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 AMY PERCIVAL about what brought her to Hong Kong, her career and her role as director in the Hong Kong Players’ upcoming Christmas panto.
Where are you from and what brought you to Asia and Hong Kong?
I’m originally from the UK – I grew up in South West London in the Twickenham and Richmond area. I’ve lived in Asia since 2014 and have been in Hong Kong since 2017.
I went to drama school in London and upon graduation worked as a professional actor in theatre and voice-over. I’m very humbled to say that I’ve performed in Abu Dhabi and in national UK tours; I then became a qualified teacher in the UK, and this is my current career – I’m currently Head of Arts and a Drama Specialist at an international school in Hong Kong.
Having lived in HK for five years, it feels like home. I have friends and a community here who have become family and such a staple part of my life, and I will always be very grateful for what the place and the people here have brought to my life.
For readers who mightn’t be familiar with the Hong Kong Players, give us a bit of background to the company and its performances and activity.
The Hong Kong Players are a community theatre company who produce and create plays for the English-speaking community in Hong Kong. The committee are all volunteers who want to bring theatre to life, so we are always looking for people to collaborate with. We have a long history here in Hong Kong and that is something that I’m proud and humbled to be a part of.
Apart from creating theatre, we also provide live play readings, acting workshops and community theatre events such as theatre pub quizzes.
And tell us a bit about your upcoming panto, Jack and the Beanstalk.
This is a very exciting panto because it’s the Hong Kong Players’ 60th pantomime – and our first return to the stage since the start of the pandemic. So you can anticipate the traditional elements of panto but with an added flair of excitement! You can also expect lots of singing and dancing with the characters that you know and love, and, of course, lots of audience participation.
What does your role as director of panto entail?
Being the director requires a lot of energy, artistic vision and audience perspective. You also need to understand and keep within the traditions of panto. Then there is having an understanding of choreography and singing, and being organised with all of these elements. This may sound tiring, however, being a part of this tradition and bringing theatre to Hong Kong and working with the amazing production team, committee and cast members has been such a fantastic experience. I don’t want it to end!
What’s your own background in music and theatre?
I’ve acted professionally in theatre in the UK and in national tours, and in Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Hong Kong in classical and contemporary theatre. Give us an insight into a typical day for you. We rehearse three times a week. Prior to rehearsal, the choreographer, musical director, assistant director and myself will discuss what needs to be covered and then we will take it in turns to meet the needs to the performance and rehearsal schedule. Our dedicated actors have been amazing in rehearsals and are always prepared and eager to perform to the best of their ability.
What neighbourhood do you currently live in, and why did you choose it?
I live in Mong Kok. I chose this neighbourhood because I love the location as it’s easy to get around Hong Kong and it’s also very close to the school that I work at.
What are three things you like most about your neighbourhood?
The ease of transport, the convenience and the bustle of the city!
What do you like to do in your spare time in Hong Kong?
My main hobby outside of work is taking circus classes. I do pole, hoop and silk classes – they’re amazing!
This article first appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.