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This was where we were performing, Tuen Mun in the north west New Territories. “Welcome to the real Hong Kong” we were told when we arrived.

Hong Kong

the shows

In which we get

to perform to

.003889%

of the people

in Hong Kong.

Talking of arriving - this is how we got there every day.

Mr. Chan would pick both of us up at the hotel in his 24 seater bus and take us back every night.

This regularly baffled the other guests at the hotel as they queued for their tour coaches

The venue was Tuen Mun Town Hall which is unlike any Town Hall we have ever visited. It is a large cultural complex managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.


You can check out the website here:-


http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/ce/CulturalService/Tuenmun/


A quite extraordinary facility.

It turned out our participation was something in the way of an experiment.


It was part of a determined effort to take theatre into communities who do not usually have the opportunity to experience it.


Always happy to be in the vanguard on that one.

Naturally our 3D model of how we would use the space went straight out of the window once we actually saw it. We pushed the tent to one side, used screens to block off the rest of the Exhibition Hall and gathered the audience around and closer to it.


You have to love how this thing just fits in almost anywhere.

As a consequence we had a larger than usual “backstage” area to play with.

To illustrate how well we were taken care of:-

Day 1. I had a bit of a snuffle,

someone noticed, because...

Day 2. Five boxes of paper tissues appeared.

So, who was looking after us?

Edward

Ball

&

Edward was our main technical support but did way more than that: coordinating with freight people, the Town Hall staff, prepping the audiences, translating...etc.


Ball, with very little English,  followed, watched and copied us. For example: at the end of day 1 Jen swept the floorcloth - next day Ball was there with a vacuum cleaner after every show.


They were a great double act.

The only real problem we had

occurred on Day 1 of the performances:

How to manage the audience before they entered the Exhibition Hall.


For the first couple of shows it was a bit raggedy, a bit messy but by the end of the day someone had devised this system.


Think - Airport departure area.


Think - Waiting at the Gate.


For boarding passes - Think tickets.


We don’t know who came up with the idea but it was organisational genius.

And the shows?

We loved them.

We particularly enjoyed the post show bit : showing people how things worked.

We did have a sneaky peek at some of the questionnaires people filled in after the shows but as every one we saw was in Cantonese there was little joy there.

There was an extra opportunity to gauge reactions following each performance and it came as a great surprise to us.


It is a tradition for each child to have their photograph taken with the performers, and in our case, with their favourite puppet.


People who know us will understand that Jen took to this like a duck to water.


I had my doubts but to be honest the children were so sweet, the parents so keen that even I was won over to the idea.

With child and puppet.





With puppet, child and parent.

With lots of children.

With everyone.

It was a hoot.

And it didn’t stop there.

Between shows we visited the park opposite the Town Hall.

Like the parks we saw in mainland China it was popular and beautifully maintained.

The terrapins racing for berries was our favourite sport.

After our 20 performances Edward and Ball supervised the loading of our crates and I’m happy to report they got back safe and sound.

And as usual, before you know it - it’s time to pack up.