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[中][ENG]專題訪問:香港表演藝術製作的永續發展現況與展望

文:葉懿雯


早於2015年,聯合國發佈17項「永續發展目標」,應對全球面臨的挑戰。近年,國際表演藝術業界日益關注永續議題,例如英國業界於2021年提出《劇場綠皮書》,2022年全球14間機構組成「STAGES永續劇場聯盟」,推動永續製作。而在香港,垃圾徵費政策如箭在弦,環保實踐成為社會各界必須面對的事情。本文分別邀請香港藝術發展局(藝發局)舞蹈小組主席童小紅、舞台設計師徐碩朋,以及長春社教育經理鄧俊賢、品牌及發展經理凌慧芬,分享對於香港表演藝術界在永續製作發展方面的觀察和展望。


製作生態限制發展


現時香港表演藝術界的環保關注,集中於演出題材的探索。藝發局舞蹈小組主席童小紅舉例,香港專業舞團、學界舞蹈比賽等,都有以環保或氣候變化為題材的作品。


而在演出製作上,舞台設計師徐碩朋坦言,環保相關的發展比較緩慢,認為這是本地製作生態衍生的問題。本地劇院大多沒有附設製作和儲存佈景的空間,業界只能依賴佈景製作公司,那些公司無法負擔香港的地租、薪金等營運成本,多在深圳設廠,在運輸和溝通上耗費大量資源。這個問題在近二十年愈見嚴重。內地城鎮發展迅速,大約每隔十年,製景廠便會收到政府通知,要求搬至深圳的郊區,因為工廠附近已建有大型商場,地價貴了,區內不再適合設廠,不可再排污。製景廠愈搬愈遠,運輸成本愈高,創作團隊也愈難「睇景」、與製景廠溝通。相比之下,他曾經為廣州話劇團設計佈景,製景工場就在舞台後方,並設有儲存佈景的空間,當時他帶上設計圖,從中挑選合適的佈景重用,而劇團的製景師傅非常熟悉場地,節省了很多溝通和運輸時間。


青年學院的到校介紹和畢業作品發佈會 Visiting Youth College Arrival Presentation and Graduation Presentation(照片由長春社提供 Photo provided by The Conservancy Association)


此外,香港一般演出的演期短,重演機會少,額外租用空間儲存佈景不符合成本效益,佈景大多在演後便會丟棄。「有次遇到美國紐約來的聲樂家,聽到我說在演後便會丟棄新製的佈景,顯得非常驚訝。」他指出,歐美已經開始使用環保材料製作演出,想辦法重用物資,並有租借道具和佈景的公司,而在香港則只有租借傳統戲曲演出布幕的公司,沒有現代表演相關的租借公司。


他回想畢業那年,時任特首董建華到香港演藝學院參觀,「董生問當時是學生代表的我覺得政府可以在這個行業做些甚麼,我說我們很需要空間製作和儲存佈景,董生回答說將來會有一個『西九藝術文化區』,便可以解決這些問題。但事實並非如此,西九沒有製景廠,也沒有儲存佈景的地方。」


西九的空白反映了政策的空白。他指出,現時政府設計和興建劇院時,暫未有相關的環保條款,「例如選擇較大的空間,讓劇院有空間製作和儲存佈景,節省運輸時間,一年數百個演出,長遠計算其實可以大大減少碳排放。」他所屬的香港舞台技術及設計人員協會以往多次派人出席政府諮詢,參與討論改善劇院運作的議題,但提議大多不被採納。

即將推行的垃圾徵費可能是轉變的契機。「既然趨勢是要環保,要垃圾徵費的話,需要相關措施配合,才可全面落實執行。」他期待有熟悉劇場運作的人,能把相關環保條款引入劇院設計的考量,而政府也會提供政策誘因,鼓勵既有財力又有能力的人,營運佈景製作和出租的社企或空間,識別有價值的佈景,保存後再出租。


