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About the Playwright: Candace Chong

  • Psychology, 1999, CUHK
  • Advanced Diploma in Playwriting, School of Drama, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
  • MA in Playwriting from Royal Holloway College, University of London
  • Winner of the 26th Hong Kong Youth Literary Awards, the Society of Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts Scholarships, and Outstanding Playwright Award
  • Her works Alive in the Mortuary (2003), Shall We Go to Mars (2004), The French Kiss (2006) and Murder in San Jose (2009) were awarded the Best Play at the 12th, 14th, 15th and 19th Hong Kong Drama Awards, respectively
  • 2003 Outstanding Young Playwright of the Hong Kong Drama Awards
  • 2010 Best Artist (Drama) of the Hong Kong Arts Development Awards

Candace bagged four awards in 10 years. But her first full-length script written at the Academy for Performing Arts was harshly criticized by her teacher who said, 'If I could be frank, it's garbage.' She cried for the whole afternoon in the foyer, clueless about how her judgment could have gone wrong and differed so much from her teacher's.

Candace is placid about receiving awards. 'They help me to get funding and win recognition from my parents. Of course I'm happy. But you will gradually understand that all awards are defined by specific sets of rules, which, when coming to art, can be very subjective.'

She highlights that drama is team work. The playwright's hard work is what a script requires to win an award. But more importantly is a strong crew for its production. 'My first award-winning script was Alive in the Mortuary. It was nominated among works by senior masters who made me feel humble. I felt embarrassed winning, but at the same time I appreciated the support the profession has given me as a new member. I was much more comfortable later when I finally produced scripts which I felt better deserved being awarded.' To her, every project is an experiment. Before the curtain draws, one can never tell whether the audience will like it or not. The only thing one can do is to learn as much as one can from the experiments and accumulate experiences. 'Don't take awards for granted. Each step you make will take you closer to the destination. When the final day comes, I will not have any regrets because I've worked on something I like.'