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Hong Kong residents have access to a wide range of sports, recreational and cultural facilities. Many of these are built and managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD). The main objective of the department is to enrich the community’s quality of life through the promotion and provision of recreational and cultural facilities and activities.
Leisure Services: The LCSD provides facilities to foster public participation in recreation and sports activities and organises a wide range of programmes. It also beautifies the environment through planting of trees and other plants in public parks and amenity areas.
Recreational and Sports Venues: There are a great number of facilities to provide leisure services, including 25 sports grounds, 45 swimming pool complexes, 42 gazetted bathing beaches, 105 sports centres, 83 turf pitches, 235 hard-surfaced mini-soccer pitches, 538 basketball courts, 250 tennis courts, 291 squash courts and 676 leisure venues providing children's playgrounds. Other facilities such as hockey pitches, horse riding schools and golf driving ranges are also provided. The LCSD also manages five water sports centres (Stanley Main Beach, St Stephen’s Beach, Chong Hing, The Jockey Club Wong Shek and Tai Mei Tuk) and four holiday camps (Lei Yue Mun Park, Lady MacLehose Holiday Village, Sai Kung and Tso Kung Tam Outdoor Recreation Centres). The four holiday camps were converted into quarantine facilities since January 2020 in support of the Government’s work to combat COVID-19. In view of relaxation of social distancing measures and stabilisation of COVID-19, the four camps were gradually reopened for public use from end of May 2022. The 12 500-seat Hong Kong Coliseum and the 3 500-seat Queen Elizabeth Stadium are the focal points for important indoor sporting events while the 40 000-seat Hong Kong Stadium is a major venue for staging large-scale sporting and spectator events.
Recreation and Sports Activities: The LCSD organises and promotes various leisure activities for people of all ages. In 2022-23, the department organised some 19 800 recreation and sports activities for 980 000 participants of all ages and abilities.
To encourage the public to improve their health through participating in physical activities and sports, the LCSD and the Department of Health jointly organised the Healthy Exercise for All Campaign. Due to the impact of COVID-19, only 268 out of about 1 000 planned programmes could actually be organised in 2022-23. These attracted around 24 200 participants in total. Those programmes included Dance Night under Dance for Health, QualiWalk, Hiking Scheme, Rope Skipping Activities, Fitness Training Courses for Children and Outreach Fitness Programmes for Persons with Disabilities and the Elderly. Besides, the LCSD produced some health education and physical exercise-related materials in the form of leaflets, booklets, and a series of Hiking Scheme and exercise demonstration videos, which were also uploaded onto a dedicated webpage in the LCSD website, so as to encourage a healthy lifestyle through regular participation in physical activities and sports.
To intensify the promotion of Sport for All in the community and to support the National Fitness Day, the LCSD organised the Sport For All Day in August 2022. With electronic virtual sports as the focal sport, various related sports participation sessions were offered for the public. A series of free sports and recreation programmes were also offered at designated LCSD venues across the 18 districts, while most of the LCSD leisure facilities were open for free use by the public to enhance public interest in sporting activities and encourage the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle through regular participation in sporting and physical exercises. Sports demonstrations were webcasted through the dedicated webpage and online platforms on that day, with a view to encouraging members of the public to exercise at home.
The Sports Subvention Scheme provides financial assistance to National Sports Associations (NSAs) and Sports Organisations (SOs) for organising sports programmes and training athletes. In 2022-23, the scheme provided subventions for NSAs and SOs to organise some 9 600 sports promotion events for about 774 730 participants. The scheme includes the Young Athletes Training Scheme to identify talented young players and District Sports Teams Training Scheme for enhancing a stronger sense of belonging among residents.
The School Sports Programme and the Community Sports Club Project, launched by the department, have been further promoting sports and cultivating a new sport culture in Hong Kong. The aim of the two programmes is to provide more opportunities for students and members of the public to participate in sports. Due to the impact of COVID-19, only 5 455 out of 7 200 planned School Sports Programmes were organised with 345 234 students participating in 2022-23. Subsidies were granted for community sports clubs to organise about 2 710 sports development programmes for some 56 590 participants.
Hong Kong Games (HKG): With a view to further promoting Sport for All in the community, the LCSD collaborated with the Sports Commission and its Community Sports Committee, 18 District Councils, the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China and the relevant NSAs to hold the HKG biennially from 2007 onwards. The 8th HKG, originally scheduled to be held from 2020 to 2021 and then postponed for a year to 2021 and 2022, finally had to be cancelled in April 2022 due to COVID-19.
Horticulture and Landscape Services: The LCSD is responsible for improving the environment with landscape planting, beautification schemes and tree preservation. It manages 1 684 parks and gardens of various sizes, including 26 major parks throughout Hong Kong.
