Rooftop Productions • Testimony | South Asians make up the largest ethnic minority group in Hong Kong. Testimony explores South Asian history and identity in Hong Kong. | Rooftop Productions • Hong Kong Theatre Company

TestimonySouth Asians in Hong Kong: Documentary Theatre

South Asians in Hong Kong

Over a hundred years ago, the British first brought people from South Asia to Hong Kong to keep the peace. Others came by commercial ship, to take advantage of new trading opportunities.

Now, South Asians make up the largest ethnic minority group in Hong Kong (apart from domestic workers), and the history of their contribution to the development of the city far outweighs their current visibility in society. Hong Kong has become an international cosmopolitan city, but the South Asians who helped create it are systematically excluded from it in the education system, the workplace, and the media.  Many have been fighting for years for their voices to be heard.

The South Asian community here has already faced the problems that all Hongkongers are now facing.  What can we learn from their experiences?

Hong Kong Theatre Libre: Best Scenography (Won)
IATC (HK) Critics Awards: Performance of the Year (Won)
IATC (HK) Critics Awards: Best Scenography (Won)
Hong Kong Theatre Libre: Best Director (Nominated)
Ivor Houlker, Michelle Li
Hong Kong Theatre Libre: Best Show (Nominated)
IATC (HK) Critics Awards: Best Actor (Nominated)
Mohammad Kashif Ali
Hong Kong Theatre Libre: Best Script (Nominated)
Ivor Houlker, Michelle Li, Ng King Lung, Basnet Tusar, Arisa Yasaratne, Mohammad Kashif Ali
DirectorsIvor Houlker, Michelle Li
Music DirectorIvor Houlker
DramaturgLai Sim Fong
Collaborating ActorsMohammad Kashif Ali, Arisa Yasaratne, Ng King Lung, Basnet Tusar, Michelle Li
Lighting DesignerAu Yeung Hon Ki
MusicianIvor Houlker
Video DesignerChan Tsz Ho
Stage ManagerKahy Chan
Assistant Stage ManagerHerriet Tsang
Assistant ProducerChan Myae Mon Mon
Lighting OperatorCheng Hoe Ling Sarah
Academic AdvisorProfessor Lisa Leung
Graphic DesignerAlfie Leung
Promotion PhotographerIvor Houlker
Acknowledgements: Phoenix Cheung, 18th Art Space.
  • Mainly in Cantonese and English.
  • Seating is unallocated. No refunds after ticket confirmation.
  • The show lasts for around 90 minutes, please stay for our post-show talk.
  • Latecomers will not be admitted.
  • All rights reserved by Rooftop Productions Ltd.
Arisa - Testimony
Kashif - Testimony
King Lung - Testimony
Arisa - Testimony







Thursday, 15 August 2019 at 20:00
Friday, 16 August 2019 at 20:00
Sunday, 18 August 2019 at 11:00
Sunday, 18 August 2019 at 15:00
Map, Cattle Depot Theatre, Unit 7, Cattle Depot Artist Village, Ma Tau Kok Road,
Cattle Depot Theatre
Unit 7, Cattle Depot Artist Village, Ma Tau Kok Road

Directors' Notes

In one of our interviews about society’s perception of ethnic minorities, we asked the interviewee: "If people say: 'Resources are limited, we should look after local people first.' how would you respond?" She took an unhurried sip of coffee and replied: “They are local people.” We all laughed, disarmed by her simple answer. Actually ‘local’ and ‘non-Chinese’ have never been opposites; these two concepts can stand together.  

Going into the research phase of this show last year when we met Prof. Lisa Leung, we had a lot to learn. Neither of us can claim any South Asian heritage, so it was vital to form our opinions by talking directly to the people we wanted to learn about. We ran theatre workshops for Hong Kong South Asian youth, we volunteered teaching at their Chinese lessons, and arranged interviews with upwards of 30 people related to the topic.  We also knew it would be essential to have actors with South Asian heritage involved directly in the creative process, and luckily we found there are plenty of very talented people in Hong Kong. We worked together to create the content and the script, based on verbatim interview transcripts as well as the actors’ own experiences and reflections.  - Ivor Houlker, Michelle Li

As someone with partly Sri Lankan heritage, I thought I knew about all the issues relating to ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, but I really didn’t. Making this show opened my eyes and made me realise that some ethnic minorities are more neglected than I thought. The question I kept asking myself was ‘Well, what can I do?’ -
Doing this show has made me realise the important role we South Asians have played in the development of Hong Kong’s society. It has changed the way I think about myself as an ‘ethnic minority’. It made me realise that I am part of Hong Kong - our history and future is intertwined. -
Our rehearsal process coincided with a historical social movement, but instead of hindering our progress, it actually helped me better understand Hong Kong’s culture, history, and interpersonal relationships. Through learning the history of the path that ethnic minorities have taken, I realised that we should act - not just for ourselves, but for those around us; together we are proud of being Hongkongers. -
I discovered that there is still so much to discover; this is just the beginning. -