From next year, Hongkongers can start hiring venues at the West Kowloon Cultural District, including the soon-to-be-completed Xiqu Centre.
Both artists and non-artists are welcome to use facilities at the hub, but art groups will be given priority and enjoy significant discounts.
The "artistically driven" pricing mechanism was unveiled yesterday at a Legislative Council panel meeting.
"Artistic hirers have priority and will pay lower prices," said Lisa Tsang, the head of venue operations at the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. "We want a good overall mix of programs to reflect the venue's artistic positioning."
A "cut" will be taken from ticket sales and Tsang said such scheme will help "share financial risk."
Bookings can be made three years in advance but hirers are not required to sign any binding contract.
Venues available for booking in the first phase include the Xiqu Centre, set to be completed next year, Freespace, and the Lyric Theatre Complex.
Art groups that wish to hire a venue, which costs around HK$60,000, can avail of a discounted rate of HK$44,000 and an 8 percent cut from ticket sales.
If an event is not ticketed, hirers will be charged a lump sum instead, which will be slightly more expensive.
All scheduling will be handled by the culture hub's venue operations team.
WKCDA chief executive Duncan Pescod acknowledged lawmaker Edward Lau Kwok-fan's fear that the mechanism could potentially result in revenue loss.
"Art venues generally don't make money and the board has accepted that fact," Pescod said. "We are not trying to make a profit out of this operation - but we will try to break even."
Alison Friedman, the new artistic director for performing arts, said the culture hub will consider long-term cooperation with production firms.
"We are leaning toward Hong Kong," she said. "But we will also rent out [facilities] to overseas groups to encourage diversity."
Local artists slammed Friedman's appointment in October, citing her lack of experience in Xiqu - or Cantonese opera.
Legislator Tanya Chan Suk-chong inquired about the issue, prompting performing arts executive director Louis Yu Kwok-lit to say that an advisory panel has been set up to provide advice on the Xiqu Centre's operation.
Pescod also said WKCDA's budget for 2018 will be released in February.