Hong Kong’s new performing arts venue dedicated to Xiqu (Chinese Opera), has just opened.
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Located on the Eastern edge of the West Kowloon Cultural District, at the junction of Canton Road and Austin Road, the Xiqu Centre is directly accessible from the Hong Kong West Kowloon Station and Austin MTR station, and easy to reach by public transport from all parts of Hong Kong.
The building’s striking design, created by Revery Architecture (formerly Bing Thom Architects) and Ronald Lu & Partners, was inspired by traditional 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 presenting the rich and ancient culture of Chinese traditional theatre.
The eight-storey building has a total area of 28,164 sq m and houses a Grand Theatre, accommodating 1,073 seats, a Tea House Theatre, with a capacity of up to 200 seats, eight professional studios and a seminar hall, all specially designed for different types of xiqu-related functions and activities.
The design details of each of the facilities have also been created in response to the practical requirements and aesthetic features of the art form. A unique feature of the venue is the location of the Grand Theatre at the top of the building, which allows for a large open atrium below with space for exhibitions, stalls, and xiqu demonstrations and workshops.
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Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngo, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, gave a speech at the opening ceremony of Xiqu Centre. “The launch of Xiqu Centre is not only a significant international cultural event, but Hong Kong also takes it as a great honor and we all are very proud of it.”
In fact, Chinese opera has been inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists for a decade, Carrie Lam hopes the Xiqu Centres would help promote Hong Kong as an international arts hub and consolidate the city’s position in the development of Cantonese opera.
(Source: West Kowloon Cultural District Authority)