Students travel back in time to old Hong Kong in initiative designed to find fresh theatre talent

Students travel back in time to old Hong Kong in initiative designed to find fresh theatre talent

Students spent their summer learning what it takes to put on a musical, and so much more


The students, dressed in red T-shirts, performed a song for the elderly in Sham Shui Po.
Photo: Joshua Lee/SCMP


The cast of students who performed for the elderly as part of the Hang Seng Call for Young Talent in Theatre 2017 Community Day, along with their coach.
Photo: Joshua Lee/SCMP

Scores of students from Hong Kong have spent their summer pouring their hearts and souls into a musical that will be performed at the Poly U Jockey Club auditorium on Friday and Saturday. 

What makes the play Our Time, Our Hong Kong so special is that it is set in Sham Shui Po in the 1960s, and just recently the performers went to the district  to perform for the  residents of the area.

They were able to swap stories with the elderly who attended the show, and served them dinner.

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The play, which is part of the Hang Seng Call for Young Talent in Theatre initiative, revolves around a young local girl, Siu-lam, whose beloved granny has died. Siu-lam stumbles across a time machine and before she knows it, she has travelled back to the 60s. There she gets to experience all that decade had to offer Hongkongers, both rich and poor. 

The excerpts from the show went down a treat with the audience at the Food Angel Community Centre, as did the food and chance to chat with the youngsters. The students were equally as happy with the experience.

Sherry Chung Ka-yan, 13, from Tin Shui Wai Methodist College, who plays Siu-lam, says the main thing she’ll take away is how she’s learned to relax and have fun on stage.

Student Volunteers pour tea and serve dinner for the elderly as part of the Hang Seng Call for Young Talent in Theatre 2017 Community Day.
Photo: Joshua Lee/SCMP

“What’s important is to enjoy yourself – there’s no need to stress yourself out,” she says with a smile.

Angie Ho Lap-chi, 15, from Good Hope school, saw it as a chance to become a more expressive person. She looked to her own grandparents for inspiration on what life was like during the 60s. “They told me that at the time they were without drinking water. Families had to carry buckets of water home together. It was physically demanding but they still found it a very happy time.”

SKH Leung Kwai Yee Secondary School student Issac Mak Wan-ching, 17, says he learned lots about  poverty  and police corruption in the city at the time. On a more personal level, he was transformed by the experience. He learned to make eye contact with the people he was acting with, and the importance of believing in his team.

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Yeung Wing, 13, from United Christian College (Kowloon East), played a domestic helper in the play. She signed up  because she wanted to learn to slow down when she talks, and she managed to do just that. “Other than learning about technical skills like acting and stage directing, I also value the friendships  I developed.”

The Young Talent in Theatre programme was launched in 2015 by Hang Seng Bank and the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre (HKRep). It was created to help develop stage talent and boost the confidence of students in general. This year, the programme also started its first school outreach workshop, in which HKRep provided stage training for 10 primary and secondary schools.

“We’re not looking for students to undergo a massive change,” says Margaret Kwan Wing-han, Hang Seng’s Executive Director and Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management. “We want to help them gradually grow and transform into professional actors.”

Young Post has 10 pairs of tickets to give away to lucky readers. For a chance to win a pair of tickets for the 3pm Saturday showing of Our Time, Our Hong Kong at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, email by Thursday with the answer to this question: what sort of organisation is Food Angel? Include your full name (as printed on your HKID), your age, school and phone number. The Hang Seng Call for Young Talent in Theatre 2017 is sponsored by Young Post.

Edited by Ginny Wong

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Travelling back in time


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