Since 2000, the LCSD has been holding the annual Hong Kong Flower Show at Victoria Park. The show is a highlight in the local horticultural calendar. It provides a good opportunity for hundreds of thousands of local citizens and plant lovers from all over the world to appreciate the beauty of flowers and share their experiences in horticulture. Featuring gorgeous landscape displays and beautiful floral arrangements, the show also offers a rich diversity of fringe activities for the enjoyment of visitors of all ages including music and cultural performances, floral art demonstrations, guided tours, horticultural talks, drawing and photo competitions, green activities workshops and fun games. After resorting to alternative modes like online exhibition and garden plots display in 18 districts because of COVID-19, the show was held at Victoria Park again in March 2023 and drew over 700 000 local and overseas visitors.
To enhance public awareness about greening the environment, a series of interesting and educational green activities such as Green Volunteer Scheme, Greening School Subsidy Scheme, ‘One Person, One Flower’ Scheme, Community Garden Programme, Community Planting Day, Horticulture Education Exhibition, horticultural courses and seminars are also organised for public participation every year.
Cultural Services: The LCSD provides a wide range of performance facilities, cultural and entertainment programmes to promote the development and appreciation of performing and visual arts. Apart from managing 16 performance venues, the department also stages presentations of various art forms as well as international festivals and arts education activities. It offers concessionary discounts to full-time students, senior citizens and people with disabilities.
Major Performance Venues:
Hong Kong Cultural Centre: Opened in 1989, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre has since been a major performing arts venue attracting overseas leading artists and local major performing companies, and a prime performance venue for large-scale arts festivals. It houses a 1 971-seat Concert Hall, a 1 734-seat Grand Theatre and a 303-496 seat Studio Theatre.
Hong Kong City Hall: Established in 1962, the Hong Kong City Hall is the first multi-purpose cultural complex built to enhance the quality of life in the Hong Kong community. With its simple design and emphasis on function, Hong Kong City Hall is an outstanding example of modernist architecture and one of Hong Kong’s landmarks. The complex was declared a monument in May 2022. Hong Kong City Hall plays a vital role in popularising the arts and promoting Eastern and Western cultures. Its facilities include a 1 430-seat Concert Hall, a 463-seat Theatre, a Recital Hall, an Exhibition Hall and an Exhibition Gallery.
Yau Ma Tei Theatre: The Theatre was constructed in 1930 and is a Grade 2 historic building. The Theatre and the adjacent Red Brick Building (Grade 1 historic building) have been revitalised as a performance base dedicated to Chinese opera performances and activities, and as a training and performance venue for budding Cantonese opera talents. It was reopened in 2012 to house a 300-seat Theatre. The venue has been closed from September 2022 onwards for around 3 years for the construction of Yau Ma Tei Theatre Phase 2.
Hong Kong Coliseum and Queen Elizabeth Stadium: Opened in 1980 and 1983 respectively, the 3 500-seat Queen Elizabeth Stadium and the 12 500-seat Hong Kong Coliseum are two well-equipped multi-purpose indoor stadia most suitable for large-scale sports, cultural and entertainment programmes. The Coliseum in particular is a leading venue for major international sports events, cultural and entertainment spectaculars such as pop concerts.
Other Venues: Other performance venues in the territory including Sha Tin Town Hall, Tsuen Wan Town Hall, Tuen Mun Town Hall, Kwai Tsing Theatre, Yuen Long Theatre, Sheung Wan Civic Centre, Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre, Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre, Ko Shan Theatre and New Wing, North District Town Hall and Tai Po Civic Centre are the foci for cultural activities in the community level.
Cultural Festivals and Performances: Cultural life of Hong Kong is enriched by the year-round cultural and entertainment programmes organised by the LCSD. The LCSD strives to present world-class programmes by top-notch overseas artists to broaden the horizons of audience and arts practitioners as well as promoting Hong Kong as an international cultural metropolis. Due to continual impact of the pandemic at the beginning of 2022-23, arranging visiting arts groups to perform in Hong Kong was infeasible. To allow the public to enjoy programmes by overseas artists, the LCSD orgranised screening of selected programmes in the theatre, including the concert screening by London Philharmonic Orchestra which was one of the programmes commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Hong Kong City Hall, and the ‘Dance On Screen’ Series. As the epidemic situation had gradually subsided in the second half of the year, the LCSD held a number of visiting programmes successfully, including Concerts by Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Piano Recital by Igor Levit, Techno Circus by SIRO-A, ‘Tan Dun - Sound of Dunhuang’ Concert and Tan Dun’s ‘Sound Vision in Chi Lin Nunnery’. Furthermore, to support the development of local arts and arts practitioners, the LCSD organised different types of branded programme series including ‘Encore’, ‘City Hall Virtuosi’, ‘Our Music Talents’, ‘Jazz Up’, ‘New Force in Motion’, ‘Dance On’, ‘Solo Play’ and ‘Cheers!’ that received positive feedback from professionals and the general audience alike. The LCSD produced over 109 episodes of online programmes under the ‘Click for Arts’, in order to broaden the public’s knowledge of the arts. The series covered an array of programmes ranging from performances to arts appreciation.
