Excellence, Innovation, Expansion: A contemporary gateway to Chinese Opera
The Xiqu Centre at West Kowloon invites you to a new world of Chinese traditional theatre.
One of the oldest performance genres in Asia, Chinese traditional theatre – xiqu – has more than 300 regional forms still performed today. Our goal is to present the best traditional and contemporary xiqu from Hong Kong, China and around the world, to provide a world-class platform for innovation and virtuosity, and to reach long-time and new audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
Our commitment to quality and professionalism ensures we deliver the highest standards of production and performance.
In Hong Kong, Cantonese opera has permeated mainstream popular as well as formal culture, influencing even local slang. Despite this deep and broad cultural significance, our city has never had a dedicated centre for the preservation, performance, research and development of our homegrown art form – until now. The Xiqu Centre presents the highest-calibre productions of Cantonese opera classics.
In the larger Chinese-speaking region, xiqu has developed in diverse ways, responding to local societal shifts and cultural trends. Individual masters as well as local contexts have sent the art form developing along divergent trajectories. The Xiqu Centre provides a nexus for professional xiqu artists and troupes from across Asia to engage, collaborate, and better understand our own intra-Asian diversity. The Xiqu Centre is the centre to see the best of the art form from across Asia.
We cross artistic genres as well as geographic borders, bringing this classic art form into the 21st century with inspiring contemporary new works.
The Xiqu Centre facilitates opportunities for crossover with contemporary art forms – from dance and theatre to puppetry, film and literature – ensuring this tradition innovates for a modern world and changing demographics. We collaborate with next-generation xiqu artists to develop new works and explore new ideas.
Our digital script archive is developing one of the world’s most comprehensive online collections of Cantonese opera scripts, an invaluable resource to preserve a legacy and ensure continuous creative development. The archive, with English synopses of each play, will offer the English-speaking world access to rare original documents for academic research and artistic creation.
The Xiqu Centre expands the reach of both artists and audiences. We secure the position of Chinese traditional theatre in the global arts and culture conversation and help audiences of all ages and backgrounds fall in love with xiqu.
The Xiqu Centre gives us a forum to extend the conversation to wider issues around performing arts traditions, and to explore how contemporary, urban cultures deal with traditional heritage, how we engage as an international community beyond tourism and consumerism, and how we preserve traditional culture while innovating for a “globalised” future. It also gives us a forum to bring together, learn from and cooperate with international arts organisations and experts grappling with similar issues of heritage preservation and cultural development: leaders in Argentina’s tango, Korea’s pansoori, Japan’s kabuki, Spain’s flamenco, Mali’s griot and balafon traditions, plus indigenous forms of puppet theatre, song, music and movement the world over.
Internationally, xiqu is still one of the least understood genres, despite its influences on such contemporary arts as film, animation and theatre. The Xiqu Centre opens a new gateway for international and next-generation audiences to appreciate an art form that many have considered impenetrable. Our rich programmes of traditional and contemporary productions, narrated performances and demonstrations, talks, tours, seminars, workshops and exhibitions, open the art form for new audiences, and demonstrate that Chinese opera can be accessible for everyone.
The Xiqu Centre, home to one of the longest living legacies of performance, gives us a stage to innovate and celebrate the essential quality that unites us all as humans: our creative spirit.