“What Is Stage: Dynamics of Seeing”– Public Seminar Two: Jan Versweyveld’s Aesthetics of Scenography

What are your first memories of materials and objects that carry emotions or feelings for you? Perhaps it’s a childhood drawing, an ordinary wooden chair, a ceramic bowl, a cigarette holder … materials or objects that evoke a certain sentiment whenever you see them. The use of materials and objects in the scenography of a performance is never superflous. They are more than just props or symbolic of somethings. Their presence and placement is designed to evoke specific senses that allow the performers to inhabit the world onstage, one that is present, real. This in turn allows audiences to quickly enter the scene and become one with the presence before them.

“What Is Stage: Dynamics of Seeing” is a three-year programme that investigates the world of scenography. In year 1, we enter the world of Jan Versveyweld, whose practice moves beyond the theatrical frame, requiring audiences to constantly negotiate what and how they are seeing and feeling. For him, “the visible is the invisible and vice versa.” His design does not create settings, it transforms the audience’s sense of time and space. 

This September, Jan Versweyveld  will be joined by  Low Kee Hong, Head of Theatre, Performing Arts at West Kowloon, and theatre director Edward Lam in a public seminar, offering Hong Kong audiences a rare chance to gain a deeper understanding of the influences behind his work and his unique aesthetics of space and scenography.

Local and international audiences will also be able to watch the seminar live-streamed from the West Kowloon Cultural District’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

Free Live-streaming date and time:
7 September, 7:30pm – 10:30pm
Language: English (simultaneous interpretation is not available for the live-streaming)
Free live-streaming channels:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/westkowloon
YouTube: www.youtube.com/wkcda

7 September 2017 (Thursday)

7:30pm – 10:30pm

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Amphitheatre, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (1 Gloucester Rd, Wan Chai)

Jan Versweyveld

Low Kee Hong (Head of Theatre, Performing Arts, West Kowloon)


Edward Lam

Conducted in English with simultaneous Cantonese and Mandarin interpretation

Target Participants:
Theatre professionals, architects, urban planners, designers and those with an interest in theatre production

Free admission. Limited capacity on a first-come, first-served basis, please register in advance.


Ms Lam: (852) 2200 0804, pa1@wkcda.hk

The organiser reserves the right to change the programme content and speaker. All changes will be announced on the website.

Oversea participants must shoulder their own travel and accommodation expenses.

Adverse Weather Arrangement:

The seminar will be cancelled if a black rainstorm warning or a typhoon signal no.8 or above is still in force 3 hours before the event starts.

About the Speaker

Jan Versweyveld

Scenographer and lighting designer Jan Versweyveld trained at the Sint-Lucas Institute in Brussels and at the Royal Academy in Antwerp. In 1990, he became the regular scenographer of the Zuidelijk Toneel theatre group, and in 2001 he joined Toneelgroep Amsterdam as head of scenography and regular designer and photographer. He has worked on numerous productions including dance and opera.

Awards include the Bessie Award in New York for his scenography for Drumming Live, the Obie Award for Hedda Gabler, and the Prosceniumprijs and the Amsterdam Prize for Art for collaborations with Ivo van Hove. His scenography for Scenes from a Marriage at the New Theatre Workshop was recognised with the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Scenic Design. He won the Knight of Illumination 2016 Award for his lighting design of Song from Far Away

Jan has been a guest lecturer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and is one of the co-founders of the scenography training programme in Antwerp.

About the Moderator

Low Kee Hong (Hong Kong)
Head of Theatre, Performing Arts, WKCDA

Low Kee Hong is the Head of Theatre of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. He is responsible for formulating the district’s artistic direction and strategies for Drama and Theatre Arts.

In this role, Kee Hong has overseen the launch and co-presentation of several projects, including the outdoor arts event series “Freespace Happening” and the world-wide exchange programme “International Workshop Festival of Theatre” – projects that have stimulated new discussion and discourse around contemporary modes of creation.

Before joining West Kowloon, Kee Hong was the Artistic Director and General Manager of the Singapore Arts Festival from 2009 to 2012. During that time, one of his key initiatives was the launch of “com.mune”, a year-long education and outreach programme designed to sustain the festival’s engagement with the public beyond individual shows. Kee Hong was also General Manager of the Singapore Biennale.

About the Co-moderator

Edward Lam

Artistic Director and Theatre Director of Edward Lam Dance Theatre. He founded Zuni Icosahedron with friends in the early 1980s, and established Edward Lam Dance Theatre during his residence in London (1989 to 1995). Since returning to Hong Kong in 1995, he has devoted himself to theatre and directed 57 original works. His most recent work, Finding Loveless Land, premiered in Hong Kong in 2017. Lam was awarded the Best Director in Modern Drama Valley’s One Drama Award in 2010 for his work Men and Women, War and Peace, and in 2012 for The Doppelgänger.

Recent books include Leading Ladies of the Mandarin Cinema (2014), and his first book on directing, Who is Afraid of Edward Lam, published by Performing Arts Review in Taiwan in 2016.