The annual Chinese Opera Festival originally scheduled for June to August was cancelled in view of the pandemic situation, while the annual Cantonese Opera Day was held at indoor venues in November, enjoyed by more than 5 000 people. Meanwhile, the annual International Arts Carnival (IAC) held in July and August provided children and their families with fun-filled cultural programmes and interactive activities during summer, and the annual New Vision Arts Festival (NVAF) held in October and November introduced to Hong Kong audiences pioneering, trendsetting and groundbreaking performing arts programmes from around the world. In 2022-23, the IAC and NVAF featured live performances, online programmes, as well as extension activities such as exhibitions and workshops by local and overseas artists, with 130 live performances attracting around 192 000 participants, and 23 episodes of online programmes drawing over 640 000 views. For celebrating major traditional festivals, Mid-Autumn and Lunar New Year Lantern Displays were organised which had attracted more than 713 000 participants. To mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR, a special programme titled ‘International Ethnic Cultural Performances’ was organised attracting more than 22 000 participants.
On top of these cultural and entertainment events, audience building and arts education activities were also presented together with local arts groups and educational and district organisations to promote art appreciation in the community and schools. A total of 1 109 arts education and audience building activities were organised, attracting more than 174 000 participants. To further promote arts development and enhance artistic ambience in the community, the LCSD had extended the Community Arts Scheme to all 18 districts since 2021-22. In 2022-23, activities organised under this scheme had attracted more than 67 000 participants and viewership of over 98 000, with 688 activities and 114 online programmes presented. On cultural exchange, to enable audience in the Greater Bay Area and the Mainland to continue enjoying local productions, the LCSD presented the ‘Hong Kong Week@Wuhan, Hubei’ during February to March 2023 in a hybrid of physical and online events. The festival showcased 8 programmes with a total of 22 activities including in-venue screenings of performing arts programmes, exhibitions and audience building activities, attracting a total attendance of more than 45 000 for offline events and viewership of over 95 000 for online events. The LCSD also collaborated with its venue partners in the Greater Bay Area to present 14 online programmes / in-venue performances / activities that attracted over 669 000 viewership / attendances.
The Hong Kong Arts Festival Society presented the 51st Hong Kong Arts Festival in 2023 in a hybrid of physical and online programmes.
Music Office: Established in 1977, the Music Office, promotes knowledge and appreciation of music in the community, especially among young people, through the provision of instrumental and ensemble training and the organisation of diverse music activities with a view to building a new generation of concert audiences. In 2022-23, it provided music training to more than 7 100 trainees and organised over 370 activities attracting more than 146 000 participants.
URBTIX: Since its inception in 1984, URBTIX (Urban Ticketing System) has become one of the most widely-used ticketing systems in Hong Kong offering convenient and reliable ticketing services for the public through its wide network of 18 outlets, self-service ticketing kiosks and via internet, mobile app and telephone booking services. In 2022-23, $1,061 million was processed through URBTIX for around 2.8 million tickets for some 5 600 performances.
Other Performance Venues and Performing Companies in Hong Kong:
Hong Kong Arts Centre (HKAC), established in 1977, is a non-profit organisation operating under a self-financing model, devoting itself to the development of contemporary arts and cultures for years. HKAC’s main building in Wan Chai is equipped with facilities including theatres, a cinema, galleries, classrooms, studios and restaurants, providing a wide range of programmes featuring performing arts, visual arts, film and video arts every month while planning public art projects, conferences and more. Hong Kong Art School (HKAS) under HKAC is an accredited institute established in 2000. The award-bearing curriculum offered by HKAS focuses mainly on the area of fine art (ceramics, painting, photography and sculpture), with academic levels ranging from Higher Diploma to Bachelor Degree and Master Degree.
The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, established in 1984, offers professional education, training and research facilities in the performing arts: music, dance, drama, theatre and entertainment arts, film and television, and Chinese opera. Its education philosophy reflects Hong Kong’s cultural diversity underscored by Chinese and Western traditions, and an emphasis on interdisciplinary learning.
In 2022-23, the academy enrolled 894 students for undergraduate and post-secondary programmes in its six performing arts disciplines, and attracted 166 students to pursue master’s degree programmes in dance, music, drama, film and television, and theatre and entertainment arts. It admitted more than 740 students to its junior programmes and around 2 000 students to its Extension and Continuing Education for Life programme.
