Song Theatre Workshop

Polyphonic Singing and the Application of Traditional Song in Contemporary Theatre

03/12/2016 — 18/12/2016

The act of singing has been a part of theatre since the dithyramb in ancient Greece, but the advent of Musical Theatre as a genre in the 19th century meant that the use of singing in theatre became associated with one type of show, with conventions of staging, structure, and content. By using the term Song Theatre we hope to reclaim live singing for use in experimental theatre forms, mixing different traditions to create something new.

This course will introduce what song theatre is, where it has come from and how to understand it as a contemporary theatre genre. To do this we will take a practical approach, learning and singing traditional polyphonic songs from different cultures around the world and then finding ways to use them in performance. The way we learn these songs is through listening and repetition, just as it is taught traditionally. Thsoere is no need to be able to read music. After learning the songs, we will explore different ways to put them in a theatrical setting, using techniques from devising theatre and physical theatre. As well as experiencing the practical aspects of song theatre in class, we will also provide notes and video references for you to learn more about the history and development of ‘Song Theatre.’

Song Theatre Course Details

Dates: 3/12, 4/12, 10/12, 11/12, 17/12, 18/12/2016 (Saturdays & Sundays, 6 sessions)
Time: 2pm-5pm
Venue: We Draman Studio (3/F, Cheong Tai Industrial Building, 16 Tai Yau Street, San Po Kong)
Fee: $1,500
Quota: 16 participants
Tutors: Michelle Li, Ivor Houlker
This programme is conducted in Cantonese& English.

Discount 1: Full time students – $500 off (fee: $1,000), not available when quota is full. *
Discount 2: Former students will get a10% discount (fee: $1,350)*
*These discounts may not be used together.

About Rooftop Productions

Rooftop Productions was founded by Ivor Houlker and Michelle Li in 2014. We work in and around theatre in Hong Kong, promoting contemporary multidisciplinary ideas about theatre performance, training and multimedia. Our site-specific theatre work The Beautiful Ones was awarded for ‘Outstanding Effect’ and our founders were nominated in the ‘Best Director’ category for the same show in The 8th Hong Kong Theatre Libre.

Tutors’ Biographies

Michelle Li - Actors' HeadshotsMichelle Li is the founder and co-artistic director of Rooftop Productions. She holds an MA in Performance Making from Goldsmiths, University of London, and BA in English Studies from the University of Hong Kong. She has returned to Hong Kong to develop her work as a multidisciplinary theatre artist. Apart from making her own work, she is also a theatre director, performer, singer and theatre educator. Recent local works include: Rooftop Productions Milk and Honey, The Beautiful Ones, A Series of Unexpected Events; Hong Kong Arts Festival Danz Up. Her overseas works include: Festa Farina e Forca (Cantieri Culturali alla Zisa, Palermo, Sicily), Ch-ch-ch-changes (London, UK), Making a Difference (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK), Beware (Helen Chadwick Song Theatre, UK).

Ivor Houlker Actor's Headshot

Ivor Houlker is the founder and co-artistic director of Rooftop Productions, having relocated from London to Hong Kong in 2014. Ivor trained as a multidisciplinary performer, theatre artist and musician. Ivor works internationally as a director, actor, musician, writer and all-round theatre artist. He specialises in physical theatre and site-specific performances, involving live original music/sound, movement, integrated multimedia, installation, and developing new forms of audience-performer relationship. Ivor’s work has created and performed theatre work in London, Hong Kong, Edinburgh, Brighton, Prague, Palermo, Epidaurus, Wrocław, Warsaw and Lublin.

To enquire about the course, please contact Miss Michelle Li (9231 9196) or email to

Building with Bamboo

03/09/2016 — 08/10/2016

Michelle and Ivor are currently working on We Draman’s 2016 Cultural Ambassador performance, Building with Bamboo. The show is directed by Michelle Li, and Ivor Houlker is the movement coach, live musician and one of the actors. The performance is in Cantonese, and includes music and movement. The show is part of the Cultural Ambassador scheme, and there is no admission fee.

About Building with Bamboo

As an international cosmopolitan city, Hong Kong is one of the few remaining places where bamboo scaffolding is still widely used for construction work. The techniques for building bamboo scaffolding have been passed down through generations, and have been used to build many of Hong Kong’s famous landmarks over the years. It has born witnes toHong Kong’s values and strengths: “Fast, Nice and Cheap.” With this traditional Hong Kong characteristic as inspiration, we will explore the past of the city through stories about building and architecture in Hong Kong.

