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Second arts venue opens in West Kowloon Cultural District

Second arts venue opens in West Kowloon Cultural District
July 9, 2019

The second major performing arts venue of the West Kowloon Cultural District, Freespace, has been opened.

A new centre for contemporary performance in the heart of the West Kowloon Art Park, Freespace houses The Box, one of the largest ‘black box’ theatres in Hong Kong with 450 seats/900 people if they are standing; a bar; the Livehouse, an intimate bar- café for live music at the facility’s entrance; along with rooms and a studio for small-scale performances.

Designed to present multi-genre performances and events, produces boundary-pushing collaborations, and new ways of seeing and experiencing performance, Louis Yu Kwok-lit, Executive Director for Performing Arts of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, said Freespace is built for people, especially the younger generation, to explore contemporary performing arts.

Operational since the beginning of last month, programming in The Box at Freespace includes partnership co-presentations with Le French May, Edward Lam Dance Theatre, Hong Kong Repertory Theatre and others. The Livehouse is currently programming regular live music performances from a wide range of genres, including indie, classical and jazz.

Henry Tang Ying-yen, Chairman of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority Board, is confident that Freespace will become, as he explains, "one of the most vital and instrumental creative spaces in the city."

However, the venue has been criticised for being expensive to hire

Artistic groups planning to stage a show at The Box will have to pay a rent of at least HK$6,000 (US$770) for nine hours, or HK$9,000 (US$1,150)  for 14 hours for performances with other charges such as overnight set up or take down not included.

The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority Board will also share 10% of gross box office receipts.

Louis Yu Kwok-lit, the Authority’s Performing Arts Executive Director said the cost of renting The Box was fair for such a new venue, telling the South China Morning Post “it’s very affordable given the uniqueness of our venue."

Freespace is next to the Art Park's great lawn, where an outdoor stage can be set up for big events that draw crowds of up to 10,000.

The final phase of the Art Park and waterfront promenade will be completed by the end of this year.

The new facility is part of the HK$21.6 billion development of the cultural district, with other infrastructure such as the M+ visual culture museum, and the Hong Kong Palace Museum, which are expected to open by 2021 and 2022 respectively.

The Chinese opera theatre, Xiqu Centre, opened in January.

Related Articles

24th June 2019 - Hong Kong’s new Xiqu Centre the world’s first performance venue specifically designed for classical Chinese opera

20th August 2018 - Hong Kong leisure projects hit by building delays

28th May 2018 - New centre for Heritage and the Arts opened in Hong Kong

9th March 2018 - Free entry initiative sees record attendance at Hong Kong museums

17th October 2016 - M+ Pavilion opening marks the first permanent art venue in the West Kowloon Cultural District

26th November 2014 - Construction advances on West Kowloon Cultural District venues

30th July 2012 - Architects shortlisted for West Kowloon Cultural District arts venue

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