HKU’s English-run student production company details its exciting journey
By Charles Fong & Danielle Chin
It all started in 2011 with an unprecedented attempt to bring English drama to HKU’s student body. Lighthouse Productions staged its first show: “Through Looking Glasses.” Written and directed by HKU exchange student Ralph Wainer, a small audience rooted us on in the Chong Yuet Ming Theatre. The one-hour short was produced and staged solely by students from HKU. Since then, Lighthouse Productions has grown, now aiming not just to bring English drama to the student body, but also to promote performing arts as a whole to the HKU community. Our goal is to create a platform for the people who believe in the arts while being able to produce quality productions as well as exchange ideas between creative individuals, no matter their background.
Continuing on the importance of “for students, by students”, Lighthouse Production moves to create an environment where performing arts created by students can thrive and engage a wider audience. We want to promote the performing arts by telling stories through their acts and producing quality shows with fresh, yet developed talent from the underestimated youth. For its 2012 production, Lighthouse Productions staged the sold-out show “Take Love” this past March, which opened in The Fringe Club in Central. “Take Love” consisted of four short plays revolving around the theme of love. Each short is a separate story about what love is, creating an intriguing production where audiences can see the multifaceted nature of love through each short. It is this kind of intriguing story telling method that Lighthouse Productions wants to show, experimenting with different ways to invite the audience into a different world and push the boundaries of student performances.
The success that was generated by “Take Love” propelled Lighthouse Productions within the student body and faculty alike. Since its showing, multiple students have contacted Lighthouse Productions in the interest of taking part in future projects. Amongst staff, The School of Humanities recognized Lighthouse Productions by supporting it through the creation of the Cultural Leadership Youth Academy. Lighthouse Productions now has a place to call home under the Youth Academy, whose mission is to similarly “encourage an environment of cultural creativity and innovation among students at HKU” (http://www.culture.hku.hk/yacademy.html). The production group has also been invited to the new Centennial Campus in the upcoming fall semester to put on a not-yet-announced show (stay tuned).
One of the most crucial parts of Lighthouse Productions is to welcome all and engage all, so long as the common interest and appreciation of arts is present. By creating a platform for students from all over the world who pass through HKU—local Hong Kong, exchange, international, PhD—to meet each other, relate to each other, and learn with each other through the arts, the true value of a hands-on experience is seen through the participants’ excited spirits and self-motivated commitment. A fast few months of preparation like no other, the skills that students gained by being a part of “Take Love” and Lighthouse Productions were invaluable. Ranging from booking a venue, to casting actors, to early Saturday morning rehearsals after late-night Fridays, students learned the dedication that a project like this required, and albeit unquantifiable, just how gratifying the payoff would be.
Though it was not easy, looking back and already planning for the future, the students who partook in and the staff who supported “Take Love” and Lighthouse Productions are forever grateful for a rewarding experience which allowed the shy to open up, the local to interact with the non-local, and the arts cynics to see its true educational value. Both on the stage, and behind it, the journey was more than just a show for all.