The Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA or the Authority) held its 96th meeting today. At the meeting, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of WKCDA, Mrs Betty Fung, reported on recent progress at the West Kowloon Cultural District (West Kowloon or the District) in different areas.  

Mrs Fung began by reporting that M+ staff have moved into the M+ building and the adjacent Conservation and Storage Facility after their Occupation Permits were granted end of last year. Preparation works are in full swing for museum opening which is set at the end of 2021. A media tour was arranged on 12 March 2021 to introduce the architectural features of the M+ building. The event successfully attracted more than 60 media representatives and was widely reported by local, the Greater China and international media, generating more than 500 pieces of media coverage so far.

At the same time, M+ has continued to launch different activities in recent months including the two-day online programme M+ International × National Gallery Singapore: ‘How Can Museums Matter Today?’ in collaboration with the National Gallery Singapore. Held on 23 and 24 February 2021, the public talks were joined by more than 850 people from the museum industry which touch upon the different ways museums can uphold inclusivity and diversity in their spaces, find opportunity in adversity, adapt to the rise of digitalisation, and encourage audience participation in these contexts. The M+ International initiative aims to create a platform for discussion about current issues facing museums, with previous events having taken place in partnership with the Sydney Opera House, the Mori Art Museum, and the Power Station of Art.

Regarding the Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM), Mrs Fung reported that the installation of the building’s aluminum cladding curtain wall will be completed by the end of April 2021. Testing and commissioning of mechanical and electrical equipment and system installation have been scheduled in next month. The application for statutory inspection by the Buildings Department and the Fire Services Department is expected to be made in the second quarter of 2021.The Authority is confident that building completion will be achieved by November 2021, followed by the fitting-out works for galleries.

The HKPM stakeholder engagement activities started in February 2021 that two online briefings were organised for the education sector. More than 300 teachers and education workers joined the briefings, where they were able to share numerous valuable opinions and ideas on HKPM’s future learning and participation programmes and activities.

Mrs Fung also reported that, after a temporary venue closure of more than two months, performances and activities with live audiences in the Xiqu Centre and Freespace have resumed. This followed the Government’s announcement on the relaxing of social distancing rules in late February 2021.

The Tea House Rising Stars Troupe greeted the audience again on 11 March 2021 at the Xiqu Centre and showcased a selection of short excerpts demonstrating a range of vocal and music styles. A 15% off discount on tickets of the Tea House Theatre Experience is available as tea and dim sum experience is temporarily suspended.

Scenes from a Marriage by Tang Shu-wing Theatre Studio is getting ready and will be on stage from 20 to 28 March 2021 at The Box in Freespace. The play is adapted from Swedish film master Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece Scenes from a Marriage and for the first time brings the story to the stage in Hong Kong. Tickets are now on sale on the West Kowloon Cultural District website.

Co-presented by Freespace as part of Hong Kong Ballet (HKB) in Residence 2021, the digital turn(it)out festival, from 18 March to 4 April 2021, is a glorious two-week explosion of dance, exploring classical ballet’s role in our modern world. Bringing together Hong Kong and international audiences virtually, the festival features five(by)six, a compelling programme of five intriguing contemporary ballets by six international dance-makers, The Orpheus Cabaret, a fresh new collaboration between HKB emerging choreographers and a team of The University of Hong Kong creative writers, Ballet Classics for Children: Cinderella, a charming introduction to the world of ballet for young audiences, and BINGE-WORTHY, a dazzling collection of short videos from the HKB vaults. An exciting array of fringe activities will be available for viewing on demand, including Open Company Class, the interactive Cross Training for Dancers series, MASTERCLASS! Series, ballet-blah-blah-blah, and more.

On 20 March and 21 March 2021, Hong Kong music and video artists will join forces to present a live cross-media performance at The Studio in Freespace. Local musicians will perform various pieces of music from across a range of different genres. Simultaneously, video artists will exhibit visually stunning short films in the background, creating an innovative audio-visual experience.

On projects progress, Mrs Fung also reported that Occupation Permit was issued to the WKCDA Tower on 29 January 2021. It is expected that the Authority’s staff members will be able to move into the building in the second quarter of 2021, after completion of the fitting-out works.

The Austin Road Pedestrian Linkage System connecting the Xiqu Centre and the MTR Austin Station will be open to the public within this month, once it is issued with the Work Completion Certificate after completion of all the statutory inspections. The new linkage system will provide convenient and direct pedestrian access for audiences and visitors heading to the Xiqu Centre from the Austin Station.

Remarks

About the West Kowloon Cultural District
The West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest and most ambitious cultural projects in the world. Its vision is to create a vibrant new cultural quarter for Hong Kong on forty hectares of reclaimed land located alongside Victoria Harbour. With a varied mix of theatres, performance spaces, and museums, the West Kowloon Cultural District will produce and host world-class exhibitions, performances and cultural events, providing twenty-three hectares of public open space, including a two-kilometre waterfront promenade.