Tri-City Co-Lab Takes Place in the World's Leading Festival City

The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) today announced the launch of its latest initiative supporting the long-term development of the performing arts in Hong Kong: International Co-Lab, an innovative tri-city residency programme for mid-career performing artists. The ambitious three-year project will launch in Edinburgh, United Kingdom, on 20 August 2017 - in the heart of the city's famed festival season - before travelling to Auckland, New Zealand, in 2018 for the Auckland Arts Festival before finally landing in Hong Kong in 2019, when the residency outcomes will be presented as part of the opening programme for Freespace at West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD). International Co-Lab is developed by Forest Fringe (the UK), The Basement Theatre (Auckland, New Zealand) and WKCDA (Hong Kong). The residency is supported by British Council, Creative Scotland, Creative New Zealand and the WKCDA.

The two-week Edinburgh event is a result of conversations during the international delegates programme Momentum 2016 at Festivals Edinburgh. This peer-led programme will see three artists from each territory, selected from a range of artistic disciplines, share their artistic skills and cultural knowledge, expand their creative practice, and build their international networks during experimental encounters, conversations, seminars, workshops and project sharing.

Participating artists include Abby Chan, Ata Wong and Dick Wong from Hong Kong; Julia Croft, Nisha Midhan and Jason Wright from New Zealand; and Sharron Devine, Nic Green, and Eilidh MacAskill from the UK. The programme is co-curated by leading performing arts professionals from the project cities, including Anna CY Chan, Head of Dance, Performing Arts (PA), and Low Kee Hong, Head of Theatre, PA, WKCDA; Gabrielle Vincent, Programme and Artist Development Manager of Basement Theatre in Auckland; and Ira Brand and Andy Fields, Co-Directors of Forest Fringe from Edinburgh. Each curator brings their expertise and knowledge of their respective areas to the programme.

"A number of new venues will be opening in WKCD in coming years, so it is important for us to continue to present a wide range of initiatives that support our core strategies of venue and programming development, cultural exchange, new works creation, and learning and participation," said Low Kee Hong, Head of Theatre, PA, WKCDA. "We believe that this exchange will create moments of artistic conversation amongst the group of participating artists during the intensity of the Edinburgh festival. It will enable these artists to push their practice to a new level of creative and artistic experimentation where the encounters, conversations and debates can lead to possible collaboration and new work creation."

"We anticipate the programme will be creatively rewarding for the artists and help to extend networks with the potential for new understandings, connections and opportunities. This exchange successfully links our Edinburgh and Focus on Asia initiatives and we're delighted to continue building our relationships with our partners in Hong Kong, New Zealand and Scotland," added Cath Cardiff, Senior Manager International, Creative New Zealand.

"This innovate programme offers a new route for our Scottish participants to forge links with their international contemporaries, and vice versa. Being able to bring these artist and practitioners together in Edinburgh during the creative feast that is the city's festival season adds great potential for opportunities and partnerships to grow as a result," said Graham Sheffield, Global Arts Director, British Council.

"We are excited to collaborate with renowned professionals from New Zealand and the UK, in the midst of one of the world's leading performing arts festivals," commented Anna CY Chan, Head of Dance, PA, WKCDA. "Events like this help us share the philosophy of our arts programming and give us the opportunity to explore strategies for each venue, reach out to new audiences and establish partnerships with leading institutions from around the world. We want the International Co-Lab to become a successful laboratory for ideas and part of an exciting new programme for the 2019 opening of Freespace, which is one of WKCD's most anticipated performing arts venues."

The three-year, three-city structure of the International Co-Lab is designed to allow preliminary artistic conversations to advance over time, deepen relationships between artists and curators, and generate greater understanding of cultural contexts, resulting in more opportunities to develop collaborative works together. Hosting the International Co-Lab at major performing arts festivals will provide participating artists with unique opportunities to experience and reflect upon a wide range of programmes.

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