West Kowloon is pleased to announce the two awardees of the 2019 Young Fellows Scheme: theatre maker, researcher and co-founder and co-artistic director of Little Bean Theatre, Bonnie Chan Yuen-yan and audio describer and arts administrator Dorothy Ngan So-yan.

A sharing session will be held with both fellows after completion of their projects.
(Details to be announced in late 2019)

Bonnie Chan Yuen-yan

Bonnie is a theatre maker, researcher, educator and the co-founder and co-artistic director of Little Bean Theatre (London), an organisation catering for Cantonese-speaking children and families in the UK. She has toured Little Bean Theatre performances in schools and community centres that support non-Chinese speaking students in Hong Kong. Her research interest covers theatre and education as well as community cultural development. She is also an experienced Cantonese teacher.

Bonnie received her MA in Theatre Criticism and Dramaturgy at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London and received an MA in East-West Drama from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She worked in the Literary Department of the Royal Shakespeare Company on the Chinese Classics Translation Project. Between 2004 and 2015, she was a core member of FM Theatre Power. She has also worked with a number of other Hong Kong-based theatre groups. Bonnie has worked as Senior Researcher in the Performing Arts Department at West Kowloon Cultural District and as Research Executive in the Cantonese Opera Education Research and Promotion Project in the University of Hong Kong.

Her theatre works and academic papers on community theatre and related topics have been presented in international arts festivals and conferences in several countries, including Taiwan, Korea, Bangladesh, Singapore, Portugal, France, the UK and the Netherlands. Bonnie received an HSBC scholarship for an internship in off-West End venues in London (2007). She was the guest curator of the International Community Arts Festival in Rotterdam in 2017.

Fellows Project: Little Bean – Cantonese is Fun!
As an international city, Hong Kong is home to a number of different minority communities. But language and cultural barriers, and an inability to read, write or speak Chinese, can make it difficult for individuals from these communities to gain academic qualifications, pursue careers and fully participate in Hong Kong life. To help make Hong Kong a more inclusive society, the social integration and enhancement of this population is crucial.

For this project, Bonnie will work with experienced arts education and language-learning facilitators to offer Cantonese-language drama and music workshops for non-Chinese speaking children aged 3 to 8 years from ethnic minority communities. In an immersive Cantonese-language environment, the children will be provided with a fun arts-learning experience that will also help enhance their language proficiency. Through these workshops, the project also aims to establish closer ties with minority community families, engage them in local arts and cultural activities, and help promote diversity and social inclusion.

Dorothy Ngan So-yan
Photo: Jack Li

Practicing audio describer and experienced arts administrator Dorothy Ngan So-yan received professional training in audio description in Hong Kong in 2008. During her training she received guidance from a number of established audio describers including Joel Snyder, Professor Chao Yaly, Andrea Day, Celia Hughes and Andrew Holland.

Since 2009, Dorothy has devoted herself to supporting arts accessibility services for music, dance, theatre, xiqu, film and visual arts. She is the curator of the accessible tour programme for the Xiqu Centre and the coordinator of in-gallery guide for M+. She has served as audio describer for the DVD production of the documentary films Snuggle and Light Up, and for a number of live performances including events for the Cantonese Opera Young Talent Showcase, Le French May, City Contemporary Dance Company, Hong Kong Ballet, Hong Kong Dance Company, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Chung Ying Theatre, Zuni Icosahedron, and Hong Kong Repertory Theatre.

Dorothy obtained a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She also studied Management Studies in The University of Hong Kong.

Fellows Project: Research on Accessible Theatre in Hong Kong – Overcoming Visual Barriers
In this project, Dorothy reviews the accessibility services provided during performances by local art organisations, such as audio description, performing arts interpreting and sign language interpretation.

Through research focused on accessibility services provided to audiences with visual impairments and the young-old with special needs, the project will provide important references for arts administrators on programme planning and audience development. Using her extensive knowledge and understanding of arts accessibility services and arts management, especially with regard to audio description for the visually impaired, Dorothy will engage service users and service providers through surveys and focus groups to examine existing accessible services provided by non-profit organisations and private companies, as well as those provided by theatre companies. The project will assess the effectiveness of existing accessibility services and also provide feasible recommendations for improvement.

Besides generating useful findings for programme planning for the Hong Kong performing arts sector, it is hoped that the project will also help develop a new model for accessibility services that overcome visual barriers and promote audience building through new interpretation-related systems.