• The opening performance of the 29th MAF - Das Kapital - celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx (Photo courtesy of Cultural Affairs Bureau)
  • Arts accessibility services are now available for Home Sweet Home, enabling people to enjoy the arts without barriers (Photo courtesy of Cultural Affairs Bureau)
  • The Performing Arts Gala showcases first-hand experience of graffiti (Photo courtesy of Cultural Affairs Bureau)

29th Macao Arts Festival Heralds ‘Spring of Life’

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The 29th Macao Arts Festival (MAF), organized by the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC), will be held from 27th April to 31st May. Themed 'Origin', this edition symbolises the 'Spring of Life' and explores a wide range of topics to broaden audiences' perspectives on life as well as encouraging audiences to recall the core meaning of life by means of various art manifestations.

This edition of the MAF - comprising 26 programmes in seven categories - includes 'Thematic Highlights: Origin', 'Groundbreakers: Connection', 'Cross-Disciplinary Creations: Theatre', 'Family Entertainment', 'Quintessence of Tradition', 'Melodious Music' and 'Exhibitions', gathering excellent productions from abroad, Mainland China and Macao, in addition to an Outreach Programme aimed at promoting the arts in the community, spanning over 100 activities.

Das Kapital launches 29th MAF

In 'Thematic Highlights: Origin', the 29th MAF presents the opening performance Das Kapital by the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre, who concoct a new version of Karl Marx's grand classic tome in celebration of the 200th anniversary of his birth, incorporating Macao elements and illustrating the duality of capital making use of black humour.

The closing performance of 13 Tongues is a captivating dance, music and folklore show by internationally renowned dance group Cloud Gate 2. Contemporary Japanese playwright Tadashi Suzuki presents his adaptation of The Trojan Women, while renowned Korean theatre group Sadari Movement Laboratory renders its adaptation of Kafka's classic work The Trial to explore the definition of crime with unique body movements and language.

Emerging Filipino choreographer Eisa Jocson presents new work Host, examining the feminine body and gender politics, while Subject to Change from the United Kingdom introduces its highly acclaimed Home Sweet Home.

Local artists join hands with European and Asian artists in the performances in 'Groundbreakers: Connection' category. Dirks Theatre Arts Association, in collaboration with an Irish director and international cast, present their adaptation of The Night Just Before the Forest by famed French playwright Bernard-Marie Koltès.

Meanwhile, Sunset at the Shipyards by Dream Theatre Association tells the history of the local shipbuilding industry, with Migration a documentary theatre by the Macau Experimental Theatre featuring Indonesian migrant workers. The MAF has commissioned Singaporean group Nine Years Theatre to co-produce the play Pissed Julie, adapted from Miss Julie, an acclaimed work by Swedish playwright August Strindberg, which will be presented with an ironic touch by actors from both Macao and Singapore.

In the 'Cross-Disciplinary Creations: Theatre' category, the Festival presents a number of plays in various forms, including physical theatre 32 Rue Vandenbranden by renowned Belgian art group Peeping Tom, and dance and installation play Humming of the Landscape, a show developed by Comuna de Pedra Arts and Cultural Association.

A Portuguese artist presents the experimental play Parasomnia at the Mandarin's House; while local choreographer Tracy Wong returns to the Festival with Les Curious Fringes - Blast of the Cave.

Brilliant shows to appeal to audiences of all ages

'Family Entertainment' allows people of all ages to participate in the Festival. The family dance show Sponge encourages family interaction, while other performances include When All Was Green; In Search of Memory; comprehensive art performance The Performing Arts Gala; and the family comedy Infinita, which explores the philosophy of life, projecting an atmosphere overflowing with warmth and joy.

'Quintessence of Tradition' presents immortal classics further refined by the passage of time. Macao veteran Cantonese Opera actor Chu Chan Wa collaborates with local Cantonese Opera artists and rising stars to present the evergreen Dream of the Red Chamber; the Classical Chinese Quyi Showcase re-enacts the two century-plus history of Guangdong's Quyi with Naamyam narrative songs and Baatyam percussion; the Patuá Theatre What's serving? comments on crucial issues enveloping this small city, including current affairs, humanism and dialect; while the Macao Kaifong Cantonese Opera Juvenile's Troupe presents Hanjiang Gate.

Additionally, the 'Melodious Music' category includes the concerts Henning Kraggerud and the Macao Orchestra conducted by Liu Jia, with the Fado Concert by the Macao Chinese Orchestra. The 'Exhibitions' category features 'Marc Chagall - Light and Colour in Southern France' at the Macao Museum of Art, enriching the artistic appreciation of all.

Outreach Programme features 44 activities

This year's MAF Outreach Programme features 28 programmes totalling 44 activities, including talks, workshops, artists' talks, art critique, accessibility services and movie screenings.

Tadashi Suzuki, who belongs to the first generation of theatre directors and writers of post-war Japan and is the founder of the Toga Festival, the first international theatre festival in Japan, presents the 'Artist Talk: Tadashi Suzuki', one of the highlights of the Outreach Programme. Using The Trojan Women as an example play, Suzuki will share with audiences how he recreates the theatre world through the actors' bodies.

In '1 Day! Home Sweet Home', participants follow the footsteps of local urban planner Lam Iek Chit for a fun-packed trip. Starting with the cardboard city Home Sweet Home, the event leads participants to step into the real living environment and ponder the relationship between land and home, self and community, and reflect on Macao's urban planning so that everyone can build their own dream home.

In tandem with the theme of this year's MAF, 'Origin', and its focus on Asia, the 'Writing Workshop on Street Roaming and Discovery', hosted by Hong Kong writer Tang Siu-wa, promotes local writing and broadens the imagination of participants through the explanation of writing theories, writing techniques exercises and on-site writing.

Apart from the spectacular performances of the Performing Arts Gala, this edition of the MAF offers the public a workshop by Israeli theatre troupe The Key Theatre, in which children will learn how to manipulate paper puppets; a graffiti workshop will also be hosted by a local graffiti art group. In addition, five outstanding and varied films have been selected to be screened in different neighbourhoods. In order to allow people with visual and hearing impairments to enjoy arts without barriers, arts accessibility services will be made available in several shows, including for Home Sweet Home and the screening of the movie The Posterist - The Art of Yuen Tai-Yung.

For more information about the 29th MAF, please visit: www.icm.gov.mo/fam, follow the MAF's page on Facebook or subscribe to IC's WeChat account. For enquiries regarding the programme, please contact IC enquiry hotline 83996699 during office hours. 24-hour ticket reservation hotline: 28555555 (Macao); 23805083 (Hong Kong); 13926911111 (Mainland China); online ticket reservation is available at www.macauticket.com.