The Xiqu Centre, Hong Kong’s first performing arts venue dedicated to promoting the rich heritage of xiqu, celebrated its Grand Opening today. To mark the occasion, Mrs Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and Mr Henry Tang, Chairman of the Board, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) unveiled the Xiqu Centre name, inscribed in calligraphy by the late Professor Jao Tsung-I.  The unveiling ceremony was followed by the stunning opening performance of The Reincarnation of Red Plum, curated by Cantonese opera veteran Dr Pak Suet-sin.

The Xiqu Centre, the new striking world-class performing arts venue in the West Kowloon Cultural District, is dedicated to the conservation, promotion and development of xiqu. The Xiqu Centre will foster discovery and appreciation of this unique traditional artform among new generations of Hong Kong people and international guests alike. This impressive venue will advance cultural exchange and unleash the artistic potential within Hong Kong’s fresh young talent.

In celebration of the occasion, Mrs Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region officiated the opening ceremony. Together with Mr Henry Tang, Chairman of the Board of the WKCDA, they unveiled the Xiqu Centre calligraphy in the Atrium, beautifully inscribed by the late Professor Jao Tsung-I. The calligraphy reflects the cultural legacy of Hong Kong and affirms the Xiqu Centre’s mission to conserve, promote and develop the art of xiqu.

Following the opening ceremony, nearly 1,000 guests were enchanted by a performance of the legendary opera, The Reincarnation of Red Plum, curated by renowned Cantonese opera veteran Dr Pak Suet-sin. The opening act of Xiqu Centre’s three-month Opening Season, 2019 marks the 60th anniversary of this classic opera, written by one of Cantonese opera’s greatest and most prolific dramatists, Tong Tik-sang. 

Mrs Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said “West Kowloon Cultural District is committed to providing world-class facilities and programmes and to becoming a leading arts and cultural hub. The Xiqu Centre is the first arts and cultural facility in the district to open its doors to the public. This new home to xiqu development shoulders an important mission to preserve and promote xiqu culture. I hope that different community groups will come together to promote xiqu development and showcase the true essence of Cantonese opera and other genres of xiqu to the world through the Xiqu Centre.”

Mr Henry Tang Ying-yen, Chairman of the Board of the WKCDA said “The grand opening of the Xiqu Centre marks a new milestone for the West Kowloon Cultural District. I hope that the Xiqu Centre will be an important hub that will bring together different xiqu genres from China, nurture artistic talent, attract new audiences, and preserve and reinvigorate the traditions of xiqu.”  

In addition to The Reincarnation of Red Plum, the three-month Opening Season features a Spring Festival Showcase hosted by the Hong Kong Cantonese Opera Chamber of Commerce from 9 February to 1 March 2019, complete with a rich colourful programme of new and traditional works to further promote xiqu during the Lunar New Year. In March, The China Theatre Association Plum Blossom Award Art Troupe will present four exciting performances, highlighting distinct features of eight different xiqu genres – Peking opera, Kunqu, Yueju, Pingju, Ouju, Yuju, Gannan tea-picking opera and Cantonese opera. 

For more details, please visit https://www.westkowloon.hk/en/xiqu-centre

Remarks

About Xiqu Centre
The Xiqu Centre at the West Kowloon Cultural District is the first landmark performing arts venue. It acts as the eastern gateway to the district. Specifically built for performances of Chinese traditional theatre, it will also provide a centre for the production, education and research of this unique art form.

About West Kowloon Cultural District
Located on Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest cultural projects in the world. Its vision is to create a vibrant new cultural quarter for Hong Kong. With a complex of theatres, performance spaces and museums, the West Kowloon Cultural District will produce and host world-class exhibitions, performances and cultural events, as well as provide 23 hectares of public open space, including a two-kilometre waterfront promenade.

Annex

Xiqu Centre design and facilities

  • The eight-storey Xiqu Centre was designed by Hong Kong born pair, Bing Thom Architects (now Revery Architecture) and Ronald Lu & Partners.
  • The building houses a Grand Theatre, a Tea House Theatre, a Seminar Hall, Atrium, studios, retail, food and beverage and leisure facilities. 
  • The striking architectural design embodies the essence of xiqu, with the concept of ‘flow’ or ‘qi’ interpreted in the fluid movements of the building and the use of curved planes, arched openings and circular paths. 
  • The Grand Theatre is located on the top floor of the Xiqu Centre. This design frees up space for the Atrium, which is a multifunctional public space. It also separates the Grand Theatre from the noise of Austin MTR station and the two main roads nearby, making the Grand Theatre a quiet space for performances.

Education and promotion 

  • The Xiqu Centre is committed to promoting and developing the art of xiqu. A series of educational and promotional events will be organised to attract audiences of all ages to appreciate xiqu.
  • The Tea House Theatre programme is designed to introduce traditional Chinese opera to new audiences. To recreate the warm, authentic ambiance of Hong Kong’s early 20th century tea houses, audiences are served traditional tea and dim sum during the performance – a delicious way to learn about the heritage of xiqu. The 90-minute performance, presented by the Xiqu Centre’s own Tea House Rising Stars Troupe, presents short excerpts demonstrating a range of vocal and musical styles, including insightful narration from a veteran moderator to help audiences understand the history of the art form.

What’s on at the Xiqu Centre for the Opening Season (From 20 January to 31 March 2019) 

Venue Highlights
Grand Theatre

The Reincarnation of Red Plum
Date: 21 to 30 January 2019 (except 24 Jan 2019)

Spring Festival Showcase
Date: 9 February to 1 March 2019

China Theatre Association Plum Blossom Award Art Troupe
Date: 14 March 2019 to 17 March 2019

Tea House Theatre

Standard Chartered Tea House Theatre Experience
Artistic Curator and Director: Law Ka-ying

Date and time: From 23 January 2019
Every Wednesday to Sunday: 7:30pm
Every Saturday and Sunday: 3:00pm

Language:
Performed and narrated in Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles

Tickets:
$368, $318 (Price includes performance, tea and dim sum)


For more details and booking information, please visit here

Atrium Exhibition: Constructing the Xiqu Centre
Date: 30 December 2018 to 31 March 2019
Time: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
Free Admission
Studios

Workshop: Lion Dance Head Paper Puppets
Date: 16 February 2019
Time: 2:30 pm to 4:30pm
Suitable for participants aged 9 or above.

Workshop: Cantonese Opera Paper Dolls
Date: 17 February 2019
Time: 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Suitable for participants aged 6 or above.


Workshop: Contemporising Xiqu Accessories

Date: 16 March 2019
Time: 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm


Workshop: Xiqu Paper Headdress

Date: 17 March 2019
Time: 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm


For details and registration, please stay tuned for further updates at our website

Xiqu Centre

Xiqu Centre Guided Tours
Date: From 22 January 2019
Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday

Language:
The tour is available in Cantonese, English and Mandarin with designated timeslots.


For details and information, please visit here