Artistic adventure

Artistic adventure

Touring show introduces arts to a new generation

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Young Friends perform Mozart's Adventure at Kit Sam Lam Bing Yim Secondary School.
Young Friends perform Mozart's Adventure at Kit Sam Lam Bing Yim Secondary School.
Photo: Herbert Tsang/SCMP
Education is a lifelong process, but starting at an early age has its advantages. That's precisely the idea behind Young Friends of Hong Kong Arts Festival.

Since its inception in 1992, Young Friends has been an integral part of the annual Hong Kong Arts Festival, which was launched in 1973. Young Friends is dedicated to promoting arts education among young people, especially in a city where parents often overlook the creative side of a child's development.

Young Friends rolled out their latest school tour last month, which includes a multi-discipline performance entitled Mozart's Adventure. The show is a combination of dancing, singing and acting.

"There are a lot of performances that use Mozart's music," explains Chan Siu-tung, 24, scriptwriter and lead performer for Mozart's Adventure. "So I thought it would be interesting to see how he saw others using his music [in other disciplines]."

The result is a clever 20-minute play filled with quirky humour, solo dances and singing. It explores Mozart's early days as a composer and his interaction with a ballerina and opera singer, both of whom motivate him to write pieces for them.

"The dancing was great," says Lee Wing-yi, a Form Three student at Kit Sam Lam Bing Yim Secondary School. "They even explained the difference between contemporary dance and ballet."

The performance sneaks in videos of upcoming programmes at the festival. It also teaches students about proper manners - to maintain silence and switch off mobile phones - when attending a show. That's not all, though. The show is meant to inspire young people.

"The goal of the tour is to focus not only on things students like," says Chan, who's back for a second year. "We want them to try new things."

Inspiring anyone to explore new horizons is a challenge. But if last year's numbers are anything to go by, Young Friends has done its part. Last year, 37,242 people attended festival performances through Young Friends, with 10,314 students becoming members.

Young Friends is open to all full-time students under 25 years of age. Membership costs HK$60 for secondary students and HK$100 for tertiary students, and includes entry to two performances. It also includes access to workshops, lectures, pre- and post-performance talks and backstage tours.

Due to a lack of resources - teachers need to accompany students to shows - only a certain number of students are allowed to join each year. At Kit Sam Lam Bing Yim Secondary School, that number has increased to 90 students from 60 last year.

"The creative arts workshops are something I'd be most interested in attending," says Wing-yi. "I inquired about joining them last year but it was too late. The spots were already full."

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