Xiqu Centre to raise curtain on arts hub

Top News | Charlotte Luo 20 Dec 2018

About 30 groups will perform next year in Xiqu Centre, which will officially open on January 20, making it the first performance venue to open in West Kowloon Cultural District.

But before the official kick-off date, the public will have the chance to experience the venue with free performances and workshops during an eight-day soft launch period from December 30.

Xiqu is a traditional Chinese performing art that integrates music, literature, martial arts and dance.

The eight-story building has a total area of 28,164 square meters, housing a 1,073-seat Grand Theatre, a 200-seat Tea House Theatre, eight professional studios and a seminar hall.

The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority's executive director of performing arts Louis Yu Kwok-lit led a tour inside the center, which is at the junction of Canton Road and Austin Road.

It will showcase traditional and contemporary performances by artists from Hong Kong, the mainland and Southeast Asia. The center, which has wheelchair spaces, boasts soundproof designs which block noises from two stations - West Kowloon Station and Austin Station - and two main roads outside the theater.

Yu said the theater is 30 meters above ground and will not be affected by the vibrations from trains.

The Tea House is a smaller theater furnished in a contemporary Chinese style with about 200 flexible seats. The number of seats can be adjusted for different performances.

Like watching Xiqu in old days, people can drink tea and have snacks while watching the performance. Tea refill is free.

The Seminar Hall, with 108 seats, is designed for film screenings, talks and cultural exchanges.

The center is also home to a Chinese restaurant, a cha chaan teng, outlets selling special Chinese desserts and cakes, as well as souvenir and retail shops.

About 5,000 tickets for free activities during the soft launch period have been distributed.

There are a few tickets left. People can line up outside the venue at 10am everyday to get tickets.

The free activities include workshops for making mini flower plaques, Xiqu paper headdress and the head used in lion dances.

Around 30 large and small troupes have already made bookings to perform.

The opening act will be The Reincarnation of Red Plum, whose ticket sales ended on Tuesday. Any unsold tickets will be sold at a later date.

The Cantonese opera, curated by veteran Pak Suet-sin, will run from January 21 to January 30.

The Reincarnation of Red Plum was first played in 1959. It is a love story between scholar Pei You and the ghost of his concubine Li Huiniang.

charlotte.luo@singtaonewscorp.com

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