Located on the southern coast of China, Hong Kong is endowed with an excellent natural harbour that has long been the centre of lucrative trade between China and the world, with its performing arts scene developing hand in hand. As early as the 1840s, there were live performances in the port city, including visiting troupes from abroad and amateur productions by Western and Chinese residents.

Hong Kong’s performing arts further diversified and expanded after the 1940s, especially in spoken drama, cabaret, dance and other art forms. In 1962, the Hong Kong City Hall officially opened, marking a milestone. Located in the city’s central government and business district, the venue has hosted countless performances.

Taking Off

By the 1970s, Hong Kong’s performing arts scene became more mature, witnessing the founding of many professional arts organisations that still prosper today. Meanwhile, abundant experimental theatres were established and up-and-coming artists rose to prominence, injecting creativity and daring, enriching the city’s arts scene. Hong Kong gradually evolved into a dynamic and diverse cultural metropolis.

Hong Kong currently enjoys a cultural boom. Spearheaded by the local government, the West Kowloon Cultural District, located at the harbourfront, has remoulded the cityscape. With the grand openings of Freespace, Xiqu Centre, M+, the Hong Kong Palace Museum and other facilities, the new vibrant cultural area has rapidly won the hearts of the local public and visitors alike. Numerous performances and exhibitions each year attract millions of visitors immersing themselves in the cultural ambience.

Charting the Future

Hong Kong’s arts scene enjoys tremendous success partly because of historical, geographical and cultural factors. Above all, the key to its current achievements is the meaningful exchange and close collaborations between local practitioners and international artists that continue to generate enthusiastic audience support and participation.

With arts development currently in full swing, the central government singled out the city’s role as an East-West nexus for international cultural exchange as part of the national plan. With the full support of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) is honoured to host the inaugural Hong Kong Performing Arts Expo (HKPAX) in 2024. From 14 to 18 October, a series of programmes, showcases, pitch sessions, talks, exhibition and networking activities will establish a solid platform for cultural leaders and arts practitioners from China including Hong Kong and around the globe to engage in meaningful dialogue and promote artistic exchange, rekindling old friendships and building new connections.