Written by Vester Wong, Samantha Lee and Rosalind Wong
Shaxbies Theatre Group first started with just 5 undergraduates in 2010. After two years of time and effort, we are now a team of over 30 members including undergraduates and postgraduates, most of whom are English, Law and Education Majors. Our group is also consisted of both local and non-local students. The expansion of the group is particularly meaningful this year as there are literature enthusiasts outside the Faculty of Arts joining us.
With much effort and our passion for Shakespeare’s works, our entry As You Like It in the 7th Chinese University Festival won us the “Outstanding Actress Award”. This brought huge encouragement to the group and we are now more determined to promote Shakespearean literature. We continued our journey: our production of Hamlet was staged in the CYM Theatre in front of 140 audience and also in the Farewell Main Building Day last year.
The expansion of our group allows us to strive for the better. This year, we managed to hold a drama night in the CYM theatre, re-staging our award-winning version of As You Like It, and staging our new production of Much Ado About Nothing. Presenting the original is easy, but juxtaposing English classics and contemporary elements for dramatic effect is not. We aim to open a fresh perspective to the audience, of the adaptability of Shakespeare’s works and how they relate to us. In the preservation of the essence of his works, we incorporate innovative ideas in the productions. The drama night turned out to be a huge success as tickets were sold out two weeks prior to the performance! Our versions of the two comedies were well-received and the audience enjoyed a fascinating night with humor and laughter. After the show, the group has been invited to perform in the School of English Reunion Day in May this year.
The Shaxbies is grateful to witness its success of the drama night and the increasing participation of HKU students in staging Shakespeare, and it was even sweeter when we looked back on the obstacles we had faced with limited resources. Attaining props and costumes were challenging with our insufficient budget, and making the set with its different materials was brain-wrecking with our limited resources, however, we are luckily no longer required to practice in public areas but are provided with an appropriate room to practice in and a space to store our props.
The Shaxbies will continue to be a self-funded group and mainly rely on our annual performance to cover our production budget. All expenditure is covered by our members in advance. We plan to stage productions in the second half of 2013 and first half of 2014. We appreciate any kind of support from friends and alumni.