環保趨勢不容忽視

除了製作生態的限制,徐碩朋認為,永續製作發展緩慢的另一個原因是業界的環保意識不高,可能是佈景外判了,製景牽涉的環保問題也隨之而外判了,沒有理會。他在經常合作的藝團沒有聽過環保相關的討論,而在舞台設計上,環保相關的轉變也不多,只見常用來營造獨特舞台效果的鎢絲燈管,遭歐盟禁止銷售後,難以買到,燈光設計師只好改用LED。「我們是很被動地去『環保』,而沒有很主動去『環保』。」


他回想多年前在演藝學院學習舞台設計,當時「注重的是一種藝術創作」,講求佈景結構安全而美觀合用,「至於是否環保,演後可否重用,當年就沒有聽過。」但七年前,他到香港知專設計學院任教,發現學院內的其他設計課程比較注重永續議題,不論是時裝設計、建築設計等,「每個設計課程都有sustainability這一科」。當時學校問及佈景設計在永續方面的要求,他只能回答「香港真係冇乜喎」。現在他和同事在課程設計上都會參考其他設計課程,引入環保元素,例如請學生嘗試運用收集得來的物資製作mini performances,而暫時這些都是處於實驗狀態。


長春社品牌及發展經理凌慧芬也指出,大專院校的設計課程愈益重視環保。學校意識到永續設計已成國際潮流,為了確保課程與時並進,保持畢業生的競爭力,便積極把環保元素納入課程。長春社近年收到個別大專院校的邀請,詢問環保建議。例如約四、五年前開始,青年學院邀請長春社在每年開學時到校向學生介紹,怎樣在推廣及營運活動、製作畢業作品等方面符合環保準則,包括怎樣找到合適的物料和供應商等,然後在三、四月擔任學生畢業作品發佈會的評判,給予環保方面的意見。近來長春社也受邀到香港理工大學,為學生的產品設計作品提出環保意見。


她認為,其他設計行業面對的永續要求,表演藝術界也將會在尋求贊助時遇到。現時永續發展已成大型機構的社會責任,機構需要定期發佈ESG報告,因此贊助藝術創作時,必會檢視創作會否有損機構的環保得分,甚至引發公關問題,而如果創作既能探討環保議題,又能以環保方式製作,將較容易獲得贊助。「藝團便會更願意注重環保,我們環保團體便可以這個形式參與和拉近距離。 」


2017年 香港知專設計學院同學參與環保藝術裝置設計及製作 HKDI students participated in the design and production of eco-art installations(照片由徐碩朋提供 Photo provided by Allan Tsui)


跨界同行,逐步摸索

表演藝術界下一步可以具體做些甚麼?徐碩朋認為首先需要有業內的倡議機構提出理念,舉辦講座,介紹和研究世界各地永續製作的案例,「讓大家知道『哦,原來我哋落後㗎喎』,知道自己落後了,便會有目標前行。」認定目標後,更重要的是懂得實踐,但現時政府暫無關於表演藝術界的環保政策,因此業界需要自行探索實踐的方法。


長春社教育經理鄧俊賢記得,七、八年前曾經有小型的年輕業餘藝團主動向他查詢製作演出相關的環保建議,例如綵排期間的發泡膠飯盒問題,「我當時深受感動,他們有這個想法」。如果個別藝團想自發探索環保措施,他建議可從「減少廢物」和「節約能源」兩方面,思考怎樣可以逐步減低製作的碳排放。「減少廢物」方面,例如製作物料的選擇、重用與回收;「節約能源」方面,例如場內的能源使用、製作期間的交通安排。他提議從小處著手,逐步調整現時的做法,慢慢摸索出適合自己的模式。


至於整體業界,徐碩朋認為可以嘗試填補空白,制訂行業適用的環保指引,推動永續製作的發展。現時陸續有機構制訂不同活動的環保指引,例如香港知專設計學院內部有關於製作、展覽等活動的綠色指引,環保署於2017年推出《大型活動減廢指南》,長春社於2019年推出的《綠色活動指南》,為野外定向、嘉年華等活動提供參考。鄧俊賢指出,指引必須由業內人士帶動,邀請環保等相關專業參與討論,逐漸建立信任,共同探索,才能順利推行。身為環保工作者,他最怕的是單從環保角度框限他人,因為如果指引不實用,只會招來反效果。凌慧芬補充,「初期推行時,可以有一般指引,同時容許個別的諮詢」,這樣既能共同推動永續製作方式,也能照顧個別狀況,避免「一刀切」的環保要求,限制了本應百花齊放的藝術創作。她表示,明白佈景製作需要符合安全要求,現時某些慣用物料暫時未必能夠找到合適的環保替代品,現職師傅也需要適應新的做法,必須容讓業界逐一解決困難,慢慢過渡,不可操之過急。而當愈來愈多人願意逐步實踐時,有助凝聚業界共識,與政府討論相關措施和政策。


童小紅也有類似的想法,認為可以採用「走出去、請進來」的辦法,搭建平台,與工程、設計等不同界別進行交流討論,增進認知,豐富創作表現。她同意在推動「環境友善」的製作上,確實充滿挑戰,但相信「只要對社會、對公眾、對青少年能帶來正面信息,我們都要努力去做」。

到理工大學為學生的產品設計作品提出環保意見 Providing environmental feedback on product design works for students at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University(照片由長春社提供 Photo provided by The Conservancy Association)

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葉懿雯


喜歡眼睛閃閃發光的人,總好奇那些眼睛看到了甚麼。




Interviews: Sustainable development of performing arts production in Hong Kong: current status and future outlook


Text: Crystal Yip

Translator: Penny Zhou


In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals in response to the various existential challenges facing the world because of climate change. Recently, sustainability has become an increasingly discussed topic in the global performing arts industry. The grassroots initiative Theatre Green Book UK was introduced in 2021, followed by the establishment of STAGES (Sustainable Theatre Alliance for a Green Environmental Shift) in 2022 by 14 organisations around the world. In Hong Kong, where a waste-charging scheme will soon come into effect for the first time, green practices are something that all sectors must prepare themselves for. In this article, we talk to a number of local performing arts professionals including Council Member and Dance Group Chair of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC), Tung Siu-hung; stage designer Allan Tsui; the Conservancy Association’s Education Manager Terence Tang and Branding & Development Manager Lingli Ling, who shared their views and observations on the development of sustainable production in Hong Kong's performing arts sector.


2017年香港知專設計學院同學參與環保藝術裝置設計及製作 HKDI students participated in the design and production of eco-art installations.(照片由徐碩朋提供 Photo provided by Allan Tsui)


Production ecology hinders development

In Hong Kong, environmental concerns are still primarily addressed through the themes of productions, not the way productions themselves are managed. Tung Siu-hung of HKADC observed that the topics of environmental protection or climate change can easily be found in many works by professional dance companies and dance competitions.

However, in terms of the actual production itself, Allan Tsui admits that sustainable development has not been happening fast enough.  He attributes the root cause of this problem to the overall ecological system of Hong Kong’s performing arts sector.


Most local theatres lack the space to construct and store sets; as a result, the industry relies heavily on outside set production companies, who themselves cannot afford Hong Kong rents, salaries and other expenses and therefore mostly choose to run their operations from Shenzhen. This kind of set-up entails a lot of transportation and communication costs—a problem that has only become worse in the past two decades.


With cities big and small in Mainland China experiencing rapid growth, every decade or so set manufacturers receive government notices requesting them to move further away from urban areas. The reason is simple: large shopping malls are being built near factories, inflating land prices and making waste discharge almost impossible.  As a result, these areas are no longer suitable for manufacturers. The more remote the location of the manufacturing operations, the higher the transportation costs and the more difficult it is for creative teams from Hong Kong to inspect the sets in person and communicate with the set-makers.


In contrast, Tsui recalls his experience when he once designed sets for the Guangzhou Repertory Theatre. The set workshop was located right behind the stage and had storage space. He brought in his design drawings and selected suitable sets from those in storage for reuse. Meanwhile, the theatre company’s in-house set-makers wasextremely familiar with the venue, which in turn saved a lot of communication and transportation time.


