The Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA or the Authority) held its 99th meeting today. At the meeting, Ms Eva Kwong, Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief Corporate Services Officer of WKCDA, reported on recent progress in different areas of the West Kowloon Cultural District (the District).
Ms Kwong began by reporting that M+ will open its doors at the end of this year. The preparation work is now in full swing, and defects rectification works at the museum are also in progress.
M+ successfully opened two of its commercial outlets to the public. With access directly from the waterfront promenade of the Art Park, The Other Shop and CURATOR Creative Café opened for business from 30 July onwards. The Other Shop introduces thoughtfully designed merchandise products and contains a children’s area, a pet station and a flower corner which all aim at enriching and enlightening the everyday lives of visitors. CURATOR Creative Café offers Hong Kong- inspired snacks and light refreshments as well as a signature of M+ blend coffee and tea. Both shops are also committed to promoting greener shopping through recycling, reusing and upcycling.
Regarding the Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM), Ms Kwong reported that the construction works are progressing smoothly, and the statutory inspection will be completed shortly. It is expected that HKPM will obtain its Occupation Permit in the third quarter of this year and its Practical Completion Certificate by the end of the year.
The Museum made its debut at the Hong Kong Book Fair 2021 which was held from 14 to 20 July. During this period, three public talks were organised that included fascinating stories about the history and culture of the Palace Museum. A thematic Creative Learning Zone was also set up in the venue where visitors could take the innovative virtual journey into ‘Art Beyond Walls’. These activities attracted about 1,300 participants. On 17 July, a public conversation was held between Dr Louis Ng, Museum Director of HKPM, and Professor Cheng Pei-kai as part of the Book Fair’s Renowned Writers Seminar Series, in which the pair explored the role and positioning of HKPM in the development of Hong Kong’s arts and culture scene. The talk was enjoyed by an audience of about 300 people.
On construction projects, Ms Kwong stated that the Authority is reviewing the contents of the consultancy contracts for the detailed design of the Integrated Basement in Zones 2B and 2C and the Underground Road, which have yet to be awarded. The superstructure of the Lyric Theatre Complex has reached ground level. The main structure of the Artist Square Bridge has also been connected to the shopping mall above the MTR’s Kowloon Station. The project is expected to be completed by the end of this year, in anticipation of the opening of M+.
As for performing arts, Ms Kwong noted that the Tea House Theatre Experience at the Xiqu Centre has started a new season of Cantonese opera and Cantonese music since July. Tickets for August are currently on sale on the West Kowloon Cultural District website. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the passing of Mr Kwan Tak-hing, a seminal figure in Cantonese opera and movies, a special free admission exhibition is being held from May to November this year in the Atrium of the Xiqu Centre.
Freespace will present the multimedia experience ‘A Thousand Plateaus’ from 15 to 22 August. This event will feature real-life stories presented in various sensory modes, with audience- participants able to move freely around the site and shift back and forth between virtual and real- world perception. The experience will incorporate VR imagery, audio and musical soundscapes, on-site instructions, and physical interaction and sharing.
‘Hello, Baoyu’, a production jointly adapted from the ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ by Edward Lam and Freespace, will have its world premiere at Freespace from 3 to 12 September. The production will feature digital and live performances from Hong Kong choreographer Yuri Ng in Hong Kong and Taiwanese actor Wang Hung-yuan. Audiences will move between virtual and real space and between light and shadow, meeting with and separating from ‘Baoyu’, and travelling together in their respective Grand View Gardens.
In addition to its endeavours to promoting arts and culture, Ms Kwong said the Authority also gave its full support to the Hong Kong athletes participating in the Olympic Games. The Authority is delighted to have taken part in the ‘GO Hong Kong Team’ campaign from 23 to 25 July and have become one of the venue sponsors, contributing to promoting sports and arts development in Hong Kong. Visitors coming to the popular Art Park were able to experience the excitement of the spectacular sports events and the District’s relaxing arts and cultural scene. The District has strived to connect different sectors of the community and will continue to offer various leisure facilities and relaxing public spaces for the public to enjoy.
Finally, Ms Kwong announced that WKCDA’s Innovation and Technology Department won the inaugural ‘Outstanding Cyber Security Management Service Award’, presented by Capital Magazine, which recognises enterprises that have achieved outstanding performances in managing high-quality and secure networks. This award is a great recognition to the Authority’s commitment in offering visitors and staff in the workplace a high-quality experience of a stable and secure network in its planning stage and its business development in innovation and technology. The Authority will continue to explore new ways of technology applications to build a better infrastructure for the District in this aspect.
About the West Kowloon Cultural District
The West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest and most ambitious cultural projects in the world. 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.