Hong Kong Arts Festival

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HKAF logo
Hong Kong Arts Festival
Traditional Chinese香港藝術節
Hong Kong Arts Festival in 2013

The Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF), launched in 1973, is a major international arts festival committed to enriching the cultural life of the city by presenting leading local and international artists in all genres of the performing arts as well as a diverse range of “PLUS” and educational events in February and March each year.

Genres seen and heard at the Hong Kong Arts Festival include classical music, Chinese music, world music, Western opera, Chinese opera, drama and dance. HKAF presented top international artists and ensembles, such as Cecilia Bartoli, José Carreras, Yo-Yo Ma, Philip Glass, Kurt Masur, Riccardo Chailly, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Sylvie Guillem, Kevin Spacey, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre, Bavarian State Opera, New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Cloud Gate Dance Theater, Zingaro, Royal Shakespeare Company, Moscow Art Theatre, and Beijing People's Art Theatre.

HKAF actively collaborates with Hong Kong’s own creative talent and showcases emerging local artists. Over the years, HKAF has commissioned and produced over 200 local productions across genres including Cantonese opera, theatre, chamber opera, music and contemporary dance, many with successful subsequent runs in Hong Kong and overseas.

HKAF frequently partners with renowned international artists and institutions to produce exceptional works, such as Der Fensterputzer (The Window Washer) co-produced by HKAF, Goethe-Institut Hong Kong and Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Richard III and The Tempest produced by The Old Vic, BAM and Neal Street under “The Bridge Project” with HKAF as a co-commissioning institution, Green Snake co-commissioned with Shanghai International Arts Festival, and Dream of the Red Chamber co-produced with San Francisco Opera.

HKAF invests heavily in arts education for young people. The “HKAF Young Friends” has reached over 782,000 local secondary and tertiary school students since 1992.[1] Close to 10,000 half-price student tickets are issued each year.

HKAF organises a diverse range of “Festival PLUS” activities in community locations each year to enhance engagement between artists and audiences. These include films, lecture demonstrations, masterclasses, workshops, symposia, backstage visits, exhibitions, meet-the-artist sessions, and guided cultural tours.[2]

HKAF is a non-profit organisation. Its principal income sources are recurrent funding from the government, box office revenues, and sponsorship and donations made by corporations, individuals and charitable foundations which form a significant portion of total income and also enable HKAF to receive support from the Government’s matching scheme that matches income generated through private sector sponsorship and donations.[3][4]

List of Committee Members (The 49th Hong Kong Arts Festival, 2021)[edit]

Position Name
Patron The Chief Executive The Hon Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, GBM, GBS
Honorary Life President Sir Run Run Shaw, CBE (1907-2014)
Executive Committee - Chairman Mr. Victor Cha
Executive Committee - Vice Chairman Prof. Kingman Lo, MBE, JP, SBS
Executive Committee - Honorary Treasurer Mr. William Li
Executive Committee Mr. Edward Cheng, GBS, JP
Executive Committee Ms. Margaret Cheng
Executive Committee Mrs. Yu-san Leong
Executive Committee Prof. Gabriel Leung, GBS, JP
Executive Committee Ms. Miriam Yao
Executive Committee Mr. Sunny Yeung
Executive Committee Mr. Sebastian Shiu-Wai Man
Executive Committee Dr. Dennis Sun, BBS, JP

Past and Current Chairmen and Directors[edit]

Year Festival Chairman Executive Director
1973 1st HKAF Sir Run Run Shaw CBE


1974 2nd HKAF
1975 3rd HKAF
1976 4th HKAF
1977 5th HKAF
1978 6th HKAF
1979 7th HKAF
1980 8th HKAF Mr. Keith Statham


1981 9th HKAF
1982 10th HKAF
1983 11th HKAF
1984 12th HKAF
1985 13th HKAF
1986 14th HKAF
1987 15th HKAF
1988 16th HKAF Mr. Tseng Sun Man


1989 17th HKAF
1990 18th HKAF The Hon Martin Barrow OBE JP


1991 19th HKAF
1992 20th HKAF
1993 21st HKAF
1994 22nd HKAF
1995 23rd HKAF Mr. Kau Ng


1996 24th HKAF
1997 25th HKAF
1998 26th HKAF
1999 27th HKAF
2000 28th HKAF
2001 29th HKAF
2002 30th HKAF Mrs Mona Leung SBS BBS MBE JP


2003 31st HKAF Mr. Douglas Gautier


2004 32nd HKAF Mr Charles Y K Lee GBM GBS JP


2005 33rd HKAF
2006 34th HKAF
2007 35th HKAF Ms. Tisa Ho


2008 36th HKAF
2009 37th HKAF
2010 38th HKAF
2011 39th HKAF
2012 40th HKAF
2013 41st HKAF
2014 42nd HKAF The Hon Ronald Arculli GBM CVO GBS OBE JP


