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Step up to the Stage: Theatre Education in Hong Kong

During the 2019 edition of KidsFest, a three-week festival of theatre for young people, some 26,000 people sat in the audience for at least one of the popular shows, including Room on a Broom, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and The Gruffalo. On any given week there are thousands of students in Hong Kong taking a weekly drama class and many more looking to be a part of an annual production. And increasingly there are more and more opportunities to be engaged with drama education, perhaps in part due to Hong Kong’s growth as an arts hub.

“Hong Kong is a great place to work and explore new opportunities. Increasingly it is also becoming a global arts hub which enriches all citizens’ experiences. Performing arts offerings – both locally and from overseas – are becoming more numerous and diverse, and audience numbers are growing,” said Joanna Hotung, the Managing Director of KG Group. “As a result, there’s a lot more interest in parents taking their children to the theatre or concerts or ballet to enrich their learning. This then extends to enrolling their children in performing arts courses, and encouraging them to perform on stage too. I see this as very positive when supported through a nurturing and developmentally appropriate programme.”

Credit: Kids Gallery

It wasn’t always this way. In 1996, Hotung’s two young daughters were attending a well-known local kindergarten mainly to learn Chinese, but the experience also made Hotung realise there “was a need for far more creative education in Hong Kong.” Hotung started Kids’ Gallery in 1995, which is focused on performing arts education and musical theatre training for young people, as well as producing high quality performances. Since its inception, more than 60,000 students have taken part in Kids’ Gallery programmes.

“We started out just teaching arts and crafts, but over the years extended upwards in age to include fine arts and portfolio programmes, as well as branching out into Communication Arts and Performing Arts as well as Visual Arts,” Hotung said. “We also have a very full annual schedule of performances, productions, and events ranging from full-scale productions on stage to speech festivals and events like the Chinese New Year Parade held in Tsim Sha Tsui, televised globally.”