HK Arts and Culture: The Best Festivals and Events in Hong Kong in Autumn 2013

Hong Kong’s cultural calendar is packed with both local festivals and international events, all of which reflect the thriving arts and culture scene in the city. From culinary feasts and spectacular light shows to literary debates and art extravaganzas, the remaining months of 2013 promise to be a vintage season for Hong Kong arts and culture.

Culture | Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival

14 - 22 September 2013

The ancient Chinese Harvest Festival, commonly known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is given a modern spin amidst the high rises and neon lights of Hong Kong. Visitors to the city during the festival can expect a visual feast, as paper lanterns fill the streets and elaborate dragon dances are held throughout this metropolis. Food is central to the festival, as it is to most things in this culinary mecca, and the world famous moon cakes are sold in a multitude of forms to suit every taste. The huge variety of lanterns which are available to buy are a key part of the festival’s appeal and these are combined with massive lantern sculptures throughout the city, particularly in the parks and around temples, where Hong Kong’s intoxicating light show truly comes alive.

Theatre | Shakespeare's Globe Asian tour of The Taming of the Shrew

25 - 29 September 2013

The Globe Theatre in London is known as the international home of Shakespeare and this legendary venue is now putting the bard’s best plays on the road, bringing high quality productions to Asia. Hong Kong is the first stop for this production of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, one of his more bawdy and outrageous comedies. The travelling troupe will bring with them Elizabethan style costumes and set design, and will attempt to replicate the Globe’s distinctively intimate atmosphere in the more modern surroundings of Hong Kong’s Lyric Theatre. The run of show is organised by ABA Productions, whose autumn season also includes A Clockwork Orange, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), The Globe Theatre’s The Taming of the Shrew, The Woman in Black and How to Catch a Star.

Music | Hong Kong International Jazz Festival

29 September – 2 October 2013

A fantastic line-up awaits jazz fans at the Hong Kong International Jazz Festival this year, with a wide range of international stars coming to the city for the festival. Now in its fourth decade, the Festival began in 1987 as a means of promoting jazz amongst Hong Kong’s multi-cultural community, as well as celebrating the talents of local musicians and performers. It was originally a Japanese export, having moved from Tokyo due to the economic downturn in the city and finding a welcoming home for jazz in East Asia in Hong Kong. Since then the festival has gone through several incarnations and various monikers but has stayed true to its original aim of bringing world class musicians to perform for jazz lovers in Asia.

Art | Fine Art Asia 2013

4 -7 October 2013

Fine Art Asia, Asia’s leading fine art fair, returns to Hong Kong with a wide array of fine art for sale from both East and West. Museum quality artworks spanning over 5000 years will be featured at the fair, including archaic Chinese bronzes, textiles and jades, antique furniture, decorative arts and ceramics, as well as a range of contemporary works from around the world. The fair will also host over 100 of the world’s most renowned galleries including well established galleries from the UK, France, the Netherlands, Japan, China and Taiwan, all of whom will bring their finest works to Hong Kong. The venue for this year’s event will be the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, located on the waterfront of Hong Kong’s famous harbour, which will also host a range of accompanying events.

Art | Hong Kong Contemporary Art Awards

4 October 2013 - 5 January 2014

Whilst the much lauded M+ Museum in West Kowloon is still yet to be built, the Hong Kong Museum of Art continues to house thought provoking and exciting exhibitions every year. One such exhibition in autumn will exhibit the winners of the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Awards from 2012 collectively for the first time. This awards offers up and coming young artists from throughout the city a chance to gain recognition for their works whilst promoting the burgeoning contemporary art scene in Hong Kong, which is starting to gain recognition internationally. There were over a thousand applicants for the awards, out of which 97 were finally chosen for the exhibition. The exhibiting artists from the 2012 prize will present work in a variety of fields, including painting, Chinese calligraphy and carving, sculpture, photography, installation, video and digital arts, in what promises to be an insightful glimpse of the current state of Hong Kong arts.

Culture | World Culture’s Festival

18 October - 17 November 2013

The World Culture’s Festival brings the best of an international cultural tradition to Hong Kong every year, and in 2013 the spotlight is on Eastern European culture. This will be showcased through a wide ranging programme of dance, music, food and theatre events, which will reveal the best contemporary and traditional offerings from Eastern Europe. Representatives from such countries as Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine will travel to Hong Kong in what is billed as the ‘Lasting Legacies of Eastern Europe’. Highlights will include a performance of Anna Karenina by the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg, a concert by the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra and a showing of Persona. Marilyn from the award winning Dramatic Theatre of the City of Warsaw.

Food | 2013 Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival

31 October - 3 November 2013

Hong Kong’s gastronomic scene is renowned throughout the world, and with a constantly evolving line up of world class chefs and innovative restaurants coming to the city, Hong Kong’s many gourmands are used to tasting the best food and wine. The Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival reflects this focus on quality and high class dining, with a huge array of wine, cuisine, live music and entertainment lined up for guests to enjoy. The festival is now in its fifth year and has grown exponentially to become one of the Asian culinary scene’s most prestigious events, and a showcase for producers and cooks from all over the world.

Arts | Hong Kong People's Fringe Festival 2013

November 1 - December 1 2013

The Hong Kong People’s Fringe describes itself as an open access festival initiated entirely by the local arts community, in which any art group or individual artist can register to exhibit. This alternative event is only in its second year but already a huge buzz has been created around the DIY aspect of the festival, which allows local practitioners to exhibit outside of the confines of the institutionalised art and culture world, and thus puts the focus squarely on the local grassroots arts scene in the city. 51 groups have already signed up for the festival which is putting on 70 events in 43 venues, although registration is still open and the festival programme is ever changing. This promises to be a fascinating glimpse into Hong Kong’s contemporary arts and culture scene, and a worthy counterpoint to the commercially funded operations which dominate the cultural calendar.

Literature | Hong Kong International Literary Festival

1 - 11 November 2013

The Hong Kong International Literary Festival has grown to be one of the largest in East Asia over the course of its 12 year existence, and this year’s event promises to be one of the most exciting yet. The festival will feature a ten day programme of literary events bringing together writers and academics from throughout the world in talks, readings, lectures and symposiums. From humble beginnings the festival has gradually expanded and has seen winners of some of the most prestigious literary competitions travel to Hong Kong to take part. The festival also runs a Schools Programme which features a series of educational and outreach events every year, and a Festival Book Club, which brings together Hong Kong’s avid readers to enjoy the best of international literature.

Culture | Very Hong Kong

7 - 15 December 2013

An exciting venture by the Very Hong Kong Festival Foundation Association which will see an eclectic line up of weird and wonderful events taking place throughout the city in December, ‘Very Hong Kong’ is set to be one of the most unique festivals on the cultural calendar. According to the organisers it ‘will celebrate the unique culture and urban environment of our city and aims to support and publicise the best of Hong Kong as well as international culture, across diverse arts, sporting, community and cultural sectors’. To this end the organisers are putting on a truly unique programme of events which will include a floating cinema in a typhoon shelter, public art in the streets and on roof tops of Central, 'horsing' around on the streets of Kowloon East (featuring real horses), and much more. Excitement for this festival is already building in the city, and this looks set to be one of Hong Kong’s weirdest, and most wonderful, cultural events of the year.

By Thomas Storey