Artist of The Month- November- Kathy Mak

It's that time of the year again where Hong Kong audience gets together for seriously loud stage heckling with the favourite line: "It's behind youuuuuuu!". 
That's right, everyone: as the festivity season approaches, we are getting ready for Panto. This year, the Hong Kong Players proudly present Snow White, and starring in the show is the lovely actress, singer and dancer Kathy Mak. 




1.  Name, Birthplace, age:


Kathy Mak, Hong Kong, 29


2.  How does where you were raised affect your work?

I believe it affected my career choice and overall involvement in performing arts. Being brought up in two cultures that had very different views on performing arts made me quite uncertain on what I wanted to pursue. Having been back and forth between New Zealand and Hong Kong since the age of 7 and studying at local schools in both countries, I can say that there were definitely a lot more opportunities and encouragement to be involved in performing arts while I was studying in New Zealand.

I have always enjoyed performing but there were definitely decisions I made as a youth taking into account what our Hong Kong culture and family would consider is the smart thing to do. It doesn’t help when you have had certain adults that have said discouraging words to you as well.

Anyhow, I am still very glad that I eventually found my way to the English theatre community here in Home Kong. Even if it only began after I started my working life.


3. Where did you train?

Since a young age, I have taken dance classes and joined various dance troupes to learn the styles of jazz, jazz funk, hip-hop, cheerleading, and more. While I was at school in Hong Kong and before YouTube existed, I basically learnt the most dancing from watching and copying VCDs of Britney Spears, Bring it On and Step Up, and singing karaoke when no one was home.

But as I eventually got more exposed to the dance and theatre scenes, I took more dancing and singing programs while I was in university and working a full-time job. The rehearsal and performance process of being in shows are also very good training.



4.  What is your favourite style of theatre? Why?

Musical theatre because my love for performing began with dancing and singing.

I love when a story is being told through emotional singing and high kicks in dazzling musical numbers. It really magnifies the emotions being portrayed in a scene.


5.  What was the best show you EVER saw?

This is such a hard question. But I think I would say Hamilton, because the music is amazing and the whole show flows so seamlessly. Even with just one set, the cast can take your mind through so many places in history, there is so much to watch in terms of choreography on the two-level set and rotating stage. I really hope to watch it again.


6.  What was the best show in HK you EVER saw?

From international tour, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert because I always love a good dazzling show with lots of dancing and singing. From local companies, I really enjoyed HKYAF’s recent production of Fame. The artistic vision, beautiful and precise choreography, and amazing talent were all of a very high quality.




7.  What piece of work are you the proudest?

I think it has to be the current piece I’m working on, Snow White the Panto! Not only do I get to express my creative vision again as the show’s choreographer but I will also be performing as Snow White and get to feel the thrill of a panto’s audience!

Right now, I am most proud of just handling the workload (and stress) of being on the creative team and cast on top of a full-time job in Digital Marketing. I’m glad there are people who trusted me with all this responsibility! 

Also, looking at the great cast and team that is involved, we’ve all worked so hard for it, I am confident that it will be another fun, hilarious, and magnificent show! (Tickets available at << Haha am I allowed to plug?



8.  What is your process like?

I daydream. Whether it’s dancing, singing or acting, I get inspired from watching movies and lots of videos of the greats and talents from around the world. After that, it's a lot of imagining and visualising on my long commutes (which is also why I sometimes have random twitches or weird facial expressions when alone in public).

Especially in Hong Kong where we don't often have space and privacy to practice dancing or singing, visualising really helps with my creative process and even to practice before I can experiment physically.


9. What is your dream project?

My dream project would involve comedy and/or music, but definitely something that makes people feel joy in one way or another. I'd say a funny musical or comedy skits.

Though I don't always have the confidence to present the showman side of myself, I feel the most in my element I am also pleased with myself when I can make others laugh. 

At the moment I am quite open and excited about new projects. As long as it brings joy to people, it will be my dream.





10.  What do you think about the arts and theatre scene in Hong Kong?

I think that it’s great how the theatre community is growing and there are a lot more artistic influences in the city now. But from my personal experiences growing up here, it seems that the overall culture is still unfamiliar with and don’t care very much about performing arts. Which is most likely the reason why there are so little funding and support for education and production in this area.


I really hope this mindset will change soon and that there will be more opportunities to experience this wonderful form of performance, whether to enjoy as an audience, to train or to pursue as a career.


Catch Kathy in action on her latest show Snow White: The Panto. For more information, click here


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