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Reasons for Event Charges

Lightime CIC aims to produce and organize the "Hong Kong Arts and Culture Day" to establish a designated day for Hong Kong people in the UK and provide additional means of expression and choices beyond rallies and gatherings. Through the activities of "Hong Kong Arts and Culture Day," we can engage individuals and families who may be hesitant to participate in demonstrations or rallies due to concerns about the National Security Law, providing them with multiple platforms to uphold their beliefs and maintain connections with other Hong Kong people. Furthermore, arts and cultural events are relatively more inclusive of British participants, and some activities incorporate interesting elements of Chinese and English, allowing the British community to proactively engage with Hong Kong's history and current situation, thereby achieving the desired impact of spreading awareness.

Each event of the "Hong Kong Arts and Culture Day" carries significant meaning and purpose, going beyond mere entertainment. The "Back to Hong Kong" cultural and art exhibition aims to convey the history and culture of Hong Kong at different time periods. The "Mancunians Singing Contest" spreads awareness of civic participation through a voting process. The stage play "Start-up! Our Second Half Act" encourages mutual understanding, support, and perseverance. The "Songs of Hongkongers" concert uplifts spirits through music. Lastly, the Board Game Night serves as a weekly social gathering to foster connections among Hong Kong people and facilitate mutual acquaintances.

Half of the grant funding has been utilized for the two-day rental of Contact Theatre, leaving us with £5,000 to cover the costs of the five activities over the two days. However, this amount is insufficient considering the expenses involved in rehearsal rooms, band rooms, technical personnel, ticketing, printing, set design, costumes, props, equipment, stage materials, transportation, and catering for the crew. Additionally, the cost of most items in the UK is higher compared to Hong Kong. As a result, we have no choice but to charge admission fees, recruit volunteers, and even request actors to provide some of their own costumes.

Let's take the example of theatre operations in Hong Kong to better understand the situation. In 2019, funded or emerging theatre companies received grants ranging from HKD 50,000 to HKD 150,000, while those receiving funding for one to three years could receive up to HKD 900,000 per year. The Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, which received funding from the Home Affairs Bureau, received approximately HKD 6,000, the highest amount among arts organizations at the time. However, they still had to charge ticket prices ranging from HKD 100 to HKD 500. This was not because they were unwilling to offer free admission, but because the grant funds were simply insufficient to cover operational and production expenses. Theatre companies also couldn't accurately predict ticket sales, which is why they had to rely on other funding sources for operations and production, such as community performance grants (Cultural Ambassadors), school touring performance grants, offering drama classes in schools to generate income, and recruiting volunteers for acting or backstage roles to reduce costs.

Whether it's a CIC in the UK or a theatre company with a charitable organization license in Hong Kong, due to the prohibition on profit distribution, a fixed budget must be set before production begins. This means that when recruiting and hiring actors, designers are informed of the available production budget and participants are informed of their remuneration, allowing them to decide whether to participate. Participants cannot request increased remuneration or profit sharing based on ticket sales, as it is not allowed by law. Therefore, producing performances as an independent, non-government-funded theatre company is indeed a challenging endeavor.

For the events of the "Hong Kong Arts and Culture Day," the admission fees vary. The "Back to Hong Kong" cultural and arts exhibition is free, while the "Songs of Hongkongers" concert has regular tickets priced at £10 and discounted tickets for students below 25 years old priced at £8. Ticket prices are determined based on the costs associated with each performance. However, it should be understood that no event comes without costs. Even the "free" "Back to Hong Kong" cultural and arts exhibition incurs expenses for display cabinets, frames, easels, printing, and more, which are covered by the proceeds from other events. This arrangement has been approved by the North West Hong Kong BN(O) VCFSE Grant (RSMP, Manchester Council).

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