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Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts 2017

Big names coming for Huayi festival

Heavyweight names such as Hong Kong actor Anthony Wong and award-winning Mongolian band Haya are part of the festival's acts next year

Hong Kong thespian Anthony Wong will be returning to headline the Esplanade's Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts 2017. And this time, he will be going up against veteran film and television actress Candice Yu.

The two, who will be starring in a Cantonese adaptation of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, are among the heavyweight names coming to Singapore for the 10-day festival.

Tickets are now on sale at Sistic for the 15th edition of the festival, which will run from Feb 3 to 12 next year.

Wong, known for his roles in action films such as Hard-Boiled (1992) and Infernal Affairs (2002), took the stage for Huayi this year in a Cantonese adaptation of French playwright Yasmina Reza's Tony- winning play, God Of Carnage.

In A Midsummer Night's Dream, he will play the fairy king Oberon opposite Yu's Queen Titania.

  • BOOK IT /HUAYI –CHINESE FESTIVAL OF ARTS 2017

  • WHERE: Various locations at The Esplanade, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: Feb 3to 12, various times

    ADMISSION: Various prices

    INFO: www.esplanade.com/huayi/

The festival will also bring back the critically acclaimed Taiwanese play, Secret Love In Peach Blossom Land, about two theatre groups that are mistakenly booked into the same rehearsal space. It was last staged 10 years ago for Huayi 2007.

Mandopop fans can look forward to Taiwanese singer Yoga Lin returning to Singapore with a more intimate concert featuring songs from his latest album, Sell Like Hot Cakes.

Dance lovers will see the Singapore debut of Cloud Gate 2, the younger sister company to renowned Taiwanese contemporary dance group Cloud Gate.

Tradition meets modern sounds in concerts by award-winning Mongolian band Haya, featuring the likes of the horsehead fiddle and throat singing, and China Music House, which will blend the ancient Suzhou art of pingtan with contemporary jazz.

Haya was featured in Chinese television singing competition I Am A Singer earlier this year.


Dual roles for veteran actor Anthony Wong


Actors Anthony Wong and Candice Yu (both above) as King Oberon and Queen Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The production by Dionysus Contemporary Theatre is part of the Esplanade’s Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts next year. PHOTO: BENNY LUEY

After more than 30 years in movies, four Hong Kong Film Awards and three Golden Horse trophies, Hong Kong actor Anthony Wong is relishing his return to theatre - and meaty scripts.

He starred in his company Dionysus Contemporary Theatre's Cantonese production of the French play, God Of Carnage, at Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts this year and the group will be back in Singapore next year with another classic, A Midsummer Night's Dream.

In this new Cantonese version of Shakespeare's tale of crazy love in a magical forest - which will be staged at the Esplanade Theatre from Feb 3 to 5 - Wong has dual roles, as Theseus the duke and groom-to-be and as Oberon the fairy king. The cast includes actress Candice Yu and singer Alex Lam (son of Cantopop veteran George Lam).

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Recluse's dance saved him from depression


Beckoning (above) is part of Taiwanese dance company Cloud Gate 2's triple bill at Huayi next year. PHOTO: GIA TO

In his early 30s, Cheng Tsung-lung was struck by what he calls "an inexplicable depression" that came upon him out of nowhere.

Cheng, artistic director of Taiwanese contemporary dance troupe Cloud Gate 2, would shut himself in his room. When he went out, he lurked in corners. He could not bring himself to speak to anyone. He lost weight.

"I wanted to lock myself inside my heart," says the 40-year-old in Mandarin over the telephone from Taiwan.

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Classic play has new cast on board


Secret Love In Peach Blossom Land (above) by Performance Workshop plays at the Esplanade Theatre on Feb 11 and 12. PHOTO: ESPLANADE - THEATRES ON THE BAY

Thirty years after Secret Love In Peach Blossom Land was first staged, the profound emotions wrapped up in the play remain vivid and urgent.

For the cast in the 30th-anniversary production of the classic play by celebrated playwright Stan Lai, this has meant shedding many tears - of joy, sorrow and bittersweet aching - both on- and off-stage.

The anniversary edition by Lai's Taiwan-based theatre company Performance Workshop will play at the Esplanade on Feb 11 and 12.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2016, with the headline 'Dream line-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe