For more than 20 years, the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) has established a variety of grant schemes to support the vibrant growth of artistic milieu in Hong Kong. The grants offer support to the development of artistic excellence for local small-to-medium-sized arts groups and artists, with aims to raise the level of artistic standards and contribute to arts development in Hong Kong.
To meet the development needs of various arts forms, HKADC has successfully matched fund from the “Art Development Matching Grants Scheme” of the Home Affairs Bureau with the sponsorships raised from non-government and social organisations as well as the commercial sector. The funds raised are reserved in the Hong Kong Arts Development Fund (the “Fund”) which now injects funding to support the new and independent “Eminent Arts Group Scheme” launched in November last year. Through this Scheme, HKADC hopes to further cultivate the development of local professional arts organisations and artists, and to encourage them to actively seek support from other resources to enhance their independence and competitiveness.
The “Eminent Arts Group Scheme” gained enthusiastic support from the arts sector with 23 eligible applications received. Based on the assessment by an independent joint adjudication panel, the three selected arts groups are Edward Lam Dance Theatre Limited, Opera Hong Kong Limited, and Tang Shu-Wing Theatre Studio Limited. HKADC is pleased to support the five-year development of these three distinguished arts groups through the “Eminent Arts Group Scheme”, with grant period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2024, so as to allow them to focus on their sustainable development. The “Eminent Arts Group Scheme” is an one-off independent scheme. In the coming years, HKADC will review the effectiveness of the Scheme and, in light of the reserve held by the Fund, to decide whether to continue the Scheme after five years.
The amount of grant under the “Eminent Arts Group Scheme” is HK$2,200,000 per annum, and will support the general administrative expenses and expenses in relation to specific activities of the year (if applicable). To drive the arts organisations under the Scheme to explore different resources, the level of grant will be decreased by 2% each year after the first year.
The selected arts groups have proven track records in areas including artistic merit, operational competence, tapping of resources, and audience development. They have shown to be capable of promoting arts development in Hong Kong and demonstrated strong potential for further professional development. The following are introductions of the funded arts groups:
Edward Lam Dance Theatre Limited
Founded in 1991 with the concept of “Dance Theatre”, Edward Lam Dance Theatre Limited (ELDT) invites different Hong Kong choreographers to collaborate with its Artistic Director Edward Lam. Integrated with a variety of artistic elements, these works reinvigorate the thinking and theatre space of Chinese-speaking theatre. During the past 12 years, the group presented reinterpretation of classic works with innovative style of great appeal to the new generation and office workers. These works sparked new trends, successfully expanded its audience, and enhanced the recognition of dramas with Hong Kong context among the Chinese-speaking audience in different regions. Having debuted in Hong Kong, the productions toured at Singapore, Taiwan, Macau and more than 20 cities in Mainland. Also focused on promotion of arts education, the group organises seminars, workshops and courses on creative thinking through collaborations with different organisations and tertiary institutions. It is committed to foster theatre professionals and promotion of public education, and garnered acclaim with the “What is Stage – Workshop and Public Lecture” series that introduced the international development of scenography. ELDT also focuses on archival and promotion of its works, and presented “ELDT On Screen” at cinemas in Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan. As for publication, the group implemented the initiative of one book and one soundtrack for each production. As ELDT approaches its 30th year, there will be two primary creative directions in the coming five years. The first is its ongoing focus on reinterpreting classics from films, Chinese operas, and both Chinese and Western literature. The second direction is to work with actors as an ensemble to collectively devise and re-interpret the tetralogy in an “Art School” setting (based on the previous work “Art School Musical”), and present via art education in open theatre to further explore future trends and human situations.
Opera Hong Kong Limited (Opera Hong Kong)
Founded in 2003, Opera Hong Kong is dedicated to promoting the art of opera in Hong Kong. The group serves to promote the development and appreciation of opera through a comprehensive range of activities including production of high-quality and professional operas, training programmes for young singers, organisation of children opera education and outreach activities. In the coming five years, Opera Hong Kong plans to invite more internationally renowned opera artists, conductors, and production teams to Hong Kong to further enhance the quality of Hong Kong opera productions. With the thriving development of the Greater Bay Area under national policy, Opera Hong Kong will strive for more performance opportunities in Mainland to promote cultural exchange. Besides, Opera Hong Kong will also continue its young artist development programme to nurture more local young opera talents, and to expand the opera audience.
Tang Shu-Wing Theatre Studio Limited
Established in 2008, Tang Shu-Wing Theatre Studio Limited was formerly known as No Man’s Land which was founded in 1996. Having physical theatre and minimalist aesthetics as its artistic direction, the theatre group interprets classic dramatic texts from modern perspectives, organises Physical Theatre Training Programme to nurture new talents, and establishes training with local characteristics. Widely recognised by its peers, works by the group earned critical acclaim both in Hong Kong and overseas. In addition to winning Hong Kong Drama Awards and Hong Kong Dance Awards, the group also performed at significant overseas platforms as well as international arts festivals, receiving both attention and recognition in international contemporary theatre. In the coming five years, the group will focus on organising Asia’s first-ever “Hong Kong International Shakespeare Festival”. Consisting of performances, workshops, seminars, and archiving of documents, the event will provide Hong Kong arts practitioners with a sustainable arts platform for international exchange and collaboration.
With this sizable grant, HKADC wishes to provide for the selected outstanding arts groups a more stable and long-term development which will be conducive towards elevation of local artist standards and promotion of local arts development.