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The Southern Drama Group

Alumni of 1966. Front row, from left:
Lin Yu, Jenny Hu, Chu Fang, Wu Ching-li;
Back row, from left:
Lin Chia, Shen Yi, Chao Sin-yen, Pan Yin-tze,
Chu Ching, Ting Si.

Instead of resting on its laurels, Shaw Studio was proactive in perfecting the talent of its actors and actresses. An in-house film school was developed in the summer of 1961 to sharpen veteran stars' acting skills as well as the training of budding actors and actresses. This school was known as the Southern Drama Group.

Many 'discovered' stars were alumni of this Group, which ensured a steady stream of new blood into the film industry. The school was run by Ku Wen Chung who was the chief trainer. By the mid 1960s, the annual applicants to the school numbered 5000, from which 60 are carefully selected. Each course lasted six months and participants accepted by the Group is given basic training free.

The Southern Drama Group was eventually renamed as The Shaw Films Training Centre and again in 1970 as Shaw HK TVB Training Centre under a joint management by the two groups. Students went through a grueling one year course under the guidence of foreign-trained instructors. Courses included theory and practical studies. Graduates would then be absorbed into employment with either media.

Outside Show business, the stars would lend their talent and glamour for charities, inauguration ceremonies, theatre openings, trade fairs, fashion exhibitions, competitions, private parties and as foreign ambassadors all over the world. In Hong Kong, popular stars would regularly make headlines as they attended events such as the Hong Kong festival, annual exhibition of Chinese Manufacturers Association, lottery and charity drives.

As foreign ambassadors, Shaw stars have travelled to America, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.


(from right) Tina Chin Fei, Ivy Ling Po,
Betty Ting Pei, Ching Li and Lily Ho
playing air hostesses going to Taipei in 1970

Shih Tzu in Singapore, 1974

David Chiang in Singapore, 1971

Angela Yu Chien in New York, 1966

Li Ching in Taipei, 1966

Visitors to Shaw Studio, Hong Kong

Scores of world personalities have visited Shaw Studios in Hong Kong for decades. Visitors to the Movie Town included foreign producers, stars, models, businessmen, pressmen as well as politicians. Among the thousands that the Shaws have hosted included :

(top left to right) Kirk Douglas (1964), Gina Lollobrigida (1964), Peter O' Toole (1964)
(bottom left to right) Rock Hudson (1971), The Beatles (1966), and Candice Bergen (1966).


Kirk Douglas (1964)

Gina Lollobrigida (1964)

Peter O' Toole (1964)

Rock Hudson (1971)

The Beatles (1966)

Candice Bergen (1966)

The espionage epic 'Sumuru' (1966), a Shaw/Anglo Amalgamation production

Other distinguished guests were Governor and Lady Trench, Sir Robert Black (H.E Governor of Hong Kong, 1964), James Mason (1964), George Montgomery (1964), William Holden, Curt Jurgens, Mylene Demongeot, Yul Bryner, Ingrid Bergman (1965), Robert Wise (1965), Danny Kaye (1966) Geraldine Chaplin (1966), Cliff Robertson (1969), Dewi Sukarno (1970), and Rex Harrison (1972). Another visitor to Shaw Studio was John Derek and Ursula Andress (1964). John said, "Why this is like an Oriental Kingdom!"

Many foreign films, modeling shoots and documentaries were also produced in Shaw Studios.

 

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