In view of the reopening of performing venues on 19 February, the Hong Kong Arts Festival announces changes to in-venue programmes. Please visit this page for details.

The 49th Hong Kong Arts Festival in 2021
rolls out HKAF-commissioned productions!
Available for online viewing in May 2021
Booking and Free Registration Start Today (26 April 2021)

(Hong Kong, 26 April 2021)

The 49th Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF) is delighted to announce the rollout of HKAF-commissioned productions, following rescheduling earlier this year due to unavailability of venues on account of social-distancing restrictions. The programmes will be available for online viewing in May 2021, and will include Jockey Club Local Creative Talents Series Journey to the West Rewind/Women Like Us, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Series (CDS) 10th Anniversary Dance On and Off, Put Out the Flame/Hermetic Diode, Elephant in the Room/Dirty, and The Plague (Cantonese and English Versions).

Ticket bookings and online registrations are now available on the HKAF website at


Jockey Club Local Creative Talents Series
Journey to the West Rewind/Women Like Us
14 to 31 May
Free online viewing upon registration

Journey to the West Rewind and Women Like Us are solely sponsored by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.

Journey to the West Rewind online music theatre is an audacious reinvestigation of the Cantonese opera art form and the eponymous literary classic. Having traversed thousands of miles of dangerous terrain, Tang Sanzang and his disciples at last complete their perilous pilgrimage to obtain the sacred Buddhist texts. But at journey’s end, they find the Book of Heaven is blank. By taking us back to the saga’s climactic moment of enlightenment, Journey to the West Rewind asks us how we can carry on when things don’t turn out as we expected and we find ourselves right back at the start. 

The Cantonese-language online chamber opera Women Like Us is a singing tribute to the literary grand dame Xi Xi and the two protagonists of her beloved short stories A Girl Like Me and The Cold. One is a mortuary cosmetologist living in the bleak world of the dead; the other, a social worker trapped in a lifeless marriage to appease her family. Soprano Kenix Tsang and mezzo-soprano Samantha Chong take the libretto to soaring heights, spinning a tale of two women finding the courage to not only face the cold shadows of loneliness, but walk towards the radiance of solitude, embracing the unknown.

English and Chinese subtitles will be provided.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Series 10th Anniversary
Dance On and Off
Put Out the Flame/Hermetic Diode
Elephant in the Room/Dirty
14 to 31 May
Free online viewing upon registration

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Series is solely sponsored by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust

1) Dance On and Off

In the ten years since its conception, CDS has nurtured the development of numerous emerging local choreographers and performers—many of whom have continued to build successful careers in the contemporary dance sector. Dance On and Off invites ten of these past participants back to the CDS stage, where they look back on their development as artists through devising new works. The ten multifaceted and original creations respond to the art of dance and self-expression in the tumultuous present, with inspirations as far-ranging as Thai boxing, capoeira, naamyam, the rhythms of the city and the psyche of the self.

2) Put Out the Flame/Hermetic Diode

In this striking double-bill, three CDS alumni revisit their starkly different meditations on the limits of expression and understanding in close-knit partnerships.

Tracy Wong and Mao Wei push their bodies to the limit in their restaging of Put Out the Flame (2019 CDS), originally devised under the guidance of Belgium-based choreographer Jos Baker. Narrating the emotions behind a married couple’s everyday routine, their sharp, gravity-defying movements are poignant testaments to the unbearable weight of grief and the magnetic-repulsive tension of long-term partnership.

In Sudhee Liao’s extended-length revival of Hermetic Diode (2018 CDS), two dancers animate a giant plastic bubble and industrial pipes, locked in an endless cycle of coming together and pulling apart. Part-dance, part-sound installation, part-visual art, Hermetic Diode captures the sort of incandescent beauty that only gritty attachment and constant proximity can produce.

