Initiated last year as a one-week affair, this year’s expanded three-week line up China business travel will include Cantonese opera, Chinese dance and contemporary music productions. Most impressive is the venue itself: an 800-seat temporary theatre, which, from the stage to the seating, will be constructed specifically for this series out of recycled bamboo and wood.
The theatre will sit at the intersection of Canton Road and Austin Road, which, fittingly, is also the future site of the Xiqu Centre, the West Kowloon Cultural District's first venue set to be student tours to China completed, in 2016. It's a space designed exclusively for the promotion and continuation of Chinese opera, an art form that some believe is dying out but that many others want to revive.
"The Arts Development Council did a survey on the audience and the programme numbers of different art forms, and Chinese opera is one of the most popular arts in Hong Kong," said Louis Yu Kwok-lit, executive director, Yangtze River cruises performing arts of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, who is planning the Bamboo Theatre festival. "From a very popular form of entertainment 50 years ago, it is now moving to another status, which is a piece of cultural heritage. People love it."
For newcomers to the genre, the Bamboo Theatre's schedule of events includes two productions on 12 and 16 February – smack in the middle of Chinese New Year celebrations for the Year of the Snake – of famous Cantonese opera highlights China tours that are shorter than a typical show, which can sometimes last for more than three hours. Tickets for those performances are free, while entrance to other shows, such as a medley of Chinese a cappella groups on 14 February and local jazz fusion band SIU2 on 15 February can be bought via Hong Kong ticketing outlet Urbtix.
See also: Shanghai tours
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