and puppet shows as well as films and exhibitions. For the young, family entertainment programmes from the Black Light Theatre of Prague such as the all-time favourite Alice in Wonderland , will be special treats. Just as entertaining would be Licedei-4's Moumie , a superb Russian theatre of the bizarre, and an exciting Hong Kong story, The Little Left Shoe , from Anonymous Theatre Company. Lovers of classical music would welcome Verdi's dark, romantic opera Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball). For an unusual experience, try the special horror movie concerts - Murnau's Nosferatu and Faust , with live music from the French rock group Art Zoyd. Children aged between eight and 16 years from the Beijing Opera School Juvenile Opera Troupe will also show of their talent. Among notable local productions is Chung Ying Theatre's Forever Yours , a delightful musical that brings fairy-tale characters and comic book heroes together. Treat your eyes to the mind-boggling possibilities of art technology in the exhibition 'Art and Electronics'. Also do not miss a local musical programme Exxon Divertimenti , which will feature top performers such as Sandy Lam and Tats Lau. Festival tickets are available at Urbtix outlets. For reservations call 734-9009.