Olivia Yan / 甄詠蓓 – Imagine the Next

An all-round theatrical artist who directs, writes, acts, and instructs, Olivia Yan is the Creative Director of PIP Cultural Industries Limited, where PIP stands for Pleasure, Imagination, and Play. On the development of Hong Kong’s art scene: “It is a very slow process – but I’m planting all these bombs, and I hope one day – BOOM! -they’ll all go off,” said Yan. “And no there’s no shortcut… But oh well I don’t mind waiting.”

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Love in the city

Yan is a woman of many faces. Not only is she mother, wife, actor, director, she is also penning several columns for magazines and hosting a radio show on Commercial Radio 1. Yan’s columns can be found at Cup Magazine, metropop, Singtao, and Lisa, with the subject ranging from female culture to parenting.

Yan also co-hosted a radio show (小晴朗開心打怪獸) with Vincent Wong, a prominent radio host of Commercial Radio 2’s popular morning show. The show, having just wrapped up its first season, invited primary school students and their parents to debate topics such as “Children should be allowed to play video games”. Not only was the show popular among kids and adults, it also provided an opportunity for the public to listen to the children’s voices.

“We always hear from professionals, but through this show the audience gets to directly hear from the children.” Yan said. “It’s important that we do not let the city pollute or clog the beauty of communicating with each other.”

This is all part of the Imagine the Next project that Yan initiated last year. “Art is not something confined to a specific circle, nor is it only something you do when you have spare time,” Yan said. “And therefore Imagine the Next aspires to infuse people with the understanding that art belongs to everyone, that it improves one’s spiritual health and connects people.”

Viva Odyssey (阿花愛漫遊), a play about a journey to the outer space, was one of the first steps into the ambitious project. Yan brought together musical and theatrical elements to create the play, collaborating with Jing Wong, a singer-songwriter in People Mountain People Sea, a music production company.

But Imagine the Next does not stop here. Yan will be directing a play (阿Q後傳) adapted from The True Story of Ah Q, in Singapore, and a drama (家家有笑話) about ordinary family life. A photo book where Yan goes and photographs different children, and asking their opinions on love or Hong Kong’s real estate is also one of the creative plans Yan has in store for Imagine the Next.

“What this photo book does is that it’ll try to record real people,” said Yan. “It’s hard to trust the media these days. The people seem very fabricated and distant.

“This photo book will thus serve as some kind of a historical record of the children of this era.” Yan said.


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