2015 43rd HKAF
2016 44th HKAF Mr. Victor Cha


2017 45th HKAF
2018 46th HKAF
2019 47th HKAF
2020 48th HKAF
2021 49th HKAF

Past Festival Programmes (incomplete)[edit]

Year Programme Highlights

Festival Opening

Programme Highlights

Festival Finale

1996 Julio Bocca & Ballet Argentino
1997 Tan Dun Marco Polo Montreal Symphony Orchestra
1998 Richard Strauss Salome

Los Angeles Opera

Compania Nacional de Danza
1999 Cantonese Opera – An All-Star Night Hamburg Ballet

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

2000 China National Symphony Orchestra Birmingham Royal Ballet

Edward II

2001 Rossini’s La Cenerentola National Ballet of China

Raise the Red Lantern

2002 Bolshoi Theatre

Boris Godunov

National Ballet of China

Raise the Red Lantern

2003 Stuttgart Opera

The Abduction from the Seraglio

Hamburg Ballet


2004 Komische Oper Berlin

The Merry Widow

London Symphony Orchestra

under Gennadi Rozhdestvensky

2005 Polish National Opera - Otello

Conductor: Jacek Kaspszyk

Director: Mariusz Trelinski

Tenor: Richard Decker

Tenor: Krzysztof Bednarek

Ballet Nacional de Espana

Director: Jose Antonio

2006 Michael Tilson Thomas and San Francisco Symphony

Soloist: Lynn Harrell

Semper Opera Dresden and Opera Nuremberg

Mozart’s Don Giovanni

Conductor: Howard Arman

Director: Willy Decker

2007 Yuri Simonov and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra

Soloist: Konstantin Lifschitz

Soloist: Boris Belkin

Soloist: Shen Wenyu

Tango Buenos Aires
2008 Stuttgart Ballet - Swan Lake

Choreographer: John Cranko

Vladimie Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Soloist: Nikolaj Znaider

Soloist: Jean-Yves Thibaudet

2009 Bernard Haitink and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Lisa Ono A celebration of 50 years of Bossa Nova
2010 Cantonese Opera Treasures Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra
2011 Cecilia Bartoli Lost Tango Ute Lemper and the Piazzolla Sextet
2012 The Hamburg Ballet John Neumeier

Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra - Daniel Harding
2013 American Ballet Theatre - Dance Gala

AD: Kevin McKenzie

Teatro Di San Carlo - Viva Verdi

Conductor: Michele Mariotti

Choral Director: Salvatore Caputo

2014 Guerzenich Orchestra Cologne Savonlinna Opera Festival Gala Concert
2015 Christian Thielemann & the Staatskapelle Dresden The Bolshoi Ballet - Jewels
2016 Compagnia Finzi Pasca - La Verità (The Truth) The Mikhailovsky Ballet - The Sleeping Beauty
2017 Bayerisches Staatsballett (Bavarian State Ballet) - La Bayadère A co-production between San Francisco Opera and

the Hong Kong Arts Festival - Dream of the Red Chamber

2018 Ballett Zürich - Anna Karenina Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and

Estonian National Male Choir

2019 Marin Alsop with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra The Hamburg Ballet-John Neumeier -

The World of John Neumeier

2020 Andris Nelsons with the Boston Symphony Orchestra

(Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic)

Igor Moiseyev Ballet - Legend of the Century

(Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic)

2021 Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra - Music About China Igor Moiseyev State Academic Ensemble of Popular Dance -

Igor Moiseyev Ballet Special

New works and recent tours[edit]

The HKAF is very active at promoting and engaging homegrown creative talents and emerging artists through commissioning producing and publishing new works in theatre, chamber opera and contemporary dance. Some of these productions go on to successful subsequent runs in Hong Kong and overseas.

In 2008, the HKAF commissioned and produced the production, Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare for the 36th HKAF as part of its New Works series, and was later featured in a second run in the 40th HKAF in 2012 before participating in Globe to Globe, a World Shakespeare Festival at the Globe Theatre in London in which 37 of Shakespeare’s plays were performed in different languages. This was the first Cantonese production to be performed at the Globe.[5]

The HKAF in 2014 featured FILTH by Jingan Young, the first English language play ever commissioned by the festival.[6]

In 2013, the 41st HKAF commissioned the New Stage Series, Heart of Coral, a chamber opera about the life of Xiao Hong, one of the most celebrated female Chinese writers. The opera production was later featured in Taiwan at "Hong Kong Week 2014 @ Taipei" as part of a cultural exchange organized by the Hong Kong-Taiwan Cultural Co-operation Committee.[7]

The Crowd, another HKAF commissioned production which is written by Shanghai-based writer Yu Rongjun and directed by Hong Kong theater director, Tang Wai-kit for the HKAF in 2015 was also performed in Shanghai in April 2015.[8]

Co-commissioned by the HKAF and the Shakespeare’s Globe, renowned Hong Kong theatre director Tang Shu-wing premiered his Cantonese production of Macbeth at the Globe Theatre in London in August 2015, 4 years after the debut of his production of Titus Andronicus as part of the Globe to Globe initiative.[9][10] Macbeth was then staged at the 44th HKAF.

