St George’s Hall Hosts Liverpool Confucius Institute’s Chinese New Year Gala

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Group photograph of Chinese New Year Gala performers with VIPs
(Group photograph of the performers at CNY Gala - Credit: Gareth Jones)

On the 9th of February, the Liverpool Confucius Institute hosted its annual Chinese New Year Gala in the historic St George’s Hall. 


As the inaugural event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Liverpool-Shanghai sisterhood, the gala was a vibrant celebration, not only of the lunar new year, but also of the enduring relationship between our two cities.


Mr Kong Fu'An, the Director of the Shanghai Municipal Affairs Office, gave a recorded speech in which he extended New Year greetings and expressed his wishes for the continuation of a long and prosperous relationship between Liverpool and Shanghai. You can listen to the speech here.


Jelli Studios Glee Choir Performing Somewhere Over the Rainbow

(Jelli Studios Glee Choir - Somewhere Over the Rainbow)


Liverpool might be home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe, but the gala, which aimed to celebrate diversity and inclusion, showcased the talents of all kinds of people. From enthusiastic school children and skilled university students to dedicated community groups and seasoned professionals, the LCI welcomed them all onto the stage.


(Jo Walls Theatre Group - Be Her Hero)


Amongst an audience of over 500, was the Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Richard Kemp CBE, who remarked on the cultural significance of the event, Cllr Liam Robinson, the Leader of the Liverpool City Council, Mr Liang Yan of the Chinese Consulate in Manchester, Prof Gavin Brown, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education at the University of Liverpool, and Mr Gary Millar, President of the Liverpool-China Partnership.


(A group of VIPs at the VIP reception before the gala. From left to right: Prof Gavin Brown, Prof Alison Fell, Dr Penny Ding, Cllr Erica Kemp CBE, Mrs Karen Brown, Cllr Richard Kemp CBE, and Mr Liang Yan)


"It was a truly memorable occasion and thoroughly enjoyable," said Cllr Richard Kemp CBE, Deputy Lord Mayor of Liverpool. 


But it was the performers who were the true heart and soul of the gala. The audience was treated to an evening of fantastic entertainment, with acts ranging from martial arts displays and drama performances, to piano recitals and choral singing.


(Gladys Wong - The Moon Reflected on a Spring/Er Quan Ying Yue)


Dr Penny Ding, the UK Deputy Director of the Liverpool Confucius Institute, remarked, "As the Artistic Director of Liverpool's Chinese New Year gala, I had the privilege of orchestrating a celebration of diversity and friendship at the heart of our city.


With over 120 performers, including young students and adults from various institutions, we transformed St George’s Hall into a stage of vibrant cultures and shared talents.


This event, supported by St George’s Hall, the Confucius Institute, University of Liverpool, Liverpool Hope University, and our local community, symbolises our collective achievements and the power of unity."


(Michelle Yim, Red Dragonfly Productions Ltd - The Ballad of Hua Mulan)


Although every single performance was received with raucous applause and huge smiles from the audience, the best was saved for last: a twenty-foot-long golden dragon, lit from the inside, and expertly manipulated by six martial artists. The dragon flew around the Great Hall, inspiring awe and delight in everyone who saw it.


“WOW, what a night! We will attend again next year," said a member of the audience. "Singing, dancing, martial arts and so much more. The talent was outstanding! What a way to spend Chinese New Year’s Eve!"



(Jinlong Performing Arts - The Dragon Dance)


"Our students had the most incredible evening celebrating and witnessing the richness and beauty of Chinese Culture. It was such an honour to be part of this amazing evening, in our amazing City," Jane Fleming, Head of education at Jelli Studio Glee Choir, told the LCI after the show.


We would like to thank all those who performed in the gala for sharing their unique talents with us. We are also grateful to our VIPs for making the time to attend the event, and to the staff and volunteers who helped make the gala possible. Last but never least, we wish to thank everyone who purchased a ticket. Your support means the world to us, and the proceeds from the event will go towards making the gala an annual tradition to be enjoyed again and again.



(Jinlong Performing Arts - The Lion Dance)


The Liverpool Confucius Institute wishes you a happy lunar new year, and a prosperous Year of the Dragon! 新年快乐!龙年大吉!


Find out more about the LCI’s Chinese New Year activities here.


Written by Carys Phillips

Photography by Gareth Jones