Another challenge is that the running period for stage shows is generally shorter in Hong Kong and reruns are relatively rare, hence it’s not cost-effective for companies to rent space just to store the sets. As a result, most stage sets tend to be discarded after the initial run of performances. "Once a vocalist from New York came to perform in Hong Kong, and was shocked when I said that it’s common practice here to discard freshly made sets after the performance,” Tsui recalls. He adds that in Europe and the US people are using more eco-friendly materials for productions and finding ways to reuse components, in addition there are companies that rent out props and sets. However, in Hong Kong, such rental companies only specialise in traditional Chinese operas and none of them offer materials for modern productions.


Tsui remembers that, in the year of his graduation, the then Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa visited the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. “I was a student representative at that time and Mr. Tung asked me what I thought the government could do to help the industry. I said we needed space to produce and store sets. He told me that the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) was going to be built in the future and that would solve these problems. Well, that turned out not to be the case—WKCD doesn’t have any space for set storage or production."


The inadequacy of WKCD is a direct result of inadequate policy. Tsui points out that the government doesn’t currently have any environmental protection provisions regarding theatrical design and construction. “For example, the government could’ve allotted more space for theatres so they’d have room to produce and store sets, which could save transportation costs and time. With hundreds of performances a year, this  could greatly reduce carbon emissions in the long run.” The Hong Kong Association of Theatre Technicians & Scenographers, of which he is a member, has sent representatives to attend government consultation sessions countless times in the past, but most of their suggestions for improving theatre operations were ignored.


The impending waste-charging scheme could potentially serve as a turning point. “With waste-charging, if the goal really is environmental protection, there need to be other supporting measures put in place for it to be implemented effectively," Tsui says. He hopes to see experts take environmental protection into consideration when designing theatres and introduce relevant regulations. He would also like to see the government provide policy incentives to encourage those with the necessary financial resources and capabilities to set up social enterprises or dedicated spaces for set production and rental, and to preserve and reuse well-made sets.


Sustainability an inescapable trend

Besides the limitations of the current production ecology, Tsui believes that another reason for the sluggish development of sustainable production is the industry’s overall lack of environmental awareness—perhaps since outsourcing set-making is the usual practice, the environmental issues that come with it become someone else’s problem, too, he posits. He doesn’t know of any environmental protection-related discussions carried out in the arts groups he frequently works with, and sustainability-driven changes in stage design have been few and far between.

The only example he could think of was that, when tungsten filament lamps—which were commonly used on stage to achieve certain visual effects—became hard to find after an EU ban, lighting designers chose to switch to LED lights. "When it comes to sustainability, we only do something when we are ‘forced’ to do it, we don’t do it proactively ," he says.


He recalls that years ago, when he was studying stage design at the HKAPA, “the focus was on artistic creation” and sets had to be structurally safe, practical and aesthetically pleasing. "As for whether sets were environmentally sustainable or reusable after the performance, there was no such discussion at that time." However, he says that when teaching at the Hong Kong Design Institute seven years ago, he found that sustainability was a priority topic in other curricula. From fashion to architecture, "sustainability was a subject taught in every design course", but when the institute asked him about sustainability requirements in set design, he had to tell the truth: “There’s nothing of the sort in Hong Kong.” Nowadays, he and his colleagues conscientiously incorporate sustainability elements from other design courses into their own course—for example, asking students to stage “mini performances” using found materials. But for the time being, these initiatives are still at an experimental stage.


Lingli Ling , Branding & Development Manager at the Conservancy Association, has also observed the increasing focus on environmental protection in higher education course design. Tertiary education institutions have realised that sustainable design is a global trend and are actively incorporating it into their curricula in order to keep up with the times and ensure the competitiveness of their graduates, she notes.


In recent years, several local colleges and universities have reached out to the Conservancy Association for advice on environmental protection issues. In one instance, about four years ago the Association was invited by the Youth College to visit the campus at the beginning of each semester and teach students how to best comply with environmental standards—such as finding the right materials and suppliers—when running activities and carrying out graduation projects. Employees from the Association also serve on the judging panel of the graduation project showcase, offering students suggestions on improving sustainability. Recently, the Association was invited by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to provide similar input for their students' product designs.


