The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) has offically opened the first landmark performing arts venue, the Xiqu Centre, at the West Kowloon Cultural District.
Located at the junction of Canton Road and Austin Road West in Tsim Sha Tsui, the Xiqu Centre is set to be a world-class platform for the conservation, promotion and development of Cantonese opera and other genres of xiqu (Chinese traditional theatre) in Hong Kong and beyond.
In addition to presenting quality programmes, its mission is to promote the development of new repertory, research, education, training and exchanges, as well as holding professional development programmes to help nurture young talent.
The building’s striking design, created by Bing Thom Architects (now Revery Architecture) and Ronald Lu and Partners, was inspired by Chinese lanterns and blends traditional and contemporary elements to reflect the evolving nature of the art form.
Stepping through the main entrance, shaped to resemble parted stage curtains, visitors are led directly into a lively atrium with a raised podium and space for a variety of performances and exhibitions. The eight-storey building also houses the Grand Theatre, Tea House Theatre, Seminar Hall, eight studios, and a variety of retail, food and beverage and leisure facilities.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board Chairman, Dr Peter Lam said enhancing the arts and culture profile of Asia’s world city, Hong Kong is high on the tourism board’s priority list for 2019 and beyond.
“Hong Kong offers a mix of new and old cultures, and xiqu, which is on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, plays a pivotal role in heightening Hong Kong’s destination charm,” Dr Lam said.
“The opening of the Xiqu Centre will also mark a big leap forward in establishing Hong Kong as an international arts and cultural hub, expanding the city’s appeal to a wider audience,” he said.
During the Lunar New Year starting in February, the Hong Kong Cantonese Opera Chamber of Commerce will host a Spring Festival Showcase. The three-month Opening Season will conclude in March with a master selection of excerpts from award-winning artists
At the Tea House Theatre, Cantonese Opera and Tea, curated by Cantonese opera virtuoso Law Ka-ying, will introduce the art form to audiences, offering an intimate viewing experience, with traditional tea and dim sum served during the performance. Along with xiqu performances and the screening of iconic xiqu films, visitors can join a 60-minute guided tour to explore the facilities, learn about the architectural and design features, and discover fascinating facts about the rich history of the art of xiqu.