Two Stamp Sheelets on the theme of “West Kowloon Cultural District – Xiqu Centre”, with associated philatelic products, will be released for sale on 19 March 2019 (Tuesday).
The mission of the Xiqu Centre is to preserve, promote and develop the art of Chinese traditional theatre, to nurture the local form of Cantonese opera and to promote other forms of xiqu. The opening of the centre marks the inauguration of the first landmark venue for performing arts in the West Kowloon Cultural District and a new era in the district’s development. Hongkong Post issues a stamp sheetlet to commemorate this momentous occasion.
Xiqu is an art form that showcases the traditions of Chinese aesthetics and embodies the rich heritage of Chinese arts. Varied vernacular languages and local customs have given birth to different genres of Chinese traditional theatre. More than 300 regional genres are still practised today and Cantonese opera was inscribed onto the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2009. The Xiqu Centre serves as a platform for the preservation and promotion of xiqu and its opening this year has underscored the importance of the art of xiqu in the local community and the international arena.
The design of the Xiqu Centre is inspired by traditional Chinese lanterns, and the concept of blending traditional and contemporary elements is adopted to create a new and comtemporary image for the art form. The spacious and open atrium is constructed with a large round podium in the centre, presenting visitors with an urban stage suitable for different types of cultural activities and festive celebrations. The centre houses a Grand Theatre, a Tea House Theatre, eight professional studios and a seminar hall. The design details, functions and ancillary facilities of each venue are the result of meticulous discussion with the xiqu community and cater for the practical requirements of different xiqu-related activities.
In the stamp sheetlet, the Xiqu Centre is set in the middle with its different venues placed at the bottom. A huadan (the lead female role in Chinese opera) is depicted on the left to represent the mission of the centre, which is to nurture a new generation of local artists and show their talents to the world. The sheetlet is also graced with the Chinese character ‘xi’ from the calligraphic inscription created for the Xiqu Centre by the late Professor Jao Tsung-i as a token of his best wishes.