Shakespeare in Hong Kong, based on former research, explores the nature of Hong Kong Chinese communities and individuals’ encounters with the Bard through and in theatre and education. Of particular interest is whether and how the role and reception of Shakespeare has changed in light of both the cultural, economic and political changes prompted by the 1997 ‘handover’ – for instance, does there exist a continued allegiance of certain groups of Hong Kong communities to a traditional “English” version of canonical literary figures? – and the recent, dramatic reforms in the Chinese education system that appear to be leading to an increased interest in and appreciation of the arts and literature.
The project, working with theatre practitioners, teachers, school curriculum designers and school pupils themselves through a mixture of face-to-face workshops and online materials, focusses on Shakespeare, to reconfigure his work as a site for the debate of issues such as race, gender, sexuality, class and colonialism, thereby opening it to intercultural dialogue. The kinds of questions the project seeks answers to include:
- Whether Shakespeare’s works are still relevant
- In what ways the study of Shakespeare benefits students
- How is he commonly taught and performed?
- How it might be possible to reimagine Shakespeare in Hong Kong
- What role Shakespeare can play in a new ‘liberal arts’ education
The project’s effectiveness in terms of changed attitudes and practice is gauged by qualitative and quantitative methods, again online and person-to-person interviews, change in the classroom and by media response.
My thanks to the following individuals and institutions for their help and involvement:
- Karen Cheng (Education Programme Manager, British Council HK)
- Prof. Jason Gleckman (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
- Prof. Simon Haines’ (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
- Prof. Jane Lai (Chair, Shakespeare Society of Hong Kong)
- Prof. Julian Lamb (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
- Shu-wing Tang (Artistic Director, Tang Shu-Wing Theatre Studio)
- Jennifer Tung (Assistant Manager, Education Programme, British Council HK)
- Rosana Wai-mun Chong Cheung (Chief Curriculum Development Officer [English], HK Education Bureau)
- Dr Jessica Yeung (Hong Kong Baptist University)
- William Yip (Artistic Director, Theatre Noir)
- Heep Yunn College (in particular, Mandy Mok and the girls in forms 3 and 4)
- Maryknolls Fathers’ School (in particular, Leung Hoi Tin)
- Renaissance College (in particular, Glenda Ray)
- Victoria Shanghai College (in particular, Joann Ranson)