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Your guide to Hong Kong’s cultural institutions

Hong Kong has a thriving cultural scene. Bookworms will revel in the excellent public libraries and the many services they offer – including free wifi! Performing arts fans will enjoy the varied programs offered in the realms of theatre, dance and music. And the city’s visual arts scene provides something for everyone from the works of emerging artists in the many small galleries in the city, to the marquee arts shows such as the Asian edition of Art Basel.

The Hong Kong Ballet has an impressive calendar of cultural events
The Hong Kong Ballet has an impressive calendar of cultural events

Libraries

Hong Kong’s public libraries are excellent and many offer not just books but playrooms, workstations, talks and activities. With over 60 libraries across HK, as well as mobile libraries and an online database, e-books and a digital collection, the library services here are world-class. Applying for a library card is free, and can be done online or in person at any branch. hkpl.gov.hk

Performing Arts

Hong Kong has a rich theatre scene – from ballets and musical theatre to concerts and festivals. Here’s a selection of some of the key performing arts companies and festivals in the city’s cultural scene.

Lunchbox Theatrical Productions – this global theatre company brings powerhouse international productions to Hong Kong. lunchbox-productions.com

Kidsfest – A five-week festival of theatre for young people, each performance brings to life well-loved books and classic tales – a family favourite. kidsfest.com.hk

ABA Productions – Aside from Kidsfest, ABA Productions brings a selection of quality theatre for adults and children year-round. aba-productions.com

Hong Kong Ballet – The respected Hong Kong Ballet puts on some wonderful performances throughout the year, finishing with the classic tale of The Nutcracker at Christmas. hkballet.com

Hong Kong Phil – The Hong Kong Philharmonic offers a varied and interesting program of concerts for all ages throughout the year. hkphil.org

Le French May – Each year, May is devoted to all things French during the annual Le French May festival. Featuring everything from opera to art to circus acts, international performers bring their talents to the city for one amazing month. frenchmay.com

The Fringe Club – One of HK’s smaller venues, but also one of its coolest, The Fringe Club hosts everything from theatre to live music to comedy, and a number of travelling international acts pop in throughout the year. hkfringeclub.com

For more information on shows and festivals, and to buy tickets, visit hkticketing.com, urbtix.hk and ticketflap.com.

Head on down to Art Central

Visual arts

For such a small city, Hong Kong has an incredible number of privately owned art galleries. You only need to take a walk along Hollywood Road or pop into the Pedder Building to get a taste. Each year, the city also hosts Art Week, when galleries and exhibitors from all over the world set up in a number of venues around town, showcasing the work of emerging and well-known artists. It’s a collector’s paradise. Art Central, Art Basel and the Asia Contemporary Art Show are all held in the same week in March, while the Affordable Art Fair comes to town in May.

This article appeared in Expat Living’s annual CityGuide. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!

Looking for more cultural things to do? Check out 10 of the best museums in Hong Kong

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