The Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA or the Authority) held its 85th meeting today. In the meeting, WKCDA’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Duncan Pescod reported the latest development of the West Kowloon Cultural District (West Kowloon or The District).

Following previous report regarding the temporary suspension of excavation works on the Lyric Theatre Complex project, works have largely resumed. A report of the incident has now been completed and will be submitted to the Legislative Council Joint Subcommittee to Monitor the Implementation of the West Kowloon Cultural District Project in due course.

For the M+ project, the air-conditioning has now been switched on in the Conservation and Storage Facility to control humidity. This will be one of the first areas that will be receiving artwork from the M+ collection next year, ahead of it going on display in the galleries. Intense activities are now ongoing in the M+ building on the Testing and Commissioning of Mechanical and Electrical plant, in addition to the installation of finishes. The construction progress on the Hong Kong Palace Museum continues to be smooth.

Mr Pescod reported that, opened on 7 June 2019, the Five Artists: Sites Encountered exhibition at the M+ Pavilion ended on 20 October 2019 after a very successful run. The exhibition was well-received by the public and the media and attracted over 9,500 audience. The next exhibition at the M+ Pavilion will be Sigg Prize 2019 which will run from 7 December 2019 to 13 April 2020. This exhibition will present the works from the shortlisted six artists (Hu Xiaoyuan, Liang Shuo, Lin Yilin, Shen Xin, Tao Hui, and Samson Young) for the inaugural Sigg Prize.

Public events continue to impact on the Xiqu Centre and Freespace Programmes. Our general approach can best be summed up by the old phrase ‘The show must go on’. The Authority has been working hard over the past few months to allow all programmes to take place as scheduled. Where this has not been possible due to circumstances beyond our control, particularly when there may be major disruption to traffic and transport affecting the performers, audiences and our staff members, the Authority has announced changes to scheduled performances in advance through our website, the local media and, where possible, direct to ticket holders through email or phone. From 1 to 24 October 2019, 19 shows and performances have been postponed or cancelled. Details of refund arrangements or information on rescheduled shows have been available on the West Kowloon Cultural District website. We are keeping a very close eye on developments and will continue to make our venues available as far as possible.

Mr Pescod reported that on 9 and 10 November, West Kowloon will present the first Freespace Jazz Fest with a stellar line-up of local and international artists. Join us at Freespace and the Art Park for a swinging weekend of jazz and world music. Featured world-class artists include multiple-Grammys-winning Robert Glasper Trio, GoGo Penguin, Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra featuring Hubert Laws, as well as local jazz heroes such as Eugene Pao x Ted Lo x Angelita Li, Patrick Lui Jazz Orchestra featuring Elisa Chan and more. Most of the festival programmes will be free but there will be tickets on sale for the headline acts. The weekend also offers a market on the Great Lawn, music film screenings, and meet-the-artist sessions. People can also enjoy jazz-infused dance performances The Great Gatsby by Hong Kong Ballet along the Waterfront Promenade.

As part of our ongoing effort to bringing the District to life, the Authority has been looking at different ways to activate the Art Park. One of the latest initiatives is an Art Park Information Booth. This gives the Authority an opportunity to actively promote different offerings in the Art Park, from having a picnic on the beautiful lawn areas, chilling out at one of the harbourside cafes and restaurants, immersing yourself in the shows and exhibitions at M+ Pavilion and Freespace, joining Park Tour, or riding a SmartBike. This initiative is supported by one of our programme partners, the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (the Federation). Every year, WKCDA works with the Federation to train up a group of enthusiastic young people, who help promote West Kowloon on-site and off-site. In the coming months, WKCDA will be rolling out more community programmes with an aim to engage different sectors of the community.

Also in the Art Park, WKCDA is pleased to announce that the West Kowloon Competition Pavilion ‘Growing Up’ by New Office Works recently received two Architecture MasterPrize awards in the categories of ‘Architectural Design: Small Architecture’ and ‘Landscape Architecture: Installations & Structure’ for the project’s design excellence and innovation. Located at the West Kowloon waterfront promenade, ‘Growing Up’ is the winning design in our inaugural Hong Kong Young Architects and Designers Competition.

Mr Pescod ended his report by sharing more good news. In September, the Authority was awarded the Bronze Award in the ‘Safety Management System Award – Other Industries’ category, and the ‘Safety Performance Award’ in the 18th Hong Kong Occupational Safety and Health Award Forum and Award Presentation Ceremony. These awards recognise the ongoing commitment of the Authority to develop a sound safety management system in the workplace, as well as our outstanding safety performance. The Occupational Safety and Health Award Programme was jointly organised by the Occupational Safety and Health Council, the Labour Department, Development Bureau, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department and other relevant organisations. Mr Pescod congratulated everyone involved for a job well done.

Bamboo Theatre, the first film presented by the Xiqu Centre with Naomi Chung as the Executive Producer, has been nominated for the Best Documentary at the 56th Golden Horse Award. The film director Cheuk Cheung spent two years visiting bamboo theatres in Hong Kong where traditional Chinese theatre performances were staged. This documentary is a portrait of a unique form of architecture preserved in Hong Kong, showcasing the craftsmanship, skills and techniques of the construction workers as well as the customs of village life in Hong Kong and the life of the theatre troupes. Bamboo Theatre will be screened at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival in early November.

Remarks

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.