3) Elephant in the Room/Dirty

How do social norms prevent communication? Dance artists from Hong Kong and mainland China seek an answer in this playful, incisive double bill. Elephant in the Room (2019 CDS) is an ensemble portrait of the masks we wear to shield entirely visible but inconvenient truths, devised by amateur and professional dancers in collaboration with Beijing-based choreographer Chang Xiaoni. The work’s themes of confronting silence and alienation will inevitably be heightened in this version, revised under the isolating impact of a global pandemic. Dirty is a brand-new collaborative creation developed online by dancers Dever Chan (Hong Kong) and Gong Zhonghui (Guizhou). Inspired by the clash of values inherent in the Putonghua word deti (meaning “proper”) and its English phonetic equivalent “dirty”, the two creators explore societal restrictions on the body while invoking the wild, animalistic origins of movement.

The Plague (Cantonese and English Versions)
25 to 31 May
24-hour pass for online viewing
(HK$80 for the Cantonese Version and HK$50 for the English Version)

Up-and-coming Hong Kong director Chan Tai-yin brings together an all-female cast in the world premiere of a haunting Cantonese adaptation of Neil Bartlett’s The Plague, itself an adaptation of Albert Camus’s tour de force La Peste. Commissioned and produced by the HKAF, the work examines how, when faced with an unimaginable situation, people respond in their own way—some heroically, others selflessly, more still selfishly. But even in the worst of times, people always fight back against despair and the human desire for empathy wins out: “There is more to admire about people than to despise or despair of”. This eerily timely production strikes a powerful chord with us today, as we come to terms with a reality turned upside down by the plague of our times.

Given the positive feedback on the English version of The Plague, directed by Wang Chong and performed by six actors across six different countries and time zones as real-time online performances in March, a recording of the production will be available for online viewing. These two adaptations compel us to interrogate the outside world and our inner selves during a critical time rife with fear and uncertainty.

These two online programmes will be available during 25 to 31 May by purchasing a 24-hour pass (valid from 8pm on the selected day to 8pm the next day, in Hong Kong time). For licensing reasons, these two productions will be available for streaming in Hong Kong only. Both programmes provide English and Chinese subtitles.


Spanning two weekends from 12 to 20 June, HKartsFestival@TaiKwun, solely sponsored by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, will continue to encourage public participation in the arts through immersive online and in-venue programmes, encompassing interactive art tech installations, site-specific creations, pop-up performances and real-time interactive improvisations, curated and performed by about 100 local and international artists.


In this exceptional year, PLUS continues to bring “More than Great Performances” to enrich audience experience beyond the stage. Most of the programmes are available to watch until the end of June, with highlights including:

  • The Hong Kong Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Series 10th Anniversary Campaign
  • Artist Sharing: The Witnesses of The Plague and Seeing Your Own Plague in Albert Camus’s The Plague
  • Artist Sharing and Behind-the-scenes: The New Normal of Journey to the West Rewind and Women Like Us on the Arduous Path to Happiness
  • Behind-the-scenes: Noah’s Ark
  • Documentary Short: Telling Images of Xiqu on Porcelain
  • Online Exhibition: Into the Czech Lands
  • PLUS Films: Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema – Coppélia and La Bayadère


Launched in 1973, the Hong Kong Arts Festival is a major international arts festival committed to enriching the cultural life of the city. In February and March each year, the Festival presents leading local and international artists from all genres of the performing arts, giving equal importance to great traditions and contemporary creations. The Festival also commissions and produces work in theatre, music, chamber opera and contemporary dance by Hong Kong’s own creative talents and emerging artists, many of which have had successful subsequent runs in Hong Kong and overseas. Every year the Festival also presents over 250 “PLUS” and educational activities that offer diverse arts experiences to the community as well as tertiary, secondary and primary school students. In addition, through the “No Limits” project co-presented with The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the Festival strives to create an inclusive space for people with different abilities to share the joy of the arts together.


For enquiries, please contact Ms Katy Cheng, Marketing Director, at, or:

Mr Dennis Chan (Opera and Music programmes) at
Ms Alexia Chow (Chinese Opera, Theatre and Dance programmes) at