Performance Times

    • 3 September 2016 (Sat)

11am – Stage, Upper Wong Tai Sin Estate (Near Tat Sin House, Upper Wong Tai Sin Estate)
2:30pm – Central Courtyard, Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (30 Pak Tin Street, Shek Kip Mei)

    • 4 September 2016 (Sun)

11am – Piazza, Hong Kong Cultural Centre (10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui)
2:30pm – Quarry Bay Park (Hoi Tai Street, Quarry Bay)

    • 10 September 2016 (Sat)

11am – Podium, Shun Wo House, Wo Che Estate (Near Shun Wo House, Wo Che Estate)
2:30pm – Six Arts Terrace, Kowloon Walled City Park (Tung Tsing Road, Kowloon City)

    • 11 September 2016 (Sun)

11am – Kwun Tong Promenade (80 Hoi Bun Road, Kwun Tong)
2:30pm – Amphitheatre, Hong Kong Velodrome Park (105-107 Po Hong Road, Tseung Kwan O)

    • 24 September 2016 (Sat)

11am – Amphitheatre, North District Park (Jockey Club Road, Sheung Shui)
2:30pm – Amphitheatre, Tai Po Waterfront Park (Dai Fat Street, Tai Po)

    • 25 September 2016 (Sun)

11am – Chater Garden (Chater Road, Central)
2:30pm – Performance Stage, Aberdeen Promenade (Aberdeen Praya Road, Aberdeen)

    • 1 October 2016 (Sat)

11am Amphitheatre, Tsuen Wan Park (59 Wing Shun Street, Tsuen Wan)
2:30pm Cheung Fat Plaza (6 Tam Kon Shan Road, Tsing Yi)

    • 2 October 2016 (Sun)

11am Yan Oi Town Square (18 Kai Man Path, Tuen Mun)
2:30pm Ginza Square (Tin Shui Wai) (Tin Yan Road, Tin Shui Wai)

Rehearsal Photos

Theatre in Nature 2016

Physical Theatre Training Camp

13/10/2016 — 16/10/2016

Leaving the City…
When we train or work as performers, usually we’re coming in off the street or MTR into a studio space a few times a week. We cannot help but be influenced by our environment, and what we create becomes a product of the city rather than a reflection on it. By leaving the city behind and working in a natural environment, we can fully commit to performance training and regain the essential parts of our humanity that are being lost through the overcrowding and technology we are adapting to.

Last year’s camp photos:

Our main instructor – Ivor’s performance and movement training is influenced by groups working in natural environment; and in particular his time living, training and performing with Gardzienice. His approach involves site-specific performance techniques and demanding physical training that heightens the actor’s awareness of self, others, and our environment. Alongside methods from European theatre practitioners, Ivor incorporates training from his background in tai chi.

Another main instructor – Billy’s movement training focuses on the psycho-physical process of acting, and methods of building an ensemble. Billy is passionate about sharing a variety of methods and the work of different movement practitioners, but emphasis will be placed on Laban’s movement philosophy, physical actions and exercises relating to elements. Billy is also a certified yoga instructor, and he includes yoga training for actors as a way of balancing the physical, psychological and mental bodies and enhancing one’s self-realisation.

Camp Details

Date: 13-16/10/2016 (Thu-Sun)
Location: Sai Kung Bradbury Hall (TBC), hiking trails and surrounding beaches
Gathering time & place: 12 noon, 13th September @ San Po Kong/Sai Kung Town Centre
Finish time & place: 3pm, 20th September @ Wong Shek Pier/Sai Kung Town Centre
Fee: $2,400
Quota: 12-16
Main Instructors: Ivor Houlker, Billy Sy
Course Content: Sunrise Yoga, Sunset Run, Tai-Chi in the water, Mutuality Training, Rhythm work, ‘Psychophysical’ Actor Training, Site-specific performance making, Polyphonic singing
Suitable for: People who have experience in theatre, movement or performance, and have a reasonable level of physical fitness. (Professionally trained theatre practitioners will be considered first)

*This training programme will be conducted in Cantonese and English.

Notes for Applicants

  • Applicants should evaluate their own physical condition for joining this programme.
  • Participants will have to help carrying a small amount of food and tools.
  • Participants will take turns to prepare meals and cleaning up.
  • Meals will be vegetarian, one meat dish will be provided per meal for those who request it.
  • No mobile internet is available on site, but it has phone reception, and is equipped with shower and toilet facilities.

Application and Enquiries

If you are interested to enroll in our camp or if you have any enquires, please call, send an email or Facebook message to Rooftop Productions. We will get back to you!

Enquiries No.: 9231 9196 (Michelle)
Enquires E-mail:
Facebook: Theatre in Nature

This year’s camp location:

In the Zone of Stones

This is a video of what was originally a theatre performance created by Mischa Twitchin and performed by Penny Francis.

We shot it with two cameras and both are shown simultaneously in a double-width video.

Short Film, Buttons

Buttons was a collaboration with Leah Georges and Oli Theobald, for a brief to make a one minute video.

It’s based on a Rob Ryan tile: “Last night while you were asleep I took all the buttons off your shirt and I sewed them onto my shirt and then I sewed all of mine onto yours. If I can’t be with you all day then at least…”

Corporate Headshots, Blue Blanket

This shoot was for Blue Blanket Ltd. in the UK. We worked in outdoor locations with studio lighting, including combinations of individual portraits as well as group shots of the team in different combinations.

Corporate Headshots, Custom PC

We went for a quite cinematic look with these outdoor location headshots for Custom PC magazine. There is some colour work and editing as well as location lighting to give this kind of high contrast look.

Corporate headshots, Brian Sy

These are a few examples from our corporate headshot shoot with Brian Sy. These are all shot on location, using studio lighting to give a consistently professional look in any environment – although we were lucky to have a great space to work in too.