The 29th Macao Arts Festival (MAF), organized by the Cultural Affairs Bureau, will be held from 27 April to 31 May. This edition is themed “Origin”, which symbolises the “spring of life”, and explores a wide range of topics to broaden the audiences’ thinking about life as well as to lead the audience to recall the core meaning of life by means of different art manifestations.
This edition of the MAF comprises a total of 26 programmes in 7 categories, namely “Thematic Highlights: Origin”, “Groundbreakers: Connection”, “Cross-Disciplinary Creations: Theatre”, “Family Entertainment”, “Quintessence of Tradition”, “Melodious Music” and “Exhibitions”, gathering excellent productions from abroad, Mainland China and Macao, as well as an outreach programme aimed at promoting arts in the community, in a total of over 100 activities.
In “Thematic Highlights: Origin”, the 29th MAF presents the opening performance Das Kapital by the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre, a new version of Karl Marx’s grand classic in celebration of the 200th anniversary of his birth, incorporating Macao’s elements and illustrating the duality of capital making use of black humour. The closing performance 13 Tongues, is a captivating dance, music and folklore show by internationally renowned dance group “Cloud Gate 2”. Contemporary Japanese playwright Tadashi Suzuki presents his adaptation of The Trojan Women to showcase the misery and desolation of the post-war period; while renowned Korean theatre group Sadari Movement Laboratory renders its adaptation of Kafka’s classical work The Trial to explore the definition of crime with unique body movements and language. Emerging Filipino choreographer Eisa Jocson, who has been performing in Europe, presents a work that examines the feminine body and gender politics; while Subject to_change from the United Kingdom introduces its highly-acclaimed work Home Sweet Home, allowing participants to build their cardboard houses and form a community.
In this edition of the Festival, local artists join hands with European and Asian artists in the performances in the “Groundbreakers: Connection” category. Dirks Theatre Arts Association, in collaboration with an Irish director and its international actors team, presents their adaptation of The Night just before the Forest by famed French playwright Bernard-Marie Koltès; the play Sunset at the Shipyards by Dream Theatre Association tells the history of the local shipbuilding industry; Migration is a documentary theatre by the Macau Experimental Theatre featuring Indonesian migrant workers; the MAF commissioned Singaporean group Nine Years Theatre the co-production of the play Pissed Julie, adapted from Miss Julie, an acclaimed work by Swedish playwright August Strindberg, which will be presented with an ironic touch by actors from both Macao and Singapore.
In the “Cross-Disciplinary Creations: Theatre” category, the 29th MAF presents a number of plays in various forms, including physical theatre 32 rue Vandenbranden by renowned Belgian art group Peeping Tom; the dance and installation play Humming of the Landscape, a show developed by Comuna de Pedra Arts and Cultural Association based on its previous performance in the Macao City Fringe Festival; a Portuguese artist who presents the experimental play Parasomnia at the Mandarin’s House; while local choreographer Tracy Wong returns to the Festival with Les Curious Fringes – Blast of the Cave, a performance incorporating dance, visual elements and installation.
Family programmes allow people of all ages to participate in the Festival. The family dance show Sponge makes use of different colours and shapes of sponges, encouraging family interaction and sponge-tastic fun; When All Was Green uses its unique theatrical language to explore the relationship between mankind and nature with the young audience; In Search of Memory by local arts association Step Out incorporates puppets, live music and kids’s songs to tell stories; the Performing Arts Gala gathers an array of performing arts and injects vitality in the community through the arts; the family comedy Infinita explores the philosophy of life, bringing an atmosphere overflowed with warmth and joy to all families.
“Quintessence of Tradition” bring immortal classics that further refine over time. Macao veteran Cantonese opera actor Chu Chan Wa collaborates with local Cantonese opera artists and rising stars to present the moving Cantonese opera Dream of the Red Chamber; the Classical Chinese Quyi Showcase re-enacts the two-century-plus history of Guangdong’s Quyi with Naamyam narrative songs and Baatyam percussion; the Patuá Theatre What’s serving? comments on all crucial issues of the small city, including current affairs, humanism and dialect; and the Macao Kaifong Cantonese Opera Juvenile’s Troupe presents Hanjiang Gate. Additionally, the “Melodious Music” category includes the concerts Henning Kraggerud and the Macao Orchestra by Liu Jia and Fado Concert by the Macao Chinese Orchestra, while the “Exhibitions” category features the exhibition “Marc Chagall – Light and Colour in Southern France” at the Macao Museum of Art, enriching the public’s artistic lives.
Tickets for the 29th MAF are available at the Macau Ticketing Network from 10am on 11 March (Sunday). Reservations can be made by phone or online from 12pm onwards on the same day. On the first day of ticket sales, each person can purchase a maximum of ten tickets per performance, except for the performances Parasomnia, a maximum of four tickets per person, and Sponge, a maximum of two Children Packages and two Observer Tickets per person. Early bird discounts of 30%, subject to certain criteria, are available from 11 to 18 March and a 20% discount will be offered from 19 March onwards. Members of the public who purchase their tickets with BOC Credit Card or BOC card will receive a 30% discount on tickets for the opening and closing performances, Das Kapital and 13 Tongues, as well as a 20% discount on all other shows. A 20% discount on tickets for all shows is also available for purchases with MasterCard, Visa Card or UnionPay Card from ICBC (Macau), BCM Bank, OCBC Wing Hang Bank or Tai Fung Bank. A 50% discount will also be offered to holders of Macao Senior Citizen Card or Disability Assessment Registration Card, limited to one ticket per person. For each purchase over MOP800 (net price after discount), purchasers may receive one discount vouchers to enjoy exclusive offers at selected shops at MGM (available while stocks last). Air Macau customers can enjoy a 20% discount on ticket purchases at all ticketing outlets by presenting their respective boarding pass (flight code NX) within 7 days upon their arrival in Macao.
This edition of the MAF counts with the support of the Macao Government Tourism Office, TDM – Teledifusão de Macau, Air Macau and MGM Macau. Macao Arts Festival website: www.icm.gov.mo/fam
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. For enquiries regarding the programme, please contact the Cultural Affairs Bureau through tel. 8399 6699 during office hours. 24-hour ticket reservation hotline: (Macao) 2855 5555; (Hong Kong) 2380 5083; (Mainland China) 139 269 11111; online ticket reservation is available at www.macauticket.com
The press conference of the 29th Macao Arts Festival was held on 6 March, at 3:30pm, at The Vista, at MGM Macau. The press conference was attended by the President of the Cultural Affairs Bureau, Mok Ian Ian; the Acting Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office of the Macao S.A.R. Government, Cheng Wai Tong; the Vice President of the Cultural Affairs Bureau, Kent Ieong Chi Kin; the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of MGM China Holdings Limited, Grant Bowie; the Deputy General Manager of the Bank of China (Macau Branch), Chan Hio Peng; the General Manager of Public Relations Division of Air Macau Company Limited, Zhao Hong; and the Acting Manager of Communications & Multimedia Department of Teledifusão de Macau S.A., Cheong Sio Fun.
Photo credit: Herman Sorgeloos