About the Festivalred-line

red-line

Since 2005 the World Cultures Festival has travelled north, south, east, and west to bring artistic gems from different regions to Hong Kong. On our last journey, we relished the scorching visions of Africa. This year, we showcase five Nordic countries that are the epitome of cool. Encompassing music, dance, drama, literature, circus arts, and more, these programmes will enfold you in past, present, and future through their inclusive, people-oriented themes and focus on key social issues.

For our compelling opening performance, we feature an operatic version of Ingmar Bergman’s signature film Autumn Sonata by Finnish composer Sebastian Fagerlund. Human nature is further examined in Ibsen’s “Ghosts”, a searing, unconventional Norwegian ballet originating from the 19th-century play and reinterpreted for modern times. Icelandic contemporary dance production The Best of Darkness wrestles with our inner vulnerabilities. Meanwhile, Breath and Signmark: Impossible is My Thing, both from Finland, show how movement and music respectively can help to transcend darkness.

Moving to a different set of mega challenges, Sweden’s Limits brilliantly deploys the techniques of cirque nouveau to reflect on the global refugee crisis. In addition, Danish multimedia opera-theatre NeoArctic searchingly explores where we and the environment are headed in the age of the Anthropocene. Tackling the future from another angle, Eugenio Barba directs the acclaimed Odin Teatret in The Chronic Life, where the Danish based acting lab delves into the disoriented times of 2031.

Indeed, tomorrow all depends on how we treasure yesterday and what we choose to do today. This is the focus of Arctic Odyssey, a spell-binding encounter with the eclectic arts of indigenous people from diverse regions of the far north. The Sounds of Finland also connects innovation and tradition in a concert centred on the multi-stringed kantele. More music is in store at the Nordic & Hong Kong Band Sound Gala, where Scandinavian and local groups present an upbeat sonic celebration spotlighting women singers. Don’t miss either the Festival’s refreshing Nordic Café series that turns the Hong Kong Cultural Centre’s Studio Theatre into an informal “salon”, complete with appropriate décor. Here, the audience can appreciate chamber music, play-reading, and improvisational theatre, while comfortably enjoying snacks and drinks.

I would like to give special thanks to the Consulates General of Finland and Sweden in Hong Kong for their strong support and assistance, as well as our programme sponsors for their generosity. In organising these events, we have also strengthened connections with local universities and cultural bodies. Our hope is to inspire the younger generation to see life from different perspectives and, in the spirit of the World Cultures Festival, embrace and pass on the joys of multiculturalism, an open mind, and the magic of the arts.

Alex Cheung
Senior Manager, Festivals Office
Leisure and Cultural Services Department