The Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA or the Authority) held its 90th meeting today.
During the meeting, WKCDA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Duncan Pescod, reported that the Fire Services Department’s statutory inspections on the M+ project are now underway and that the review is running reasonably well. The Authority remains hopeful to achieve the Occupation Permit in July 2020.
In addition, Mr Pescod reported that construction of the Lyric Theatre Complex (LTC) and Integrated Basement also has good progress. All structures within the main cofferdam will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020 while the superstructure of LTC is slowly rising out the ground with a completion date at the end of 2023.
The construction on the Hong Kong Palace Museum is also going well. Mr Pescod said the Authority remains confident to achieve the overall completion date in 2021.
For the Artist Square Bridge, off-site fabrication works for the steel structure are underway. WKCDA aims to complete this project in late 2021. In parallel, the Authority is pushing ahead with the design of the two public landing piers, which will greatly enhance the connectivity of the West Kowloon Cultural District (the District) via the harbour.
Mr Pescod was also pleased to report that the performing arts programmes are now coming back live. Programmes have resumed at Freespace and the Xiqu Centre, where enhanced hygiene measures are now being implemented. Choreographer & Composer Lab 2020 Works-in-Development Showcase, a free event featuring new collaborations by local artists, was successfully held at Freespace on 18 June 2020. The project brought together artists working in music/sound composition and dance to exchange ideas and delve into new ways of collaborating.
Live music returned to the Art Park on 13 and 14 June 2020 and will continue all summer. Last Saturday and Sunday, Angelita e Caipirinhas – a master line up featuring Angelita, Eugene Pao, Joao Mascarenhas, and Scott Dodd, the Romer String Quartet and The BrazilNuts Trio brought audience two afternoons of fine Brazilian jazz and classical strings at the entrance to Freespace. Mr Pescod encouraged members of the public to stay tuned and join live music at Freespace for an exciting line-up of live music performances.
At the Xiqu Centre, Xiqu Centre Guided Tours resumed on 21 June 2020. Tickets for June and July 2020 are now on sale. Mr Pescod also reported that the Tea House Theatre Experience in the Xiqu Centre will soon greet audiences again with a newly launched programme starting from 9 July 2020. The theme of the programme is ‘Stories of Life’, which includes excerpts from Cantonese opera performances of the classic, well-loved romance ‘Farewell’ from The Butterfly Lovers and The White Dragon Pass.
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the Authority has to adopt special seating arrangements in theatres, with strict capacity control. In addition, for the Tea House Theatre, the tea and dim sum experience will temporarily be suspended, but patrons will get a complimentary drink after the show. Temperature checks will be conducted and hand sanitisers will be available at venue entrances. Patrons are required to wear masks at all times within the venues.
The Authority has announced that a 15% discount will be offered on all Tea House Theatre Experience tickets for shows in July 2020. Tickets are available for public sale from 17 June 2020. In appreciation of the vital support provided by Hong Kong’s medical staff and frontline workers during the pandemic, WKCDA is offering a 50% discount on standard tickets and other exclusive privileges to people working in that sector. Please visit www.westkowloon.hk/teahouse for programme details and the latest ticketing information.
Mr Pescod added that M+ is delighted to present the exhibition Shirley Tse: Stakes and Holders from 1 July to 4 October 2020 at the M+ Pavilion. This exhibition comprises sculptural work and installations by the Los Angeles-based Hong Kong artist Shirley Tse. Tse’s site-responsive presentation addresses the concepts of agency, negotiation, and connection in a pluralistic world, drawing on both history and imagination. This exhibition is the latest in a series that allows Hong Kong audiences to experience the M+ curated exhibitions that have made up Hong Kong’s presence at the Venice Biennale.
Due to on-going travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, the artist Shirley Tse and guest curator Christina Li are unable to travel to Hong Kong from Los Angeles and Amsterdam, respectively, to install the exhibition. In response to this unprecedented situation, the M+ team has been working remotely via video conferencing with the artist and curator on the creation and installation of digital content related to the exhibition, which will be added to M+’s digital archives.
Mr Pescod also shared that since its launch in 2016, M+ Rover: Travelling Creative Studio has featured an annual thematic exhibition and specially designed workshops during its tours to local schools and community spaces. This free programme provides a platform for students and cultural practitioners to engage in creative dialogue as they inspire and learn from one another.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, M+ is working with local artist Wong Tin Yan to develop a series of online educational resources based on his newly commissioned work in lieu of hosting a tour. The Teacher’s Resource Pack introduces the artistic practice and the Teaching Material provides information on extended themes, suggested activities, and discussion topics in relation to artist’s work Yes but Why?. Wong also initiated a creative challenge about alternative uses for household objects that encourages the public to share their ideas on the social media platforms of M+ and WKCDA.
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.