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Home > Culture > Events > Don’t miss these shows at the 45th Hong Kong Arts Festival
Don’t miss these shows at the 45th Hong Kong Arts Festival

Every spring for the past four-plus decades, a slew of the best international artists have descended on the city for the Hong Kong Arts Festival (16 February – 18 March), which gathers the most esteemed performers across the realms of dance, theatre and music for just over a month of amazing, thought-provoking programmes. As such, the run of the festival is arguably the best time of year for arts and culture lovers. HKAF returns for its 45th iteration this month, and you won’t want to miss out on these highlights. Don’t wait until the last minute to buy tickets; some performances are already sold out, and the rest are selling fast.

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: Café Müller & The Rite of Spring

Café Müller © Paulo Pimenta

Everyone who knows and loves modern dance knows the works of legendary Pina Bausch, whose emotional choreography and intense characterisation is unparalleled. Hong Kong audiences will be treated to two of her best known pieces during the festival, performed by her ensemble Tanztheater Wuppertal.

The show starts off with the melancholic “Café Müller,” which stemmed from Bausch’s childhood memories of growing up in her parents’ tavern in war-torn Germany. The second half features “The Rite of Spring,” the piece that brought Bausch into the international limelight in 1975. Featuring Stravinsky’s iconic music, it’s a dark, powerful, and very raw piece, so brace yourself — there’s even a bit of nudity expected in the programme.

When: 8–11 March 2017, 7:30pm

Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong; more info and tickets here.

Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal

Kosmos © Ignio Ceremigna

Canadians may have a tame reputation, but this dance company is anything but — Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal is known for jazzing up ballet classics with its contagious energy. They’re presenting three pieces at the festival in March: “Mono Lisa,” choreographed by Israel’s Itzik Galili, is a seductive pas de deux between a man and a woman; Galili’s work, “O Balcao de Amor” contrasts as a high-energy, comedic piece set to the fast rhythms of Cuban music by Pérez Prado; and “Kosmos” is set to Philip Glass’s minimalist solo piano piece “MAD RUSH,” aptly named for this dance expressing the madness and energy of life in a large city.

When: 3–4 March 2017, 8pm

Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong; more info and tickets from here.

Druid: The Beauty Queen of Leenane

© Stephen Cummiskey

Irish playwright Martin McDonagh is widely lauded for his works for the stage and screen, and one such example of his rich storytelling and humour is The Beauty Queen of Leenane, about a woman (Maureen) who lives with her elderly mother (Mag). It’s a play that builds up in tension and dark humour as their manipulative relationship unfolds.

Now a modern Irish classic celebrating its 20th anniversary, the play is receiving its Asian premiere in a production by Druid, the original theatre company which first presented Leenane in 1996. The production brings together an award-winning Irish cast, directed by Druid co-founder Garry Hynes, and features fellow co-founder Marie Mullen as Mag, who also won a Tony for her original role as Maureen.

When: 16–18 March 2017, 7:30pm; 18–19 March 2017, 2:30pm

Lyric Theatre, HKAPA, 1 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong; more info and tickets here.

Bayerisches Staatsballett: La Bayadère

© Charles Tandy

Marius Petipa’s stunning ballet La Bayadère, known for its most famous excerpt “The Kingdom of the Shade,” has not been seen in Hong Kong for over 20 years, and this return marks the first-ever full-company visit to Hong Kong by the Bavarian State Ballet. Featuring the original choreography re-staged by Paris Opera Ballet star Patrice Part, this mystical story set in an ancient, imaginary India has all the fixings of a good drama: a love triangle, jealousy and revenge, plus ravishing costumes and set pieces. The design is a collaborative effort with Japanese costume artist Tomio Mohri, who’s known for his work on Issey Miyake exhibitions around the world.

When: 16–19 February 2017, 7:30pm; 18–19 February 2017, 2:30pm

Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong; more info and tickets here.

Rose Theatre Kingston: All My Sons

© Mark Douet (The Hong Kong cast may be different from the original cast featured on this website.)

Arthur Miller’s famous play is brought to the Hong Kong stage by UK’s Rose Theatre Kingston, directed by Michael Rudman, who earned a Tony Award for his work with Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Written in 1947 and widely seen as one of Miller’s masterpieces, this story about the corruption of the American Dream might be more relatable than ever in this day and age.

When: 3–5, 7–11 March 2017, 7:30pm; 4 & 11 March 2017, 2:30pm

Lyric Theatre, HKAPA, 1 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong; more info and tickets here.

A Floating Family

© Lawrence @ WorkHouse

Last but not least, it wouldn’t be the Hong Kong Arts Festival without a celebration of local artists, and here you’ll get a taster of our homegrown theatre scene. Written by award-winning playwright Loong Man-hong and directed by Fong Chun-kit, A Floating Family is a dramatic trilogy that follows four siblings and their extended family during major turning points in Hong Kong’s history: in 1996, before the handover; 2004, after SARS; and 2017, 20 years after the city’s reunification with China. Free up your schedule on the 11th, 18th or 19th of March to see all three plays in the same day. You should hurry to get tickets, though, because at the time of writing, most performances are about 90% sold out.

When: 24–26 February 2017; 1–5, 8–11, 15–19 March 2017

Hong Kong City Hall, 5 Edinburgh Place, Central, Hong Kong; more info and tickets here.

Evelyn Lok
Managing Editor
When not trying out the latest beauty and wellness trends, Evelyn is likely enjoying a perfectly balanced negroni or exploring some of Hong Kong's best new places to eat and drink. At Lifestyle Asia she covers everything from the biggest events in town to interviews with Hong Kong specialists, with topics spanning art, food and drink, health, tech, and travel.
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