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Arts of Hong Kong: Tai Kwun presents second edition of Élan Lost Child Project HK

HONG KONG – Tai Kwun has announced the return of ÉLAN Lost Child Project HK, an award-winning co-presentation by international physical theatre master and educator David Glass and Hong Kong theatre veteran Olivia Yan, which will run in two phases from April until July 2022, online and onsite. The first edition of this project received the Award for Arts Promotion at the Hong Kong Arts Development Awards in 2021.

Established in 1997, the Lost Child Project began in over 22 countries, with founder David Glass embarking on a vision of empowering marginalised children and young people through theatre and the arts. The mental health and wellbeing of young people in Hong Kong is an increasing concern, and motivated Olivia Yan to initiate the ÉLAN Lost Child Project HK in 2019, using theatre as a tool to ignite young people and the “inner-child” of adults. This year, the project will take on the theme of “YES AND!…”; a playful rebuttal for confronting one’s feelings of negativity, confusion and frustration. “YES AND!…” harnesses the power of the arts, activating optimism against our negative emotions and outworn mindsets, empowering us to break free from defeatist patterns of “YES…BUT”, whilst rebuilding the confidence and hope of the youth and every “Lost Child”.

Using the French term “ÉLAN” (vigorous spirit) as its inspiration, the project brings together artists, academics, and the community to investigate the mental health of children and adults via an eclectic programme of dance, theatre, music, storytelling, workshops and forum. “ÉLAN” fuses together the digital and real-world through social media and technology, sparking creative forces across communities.

Over 100 professionals and participants from various fields, such as arts, social work, education, as well as people from all walks of life, have been drawn together to complete the ÉLAN Lost Child Project HK, which serves as a combination of arts and psychological therapy. David Glass has worked intensively with the young people virtually on the performance to bring this powerful and high-impact community project to fruition.

David Glass, Founder of David Glass Ensemble UK and The Lost Child Project, International Consultant of ÉLAN Lost Child Project HK, said, “The title of this year’s Lost Child Festival is ‘YES AND!…’ and through that affirmation, we might imagine a better world with and for our young!”. “’YES AND!…’ invites every ‘Lost Child’ in the maze to join this initiative. Not just for oneself but also your companion to find the light ahead to carry on our stories”, Olivia Yan, Artistic Director of O Theatre Workshop and Artistic Director of ÉLAN Lost Child Project HK, added.

Separated into two phases, this year’s edition of ÉLAN Lost Child Project HK will begin with Master Land: The Romeo and Juliet Wars – Work in Progress. Using the legendary characters of Romeo and Juliet to investigate how family, romance, and social expectations become the spark of generational conflict, we depart from the original 400-year old plot and instead, attempt to discover a way out for “youth” and cheer for “passion” with the topic of “love, madness, and death”. In this workshop, the theatre will be a space for dialogue to discuss why one gets lost towards the future from a broader and open-minded perspective.

ÉLAN will return to Tai Kwun for its second phase in the summer, spanning over two days – 2 and 3 July. During the first weekend of July, Tai Kwun audiences can take part in the dance video production No Man is An Island: M & M Pilot Project Screening, where choreographers Abby Chan, Angela Hung of StudioDanz, Hugh Cho of TS Crew and Eve Leung of R&T, together with young dance talents of different ages and artistic experiences, gather to create and perform a video of dance with video director Jimi Law.

Furthermore, visitors to Tai Kwun can also enjoy an immersive theatre production, Our Social Land: The Perfect MATCH, in which they can visit each players’ secret room as they covertly learn from the seniors, and feel the ups and downs of each story, while experiencing an exclusive journey of “life practice”. In the storytelling session My Story Land: The Weight of Life, the public will grapple with ideas about connectivity and community among social workers.

In the culminating final event Blah Blah Land: David Glass “An Unnaturalistic Life” a Long Table Sharing, David Glass, whose career in theatre has never been regarded as “ a real job”, will share his personal story illustrated by film and photographs from a lifetime of work and travel. A group of young creative talents from different fields will also gather at Tai Kwun and share their artistic experiences and connectivity with the community throughout the pandemic times. The full guest line-up shall be announced soon.

The Zoom Theatre Presentation of Master Land: The Romeo and Juliet Wars – Work in Progress (Online) runs on 16th and 17th April 2022. Registration required here

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