While attending the preview for Turandot I was taking a look at the program and noticed a lack of Chinese names. I found this a little puzzling, why would such an important company hire out so much of it's conception and design team to foreign designers when there are plenty of local designers just as good. I know it may sound a little hypocritical coming from a "foreign" designer who was brought in by a local theatre company, but I couldn't help but wonder what percent of locally trained artists are actually being hired by local theatre/dance companies?
I decided to email 5 large employers of singers/dancers/thespians and write them a simple email. "Hello, I'm a local blogger. I'm doing an article on percentages of local artists hired by the big theatre/dance companies in HK. I was wondering what your percentage was and if you do hire foreign directors/designers/performers what is the reasoning behind it?"
5 Companies Emailed
1. HK Rep
2. HK Ballet
3. HK Dance Company
5. Opera Hong Kong
These companies were selected based on their position of being the largest/most profitable companies in HK. These 5 local companies hire more artists in HK than the others, so I feel it's important for us as a society to examine who they are hiring and why. If they are hiring foreign talent, why? Is there something in the theatre education system in Hong Kong that we can improve upon as teachers and mentors?
So far only one company has email me back and it made me rather proud.
HK Rep, "As part of our mission statement we ONLY hire HK Citizens. 100% of our cast/crew/design/admin team are born and raised in Hong Kong."
Thanks HK Rep for your efficient reply! I know a lot of local artists respect you only hiring local artists for your company. I know I do.
Will keep you updated as the emails keep coming back!