Ling believes that the time has come for the performing arts sector to meet the same sustainability requirements faced by the design industry when seeking sponsorship. With sustainable development an integral part of corporate social responsibility, large organisations are required to publish ESG reports on a regular basis. Therefore, when it comes to art sponsorship, they are careful to assess whether an artistic project is likely to harm their ESG score or even cause potential PR problems. Conversely, if the project has an environmental protection theme and moreover is produced in an eco-friendly way, that will make it easier to obtain sponsorship. “Art groups now have a lot of incentives to pay more attention to sustainability, which provides space for environmental groups like us to participate in the process and build closer relationships with them.”


Exploration through collaboration

So what’s next for the performing arts community in terms of sustainability? What concrete steps should it take? Tsui thinks that first of all, advocacy groups in the industry should put forward   ideas, hold lectures, and introduce case studies of sustainable production from around the world “To let everyone know, 'hey, we are lagging behind in Hong Kong.’—knowing that you’re lagging behind is the first step to setting goals so you can move forward.” Once the goals are set, he adds, the real work is figuring out how to achieve them. However, since no environmental policy applicable to the performing arts industry currently exists in Hong Kong, the sector needs to explore the way forward on its own.

Terence Tang, Education Manager at the Conservancy Association, remembers that about seven years ago a small, young amateur performing arts group took the initiative to reach out and ask him for suggestions on how to make their productions more eco-friendly—for example, how to dispose of Styrofoam take-out lunch boxes. “I was deeply moved by their thoughtfulness,” he says, adding that if an individual art group wants to explore sustainable practices for their productions, they can aim to gradually reduce carbon emissions on two fronts: waste reduction and energy conservation. The former can be achieved through the selection, reuse and recycling of production materials, while the latter involves the management of on-site energy use and transportation arrangements. He recommends starting small and slowly adjusting existing practices to eventually find a model that fits one’s specific needs.


As for the sector as a whole, Tsui thinks that it can step up to fill in the gaps and introduce industry-specific guidelines to promote the development of sustainable production. Actions are in fact being taken: the Hong Kong Design Institute has internal green guidelines for its productions, exhibitions and other activities; the Environmental Protection Department published A Waste Reduction Guidebook for Large Scale Event Organisers in 2017; and the Conservancy Association launched its own green event guidebook in 2019, which serves as a reference for activities such as orienteering and carnivals.


Tang stresses that the creation of guidelines must be driven by industry insiders, with participation from green groups and other relevant sectors, and that the successful implementation of such guidelines can only be achieved through mutual trust and collaboration. As an environmental professional, he says that what he hates to see the most is the setting of rigid rules and unrealistic standards solely for the sake of “environmental protection”, because “having impractical guidelines will only backfire”.


“In the initial phase of implementation, we should allow individualised consultations on top of the general guidelines," Ling suggests, adding that this could foster the overall development of sustainable productions while being mindful of different needs and situations to avoid letting “one-size-fits-all” requirements hinder artistic creation. She further notes that set production has safety requirements to meet, and certain commonly used materials currently don’t have suitable environmentally-friendly alternatives; also, set-makers need time to adapt to new practices. Therefore there has to be room for gradual adjustment, allowing the industry to take one step at a time to solve the various problems without rushing things. Once more and more people are willing to adopt green practices, the industry will come together naturally as one voice and be able to engage in discussions with the government on introducing relevant policies and measures.


Tung Siu-hung from HKADC concurs, suggesting a “going out and inviting people in” approach to build a platform for exchange and discussion with different sectors, including engineering and design, in order to ultimately enhance mutual understanding and creative expression. She agrees that the path to eco-friendly productions is indeed full of challenges, but believes that “as long as it sends a positive message to society, the public and young people, it’s something we must work hard to achieve."


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Crystal Yip

People are drawn to sparkly eyes because they want to know what those eyes are seeing.

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