International Dance Market
陳頌瑛 Anna CY Chan
Head of Dance, Performing Arts, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA)
愛丁堡國際藝術節開幕派對。Edinburgh International Festival Launch Party.
攝影 Photo Credit: Clark James
In recent years, Hong Kong arts groups have actively turned their focus outward to the world by either getting invited to, or attending on their own, a range of art festivals. Their efforts are commendable but artists and arts groups (especially small and medium size groups) don’t necessarily fully understand or properly prepare to participate in these events. As a result, there might be a huge discrepancy between expectations and outcomes.
今年八月除了參與德國杜塞爾多夫舉辦的Tanzmesse國際現代舞博覽會外，亦被英國文化協會和愛丁堡國際藝術節（Edinburgh International Festival）邀請參與他們主辦的「網絡會議」。除觀賞藝術節節目，亦與不同單位見面，洽談合作計劃，理解蘇格蘭藝術發展和各種藝術節的運作等等。創辦於1947年的愛丁堡國際藝術節，每年都會由該屆的藝術總監策劃三至四星期，邀請來自世界各地的頂級節目於六大劇院和音樂廳演出，形式比較像香港藝術節般。
Scottish Ballet's Emergence at Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
攝影 Photo Credit: Angela Sterling
Aside from participating in Tanzmesse, an international contemporary dance fair held in Dusseldorf, Germany in August, I also attended Momentum – a networking meeting organized by the British Council and the Edinburgh International Festival. In addition to attending Festival programs, I met with different departments to discuss future plans for collaboration, to get an understanding of the arts development in Scotland, and to gain an insight into various operational models for different kinds of arts festivals. Founded in 1947, the Edinburgh International Festival, a three- to four-week event, is curated by an artistic director appointed each year who invites top productions from around the world to be presented in six major theaters and concert halls – its structure is similar to the Hong Kong Arts Festival.
至於同年創辦、當今最大的藝術節：愛丁堡藝穗節（Edinburgh Festival Fringe），運作就截然不同。今年愛丁堡藝穗節三個多星期的節目中，就合共有294個場地、3269個節目、50266個表演場次，只聽數字已感覺到其龐大的運作。藝穗節基本的原則是以開放的態度主辦，即只要任何人願意有節目帶來愛丁堡或有任何場地願意開放作為表演場地，他們都可以參與藝穗節。一般參與者都需要繳交註冊費，然後要清楚了解自己想選擇的場地，再向場地申請。而每一個場地單位亦有他們策劃節目方向和收費的準則，包括票房分帳、註冊費、票房佣金和宣傳等等。參與者亦需要自費安排住宿、機票、製作費用、宣傳品的設計、行政費，甚至是當地增值稅等。
Founded in the same year, and today's largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, operates on a different model. This year, the program of more than three weeks was held at a total of 294 sites, with 3,269 productions, and 50,266 performances; anyone hearing such numbers can get a feel for the massive scale of its operations. The basic principle of the Fringe Festival is open-mindedness – in other words: as long as anyone wants to perform a work or offers a place as a performance venue, they can participate in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Usually participants are required to pay registration fees and have a clear idea of their choice of venues followed by an application to the venue. The direction of each venue’s programs is different as are fee guidelines, these include: box-office sharing arrangements, registration fees, commissions, promotion at the box-office, and so on. Participants are also required to pay and arrange for their own accommodation, airfare, production costs, publicity material design, administrative fees, and even the local value-added tax.
Participation in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe can be a major investment and become an economic burden for many groups unless they have proper funding or sponsorship or go in together with other producers and production companies. Moreover, how to get noticed amidst the thousands of programs on offer is not something conventional promotional skills can handle. Public relations, publicity strategies, marketing acumen, and experience are all essential. Having said that, every year the Festivals attract more than a thousand artists from those who are virtually unknown to those who are world-renowned. Many hope their participation will provide a career breakthrough, or give them the opportunity to gain experience, or even to become famous. The Festivals are definitely the biggest international art market in terms of their attractiveness and the opportunities they provide. But if artists go without considering the commercial implications or participate with unclear goals, then it could result in serious financial liabilities.
Photo provided by Anna CY Chan.
Photo provided by Anna CY Chan.