The Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA or the Authority) held its 109th meeting today. At the meeting, Mrs Betty Fung, Chief Executive Officer of WKCDA, reported on the latest progress in various areas of the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD).
The Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM) officially opened to the public on 3 July 2022 and has received more than 220,000 visits since its opening. Together with the free admission on Wednesdays, nearly 275,000 tickets for July and August admission were sold out.
HKPM tickets for September admission were open for reservation and booking from 9 August. The last rotation of the exhibition “The Making of Masterpieces: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy from the Palace Museum” will begin on 7 September to feature 10 invaluable painting and calligraphy works. After displaying for one month, these works will be returned to the Palace Museum and put in storage for a rest period for at least three years. Mrs Fung said it is a rare opportunity for the visitors to view these grade-one painting and calligraphy treasures, and she urged the public who are interested in visiting HKPM to secure their tickets before they sell out.
To encourage the public to stay more closely connected with the museum, HKPM rolled out the “HKPM Friends” scheme on 28 July. Mrs Fung reported that the scheme was enthusiastically received, with more than 9,000 members joining within the first few weeks after its launch. On behalf of the WKCDA and HKPM team, Mrs Fung thanked the public for their love and support for HKPM. HKPM will continue to bring visitors an innovative, inspirational and educational museum experience.
Mrs Fung reported that the other museum at WKCD, M+, had also achieved two important milestones over the past two months. On 8 July, M+ received its 1 millionth visitor. M+ welcomed more than 1.4 million visitors during the first six months since its opening on 12 November 2021 (excluding the temporary closure from early January to 20 April due to COVID-19 restrictions). The Authority and the M+ team are much encouraged by the public’s strong support for the museum under pandemic circumstances.
Another significant milestone was achieved on 1 November, when HSBC became the first lead partner of M+. The partnership encompasses sponsorship of select M+’s special exhibitions, along with sponsorships of tours for non-governmental organisations, as well as learning activities under the M+ Family Day banner. M+ looks forward to working with more corporations such that the contemporary visual culture can become more accessible to the public through sponsorships.
The education team of M+ organised “Community Festival: Joining Hands” for the first time in June. Attracting more than 4,000 participants, the performances, seminars and other activities under this banner fostered interpersonal exchanges. M+ also organises “Family Day”, a regular family-oriented event, from June 2022 to July 2023. “Family Day” is held on Sundays during the second half of each month. The four events held so far, including 14 workshops and 36 drop-in events, have attracted more than 2,800 participants.
For commissioned projects, the new work In Search of Vanished Blood (2012/22) by moving image pioneer Nalini Malani commissioned by M+ is on display on M+ Facade until 30 October 2022.
For performing arts programmes, the Performing Arts Season 2022-23 of WKCD has already commenced. Themed “Wonders Await”, the new season integrates technology and various innovative elements to present a series of live performances and online shows.
The season's highlight is “Creative Tomorrow”, a first-of-its-kind arts tech festival exclusively sponsored by The Hong Kong Jockey Club. “Magic Tea House”, which will be staged regularly throughout the whole performing arts season at the Xiqu Centre’s Tea House Theatre under the banner, debuted on 13 August 2022. The show is the first performance in Hong Kong featuring robotics and AI technology, with a humanoid robot emulating the facial expressions, voice and body gestures of renowned Cantonese Opera artist Law Ka-ying. The family-friendly production will take its audience into the world of Chinese opera and to embark on a magical journey to learn more about the culture of Cantonese opera.
From 8 September to 9 October, the dance series “Phygital D” will be hosted at Freespace. The dance programme blends physical and digital senses, converging many multimedia installations, motion captures, virtual reality experiences, videos and other technologies. The creative and imaginary spaces of local and Asian artists will transport the audience through the physical and digital dance worlds to create a compelling viewing experience.
At the Grand Theatre of Xiqu Centre, The Impossible Trial – commissioned by Freespace and co-presented and co-produced by Hong Kong Repertory Theatre and Freespace - will be staged from 9 to 25 September. The three-hour original Cantonese musical production will tell the amazing story of Guangdong’s most prominent advocate Fong Tong Geng. It has brought together Hong Kong’s top creative minds and performers, with music by Leon Ko, lyrics by Chris Shum, script by Cheung Fei Fan, and direction by Fong Chun Kit.
WKCD will host an array of exciting programmes over the next few months, including the five-day “Freespace Jazz Fest 2022” from 26 October. “Borealis”, on the other hand, will be bringing the vibrant recreation of the Northern Lights to Hong Kong in February 2023.
For work projects at WKCD, the lay-by on Austin Road West under the L1 contract was completed in June and handed over to the relevant government authorities. At the Lyric Theatre Complex (LTC), the decking works of the second floor are proceeding, while the construction of the third floor will soon commence. The installation of the steel structure, which will support the seating on the balcony level of LTC, commenced in August.
About the West Kowloon Cultural District
The West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest and most ambitious cultural projects globally. Its vision is to create a vibrant new cultural quarter for Hong Kong on forty hectares of reclaimed land located alongside Victoria Harbour. With a varied mix of theatres, performance spaces, and museums, the West Kowloon Cultural District will produce and host world-class exhibitions, performances and cultural events, providing twenty-three hectares of public open space, including a two-kilometre waterfront promenade.