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A scene from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a production by Britain’s National Theatre coming to the 2018 Hong Kong Arts Festival.

Hong Kong Arts Festival 2018 advance booking open: highlights for early birds

Multi-award-winning play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, American Ballet Theatre, star classical violinist Vadim Repin, and the Welsh National Opera among performers and shows likely to attract most interest


Multi-award-winning play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the American Ballet Theatre and classical music’s star couple – violinist Vadim Repin and ballerina Svetlana Zakharova – are among the highlights of next year’s Hong Kong Arts Festival, advance booking for which opens today.

A scene from the American Ballet Theatre production Whipped Cream.

Other noteworthy performers in the annual cultural jamboree include the Welsh National Opera, trumpeter Chris Botti, the Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Vox Clamantis and Ballet Zurich. Among Hong Kong performers, theatre veteran Fredric Mao Chun-fai will take a new approach to staging Cantonese classic Pavilion of a Hundred Flowers. Advance bookings starts October 11.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, adapted from the bestselling novel by British writer Mark Haddon, tells how autistic 15-year-old Christopher Boone investigates the death of his neighbour’s dog. Since its debut, the play has wowed global audiences with its dazzling, hi-tech set designs and spectacular storytelling about a boy genius with behavioural issues.

“We have been in talks with [Britain’s] National Theatre for over two years about this special play,” says So Kwok-wan, the festival’s associate programme director. “It’s a combination of good stage setting and heart-warming story.”

A scene from The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, based on an award-winning novel about an autistic boy who solves a crime.

Actor-playwright-director Tang Chi-kin returns with The Great Learning and Doctrine of Happiness, sequels to his acclaimed Chinese Lesson, an original commission for the 2016 Hong Kong Arts Festival about young people in contemporary Hong Kong. The two new plays explore issues faced by university students and young couples.

A scene from Tang Chi-kin’s Doctrine of Happiness.

The trilogy holds up a mirror to the realities of Hong Kong, So says, with a message that “the younger generation needs to compromise and understand the doctrine of happiness suitable for them”.

The Welsh National Opera meanwhile will perform Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Ballet Zurich perform Anna Karenina, and American Ballet Theatre presents the fantastical Whipped Cream, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky.

Christopher Purves (Golaud), Jacques Imbrailo (Pelléas) and Jurgita Adamonyté in the Welsh National Opera’s production of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande.

Another show to look out for is flamenco master Israel Galván’s FLA. CO. MEN.

The 46th Hong Kong Arts Festival will run from February 23 to March 24, 2018.

Festival executive director Tisa Ho says the festival will celebrate “the realities created and communicated through the artistry, creativity and thoughtfulness of our participating artists as they reflect upon society of the day, on humanity as a whole, and on the art which they practice”.