Following on from our artists profiles series, we meet a trio of creatives who are involved in bringing music, theatre, dance and other projects to the stage. Here, we chat with Candice Moore about her role as founder and director of Sweet and Sour Productions and what she loves about Hong Kong.
Tell us a bit about your background; where are you from, where did you grow up, and is Hong Kong “home” for you?
I’m from Edinburgh, Scotland. I grew up there and in London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.
I first visited Hong Kong with my parents in 1983 and we fell in love with it, moving here (for the first time) in 1987. I went to school here, built my company and career here, own property here, met my wife here and have great friends and colleagues here. It’s definitely home. And so is Bonnie Scotland, of course!
What do you do here?
I’m a theatre director, actor, writer, producer and voice-over artist. I founded Sweet and Sour Productions in 2010 and produce professional English-language theatre in Hong Kong.
Tell us about your upcoming show.
I adapted A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens as it’s a beautiful, cautionary tale about greed and redemption and is peppered with larger-than-life characters. This will be the third time I have staged it, with previous productions in 2018 and 2019. I also act in the show so it’s a truly collaborative creative process!
I remain faithful to the structure of the novella while adding my own spin and sense of humour to the characters – with some modern cultural references thrown in for fun and good measure. I update and develop the script each time I do it.
It also includes a Scottish element, which is fitting as the original inspiration for Ebenezer Scrooge came from Edinburgh – albeit by error! Dickens was taking an evening stroll in Edinburgh in 1841, when he explored the Canongate Kirkyard and noticed the gravestone of an Ebenezer Scroggie; the text described him as a “meal man” or corn dealer. In the twilight, Dickens misread this as “mean man” and noted it in his diary. Thus, the character Ebenezer Scrooge was born and the real-life Scroggie became forever bestowed with an unfortunate reputation!
What does your role as Director entail?
Directing the piece is a creatively collaborative process between myself, the actors and the creative team. We work on character development through improvisation and role-play. The actors are free and supported to explore and play with their characters and the situations they are in. I encourage them to push themselves and the boundaries of the script so we can find the most appropriate and authentic interpretation.
What’s your own background in theatre?
I have a BA in Dramatic Studies from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and an MA in Theatre Directing with Merit from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. I’ve also taken short courses in Drama and Directing at LAMDA and RADA.
Give us an insight into a typical day for you.
As I’m a freelancer, no day is ever the same – which is great! I tend to go to bed late and wake up around 9am. I head to the studio for any voice-over jobs, which takes me all over Hong Kong as there are recording studios and production houses everywhere. I love working with clients on diverse projects for film, TV, radio, animation, education, documentaries – the list goes on! This also gives me the opportunity to explore different parts of Hong Kong.
When I’m working on a theatre project, rehearsals take up a lot of the day. I always find time in the day to exercise and write. Now that performing spaces are opening up again, it feels like we are slowly getting back to normal, albeit a new normal.
What neighbourhood do you currently live in, and why did you choose it?
I live in Star Street, Wan Chai. I love living here as it’s in the city with great restaurants, shopping and transport on my doorstep. It’s so convenient! It’s also quiet. Outside of work, what are your hobbies in Hong Kong? Going to the cinema (I’ll see anything), working out and eating out!
Quick questions about HK: what is your favourite …
Casual restaurant? Grappa’s QRE – love it! We’ve been going ever since it opened in its former location in Pacific Place.
Date night restaurant? La Vache for a tasty steak.
Bar? The Captain’s Bar in The Mandarin; nice and plush, though it’s mocktails for me.
Local food? Dim Sum Library and Crystal Jade – can’t get enough of those juicy dumplings!
Thing to do with visitors? Recommend a good quarantine hotel.
Thing to do with kids? Hand them back to their parents – after they’ve seen A Christmas Carol, of course!
Nearby holiday destination? Phuket – my parents own a place there. Macau is also a great getaway destination (you know, back when we could travel!).
This article first appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.