[中][ENG] 總監主場 Artistic Director's Home: 何曉嵐 Margaret Ho
Artistic Director's Home
Margaret Ho 何曉嵐
Show Director, Performer and Tutor of Hong Kong Circus
翻譯Translation: Tiffany Wong
“Perform to Inspire” is the guiding principle of Hong Kong Circus. . Our productions combine contemporary circus, dance, theatre and multimedia, a unique form of performing arts that we would like to share in Hong Kong.
As the Artistic Director of Hong Kong Circus, I draw inspirations from the people and events I encounter in my daily life, and the humanistic values drawn from these encounters. By showing familiar human relationships, my work aims to resonate with audiences as they make their own reflections. I enjoy creating work together with my performers, and I encourage them to bring their own circus specialty into the pieces. The meeting of each vivid personality is the key to the uniqueness of Hong Kong Circus.
《飯後好馬戲》中的火舞表演 Fire Spinning Performance from Circus in the dark；照片由香港馬戲團提供Photo provided by Hong Kong Circus
Studying Musical Theatre at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and working at a major amusement park widened my horizon in appreciating different art forms, and also how these differences can make an impact on audiences. During this time I first encountered then fell in love with fire dancing, and met Chris, the founder of Hong Kong Circus. With encouragement from my aerial teacher, Danielle Aubut and inspirations from the local performing artists in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Circus was established in 2012.
However, alternative pursuits such as this are often written off as difficult and unrealistic. Indeed, the journey of Hong Kong Circus has been so. Besides the doubting and disapproving you have to bear for being outside the norm, the city itself is also not designed to be friendly towards circus arts. Our early works were impeded by venue, safety and technical constraints. Yet these difficulties strengthened our resolve to persist.
Step by step, Hong Kong Circus presented its first public performance of fire spinning; presented outdoor contemporary circus shows that featured high aerial construction; organised exchange programmes with international circus artists; and annual shows at various art venues. On top of that, we continue to fight for performance opportunities that are open to the public, towards creating a stage that is welcoming to everyone.
《機保的重生之旅》KIBO’s Journey of Rebirth；攝Photo: Lampson Yip
Coming from a grassroots background, I am certain that I would not be where I am today, if it wasn’t for a free dance performance I saw in my housing estate. The experience lit up my youth, and sparked my passion for dance so that I pursued it as my career. From this comes my determination to inspire others, just as I was inspired.
Despite a great selection of performing arts events in Hong Kong, most of them require a payment to gain access. For the less privileged, these performances are a luxury and beyond their reach. And so, Hong Kong Circus has always prioritised performances that are free and welcoming to the public, hoping that we could influence people from different fields with our performance.
「馬戲承夢」"Circus Dream"；攝Photo: Lampson Yip
Hong Kong Circus was fortunate to participate in the Community Cultural Ambassador Scheme organized by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. It was a great opportunity for Hong Kong Circus to introduce contemporary circus art to the local community. 2015 Circus in the Dark broke with the previous tradition of Cultural Ambassadors, being the first programme in the scheme to be held at night-time. The timing of performances was for the convenience of the working people, so that their families can spend time together after a busy day. While in 2018, our children’s programme KIBO’s Journey of Rebirth incorporated theatre and puppetry in the circus to raise awareness about environmental protection. Other than telling stories with contemporary circus, we aim to stimulate our audiences and provoke reflections, so that their experience of watching a show can be beneficial.
Hong Kong Circus is also currently experimenting with new venues and exploring the possibilities of developing new performances in Hong Kong. For this reason, we established a scheme named "Circus Dream". In our experimental piece at JCCAC’s gallery spaces, audience members ventured through various locations of the performance space to unveil different circus acts. Our fabric art installations in the narrow corridor spaces created a mysterious atmosphere, echoing our forest theme. Also, we made use of the height of the space to showcase various aerial apparatus. This was a valuable experience as a director: despite the venue restrictions, we made good use of the limited space and came through with this challenge in experimentation.
Although it takes time, with persistence and determination, we reach closer to our goal one step at a time. This was what circus has taught me. By bringing together the uniqueness of each performer’s creative work, I hope my creativity can resonate with other wanderers, dreamers and you.