Mathias Woo Yan Wai (Chinese: 胡恩威) is a cultural worker in the cross-media discipline in Hong Kong, with creative works ranging from theatre and multi-media design, to cultural policy research and analysis, art education, architectural design and screenplay writing.
Woo joined the arts collective Zuni Icosahedron in 1988, and is now the Executive Director and Co-Artistic Director of the group. Since the 1980s, he has been actively involving in the areas of politics, cultural policy, urban development and social welfare.
In 1996, Woo founded the Hong Kong Development and Strategic Research Centre (HKDSRC), and is also the chairperson of the organisation. Over the past years, He has initiated a series of studies on arts and cultural policies, including both the 1991 & 1993 edition of "In Search of Cultural Policy", "In Search of Film Policy 97" and "In Search of Information Policy 97".
Woo has been writing regularly for newspapers and magazines on architecture, arts, culture, and the media since the 1990s. His writings could be seen in publications like Yazhou Zhoukan, HK Economic Times, Ming Pao and CUP Magazine.
In 2006, Woo was appointed by the government of the HKSAR as a member of Public Service Broadcasting Review Committee, and also a member of the Advisory Groups (Performing Arts and Tourism) of the Consultative Committee on the Core Arts and Cultural Facilities of the West Kowloon Cultural District; in 2009, Woo was appointed member of the Task Force on Economic Challenges by the Chief Executive.
● Woo has produced and directed more than 50 theatre works. His theatre works cover a wide range of topics, such as literature, history, politics, current affairs, architecture and religion, and they were performed around the globe in cities like Beijing, Tokyo, Nanjing, Taipei, Singapore, Berlin, etc.
● Woo pioneered the “multimedia architecture music theatre series”, including The Life and Times of Louis I. Kahn, Looking for Mies and Corbu. He also created multimedia performances, such as Hua-yen Sutra, integrating Buddhist doctrines with interactive multimedia and elements of contemporary arts. They were great successes merging theatre spaces and the multi media together, exploring the potentials of these features to the fullest. They infuse new dynamic into Hong Kong performing arts, and are vanguards in the history of Chinese theatre.
● East Wing West Wing, a political comedy series exploring and discussing the political situation in Hong Kong, is very popular among the public and top government officials. Together with “the social theatre series”- The Agent and All You Want to Complain about Hong Kong TV, a Three-letter Opera which discusses the education policy of Hong Kong, reflecting his critical views and comments on various social issues and my passion in promoting civil education
● In 2008, Woo collaborated with the Jiangsu Kunqu Opera Troupe, and produced the innovative performance of Tang Xianzu’s Dream on Dreams, which is a work aiming at preserving the heritage of traditional Chinese performing arts.
Architecture and Designs
● In 2004, in association with Arch Design Architects Ltd., Woo designed the Shantou University Student Activity Centre Phase I project and won the Hong Kong Institute of Architects’ 2004 Award for Members’ Work Outside of Hong Kong.
● In 2001, Woo worked with Mr Rocco Sen Kee YIM, and was awarded an Honorable Mention in the West Kowloon Reclamation Concept Proposal Competition.
● In 2008, Woo participated in the 11th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia 2008, as the Guest Exhibitor with the multimedia installation “Hong Kong Odyssey”.
● In 2006, Woo participated in the “4 x Home” Exhibition, a showcase of four imaginary homes (other exhibitors include Douglas Young, Eric Kot, Wing Shya and Chip Tsao [To Kit]), presented by the LCSD, in the Heritage Museum.
● In 2004, Woo was invited by Eslite Book Store of Taipei to create a multi-media sound installation Migrating Birds.
● In 2008, Run Papa Run, the screenplay Woo co-wrote with Chan Suk Yin and Sylvia Chang, was nominated as the Best Screenplay in the 28th Hong Kong Films Award.
● In 2007, Happy Birthday, the screenplay Woo co-wrote with Sylvia Chang, was nominated as the Best Screenplay in the 26th Hong Kong Films Award.
“HK Style” series, a series of publications documenting the originality of the local architecture, and it was reprinted up to the 4th Edition and has sold near to 10,000 copies.
● HK Style, 2005, Editor in Chief, published by CUP.
● HK Style 2 – Destroy HK, 2006, Editor in Chief, published by E+E Zuni Icosahedron.
● HK Style 3 –A City should be Built This Way, 2007, Editor in Chief,published by E+E Zuni Icosahedron.
● Cultural Opportunities in Economic Crisis?, 2009
● Mathias Woo Hong Kong Odyssey, 2009
● West Kowloon Blueprint, 2007
● Good Wind Like Water, 2008
● East Wing West Wing Comic, 2008 (Collaborated with comic artist, Lai Tat-tat Wing)
● Hong Kong Odyssey, 2001
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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