Major Performing Arts Companies:
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, became fully professional in 1974, is the first and largest professional symphony orchestra in Hong Kong that presents a broad-based repertoire, including classical music and contemporary works.
The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, founded in 1977, is the only professional Chinese orchestra in Hong Kong that presents symphonic music based on traditional folk repertoire and full-scale contemporary compositions.
Hong Kong Sinfonietta, founded in 1999, is a professional orchestra which presents a broad-based repertoire (including standard classical music, contemporary works, original crossover productions) and provides accompaniment to ballet and opera performances.
The Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, established in 1977, is a professional theatre company that produces a diverse repertoire of Chinese and overseas classics, and develops quality local works.
Chung Ying Theatre Company, founded in 1979, is a professional theatre company dedicated to creating high quality theatrical productions and promoting theatrical arts education through diversified activities.
Zuni Icosahedron, founded in 1982, is a multimedia experimental theatre company that makes creative attempts in the various aspects of theatre, and participates in arts education, arts criticism and international cultural exchanges.
The Hong Kong Dance Company, founded in 1981, is a professional Chinese dance company which aims to promote Chinese dance and dance drama in a unique Hong Kong style.
Hong Kong Ballet, founded in 1978, is a professional dance company which presents a broad-based repertoire, including classical ballets, contemporary works and original productions.
City Contemporary Dance Company, founded in 1979, is a professional modern dance company that nurtures talents in the contemporary dance field. It also actively stages performances overseas.
Heritage and Museums: The LCSD endeavours to provide and develop museums and related services to build up historic, art and science collections, preserve local cultural heritage and promote public appreciation for it.
The LCSD manages two art museums – Hong Kong Museum of Art and Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware; two science and technology museums – Hong Kong Science Museum and Hong Kong Space Museum; nine history and folk museums – Hong Kong Museum of History, Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence, Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum, Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum, Law Uk Folk Museum, Sheung Yiu Folk Museum, Sam Tung Uk Museum, Hong Kong Railway Museum and Fireboat Alexander Grantham Exhibition Gallery; a cross-disciplinary museum – Hong Kong Heritage Museum; Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre and Oi! art space of the Art Promotion Office; and Hong Kong Film Archive.
The Hong Kong Museum of Art plays an important role in bringing to Hong Kong a multicultural vision of world art and culture through exhibition programmes with an international perspective. The Hong Kong Science Museum, with its predominantly interactive exhibits, illustrates various scientific principles and the ways technology is used to improve the quality of life. The Hong Kong Space Museum serves to popularise astronomy and space science. The Hong Kong Heritage Museum features a variety of specially designed exhibition possibilities to cover different aspects of history, arts and culture. The Hong Kong Museum of History collects, conserves, processes, studies and displays cultural objects which are closely related to the history and ethnography of Hong Kong and the South China area. The Hong Kong Film Archive’s major functions are to acquire, preserve, catalogue and document Hong Kong films and related materials. The Art Promotion Office is responsible for the promotion of public and community art in Hong Kong. The Intangible Cultural Heritage Office is responsible for the safeguarding, research and promotion of the intangible cultural heritage of Hong Kong.
The LCSD museums organise large-scale thematic exhibitions every year as well as year-round extension activities to raise interest and popularise museum services. Major exhibitions organised in 2022-23 included The Road to the Baroque – Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum, Dunhuang: Enchanting Tales for Millennium, Women and Femininity in Ancient China – Treasures from the Nanjing Museum, Big Eight – Dinosaur Revelation and Science in Art. The total attendance of museums in 2022-23 was about 4.37 million. As at March 2023, the LCSD museums have acquired about 1 637 000 items of collection in which about 318 000 items are historic, art and science objects and about 1 319 000 items are film and film-related materials.
Public Libraries: With its 71 static libraries and 12 mobile libraries, LCSD provides an accessible and efficient service to users in catering for community’s needs for knowledge, information, research, life-long learning, continuous education and profitable use of leisure time, and promotes reading and literary arts actively. It also manages the Books Registration Office which helps preserve Hong Kong’s literary heritage through the registration of local publications. The library system has a comprehensive collection of library materials which include over 13.63 million items of books and 1.74 million items of multimedia publications. It had over 4.83 million registered borrowers, who borrowed more than 28.28 million items of books and other library materials during 2022-23. The Hong Kong Public Libraries continued to enrich library e-resources and to put efforts in promoting e-reading, and provided access to over 508 000 e-books for public use via the internet in 2022-23. An array of activities for people of all ages are organised in and outside of library venues across the territory and via the online platforms in promotion of culture, reading and knowledge dissemination. In 2022-23, more than 19 000 extension activities programmes and 166 online programmes were held. Hong Kong Central Library is the largest purpose-built public library in Hong Kong. Apart from being the hub of the public library network as well as the major information centre of Hong Kong, it also organises a diversity of cultural programmes for the general public.