Awards, Achievements and Contributions[edit]

Year Programme Awards
2005 《法吻》 第十五屆香港舞台劇獎

最佳劇本 莊梅岩

最佳男主角(悲劇/正劇) 李鎮洲



Best Screenplay 莊梅岩

Best Actor (Tragedy / drama) 李鎮洲

Top ten most popular repertoire

2008 《泰特斯》Titus Andronicus 第十八屆香港舞台劇獎

最佳舞台設計 陳志權

最佳燈光設計 張國永



Best stage design 陳志權

Best Lighting Design 張國永

Top ten most popular repertoire

2009 《聖荷西謀殺案》Murder in San José 第十九屆香港舞台劇獎

最佳導演(悲劇/正劇) 李鎮洲

最佳劇本 莊梅岩

最佳女主角(悲劇/正劇) 劉雅麗



Best Director 李鎮洲

Best Screenplay 莊梅岩

Best Actress (tragedy / drama) 劉雅麗

Top ten most popular repertoire

2010 《香港式離婚》The Truth About Lying 第二十屆香港舞台劇獎


最佳劇本 黃詠詩

最佳女主角(悲劇/正劇) 黃慧慈

十大最受歡迎製作 [11]


Best Overall Performance

Best Screenplay 黃詠詩

Best Actress (tragedy / drama) 黃慧慈

Top ten most popular repertoire

Timeout Best Production 2010 [11]

2011 《重回凡間的凡人》An Ordinary Man 第二十一屆香港舞台劇獎




Best Supporting Actress (tragedy / drama) 何英瓊

2012 《野豬》The Wild Boar 第二十二屆香港舞台劇獎

十大最受歡迎製作最佳舞台設計 曾文通


Top ten most popular repertoire

Best stage design 曾文通

2013 《爆‧蛹》Blast 第二十三屆香港舞台劇獎



Top ten most popular repertoire

2014 形象香港 Images of Hong Kong 2014「CASH金帆音樂獎」最佳正統音樂作品


Best Serious Composition at CASH Golden Sail Music Awards 2014

Footprint by Lam Lan Chee

2017 「第五屆香港賽馬會當代舞蹈平台」 — 節目三:《舞鬥》

The 5th Hong Kong Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Series – Programme 3: Dance Off

香港舞蹈年獎2017 傑出編舞


Outstanding Choreography at The 19th Hong Kong Dance Awards

Time Lag by Blue Ka-wing

Recent Publications[edit]

Year Publication
2009 《黑天鵝》


Black Swan

Murder in San José

2010 《香港式離婚》


The Truth About Lying

The Liaisons

2011 《重回凡間的凡人》


An Ordinary Man

Pretense / Recycling Times

2012 《愛之初體驗》



Journey to Home

The Wild Boar

Show Flat

2013 《屠龍記》




Heart of Coral


2014 《森林海中的紅樓》


Red Chamber in the Concrete Forest


2015 《金蘭姊妹》



The Amahs


The Crowd

2016 《論語》 Chinese Lesson


  1. ^ Young Friends of the Hong Kong Arts Festival website
  2. ^ Festival PLUS website
  3. ^ About Us, Hong Kong Arts Festival
  4. ^ Hong Kong Arts Festival promises stellar line-up of performances SCMP, 14 October 2014
  5. ^ "Titus Andronicus". TANG SHU-WING THEATRE STUDIO (in Chinese (Taiwan)). Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Jingan Young". HK Magazine. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  7. ^ ""Hong Kong Week 2014 @ Taipei" to show the essence of Hong Kong culture (with photos)". www.info.gov.hk. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  8. ^ "The 48th HK Arts Festival 2020年第48屆香港藝術節". www.hk.artsfestival.org. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  9. ^ "Chinese productions of Shakespeare return to the Globe in London". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Macbeth performed in Cantonese by Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio, Hong Kong / Shakespeare's Globe". www.shakespearesglobe.com. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Best of 2010: Best Hong Kong Stage Production". www.timeout.com.hk. Archived from the original on 5 May 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2016.

External links[edit]