Staging History Selected Plays from Five Arts Centre 1984 – 2014 Book Launch

The finale performance to wrap up the book launch; “Suara Rimba” by Leow Puay Tin and Teater Muda, performed by (from left) Fahad Iman, Melissa Koh, Vivian War, Yiky Chew and Soraya Kee.

Kuala Lumpur, 21 November 2015 - Malaysia’s leading performing arts group, Five Arts Centre (FAC) today announced the launch of a publication – “Staging History: Selected Plays from Five Arts Centre Malaysia 1984 – 2014”.
Celebrating 15 iconic, innovative and memorable plays from over 100 productions staged over 30 years of its production history, the publication includes playwrights and director-devisers including Kee Thuan Chye, Leow Puay Tin, Chin San Sooi, Dato' Krishen Jit, Huzir Sulaiman, Nam Ron, Charlene Rajendran, Jo Kukathas, Foo May Lyn, Faridah Merican, Mark Teh and Datin Marion D’Cruz.

Edited by the art critic Kathy Rowland who also provides an introduction in the book, the selection of plays demonstrates a diversity spanning several generations, languages, artistic styles and staging strategies for text. A further 16 productions are presented through a Visual Essay, to provide the reader with the breadth of the collective’s staging history.

The book also contains two edited roundtable discussions between designers and playwrights respectively, on working strategies and practices during the staging of productions. In addition, the book provides an essay by Ken Takiguchi, locating the collective in relation to its regional contemporaries.

The book is part of FAC’s tenTenTEN programme, a two-year programme (2014 – 2015) supported by Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) with a sponsorship of RM380,000 for multiple projects to celebrate FAC’s 30th anniversary and to mark the 10th year anniversary of the passing of one of its founding members, Dato’ Krishen Jit.

In addition to the book, tenTenTEN with the support of YSD organised a theatre conference in January 2015, entitled, ‘Unfinished Business - a Conference on Krishen Jit’s Performance Practice and Contemporary Malaysian Theatre’; the staging of two theatre productions – Cakap Dapur: R&D Stories (February 2015) at Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC) and Cheras, THE MUSICAL! (October 2015), recently staged at Theatre KuAsh, Taman Tun Dr Ismail.

The announcement of the book launch was made at FAC’s studio in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. Present during the ceremony was YSD Governing Council Members Ms Caroline Russell and YBhg Datin Paduka Zaitoon Dato’ Othman, editor of the book Kathy Rowland, FAC members including its co-founder Datin Marion D’Cruz, book producer June Tan, along with playwrights and contributors to the book, as well as friends.

During the ceremony, YSD Governing Council Member Ms Caroline Russell expressed hope that YSD's sponsorship will help to preserve the iconic works of leading playwrights in the country to be used as a valuable future reference. She said, “The collection of plays in the book will be a doctrinal manual for our future generations of arts practitioners to learn from Malaysia’s very own leading playwrights. The Foundation’s support for this important book publication, as part of our sponsorship of the two-year tenTenTEN programme, will hopefully preserve this legacy and spread the knowledge of performing arts for all Malaysians to appreciate and enjoy”.

Datin Marion in her statement mentioned, “This book not only celebrates the artistry and talent of Malaysian writing, it provides an important rung in archiving and documenting the multiplicity of our nation’s cultural identity seen through theatre and the performing arts. We are very grateful that this effort is made possible by the extension of support from YSD that not only lent itself to the successful conclusion of this art project but also to several key art projects this year. We are also very grateful to all our other sponsors – Astro, Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, AnCasa Hotels & Resorts and Kino-I Pictures – who have supported us through the years, as well as for the tenTenTEN Programme.”

Arts and Culture, one of the pillars of YSD’s philanthropy supports the development of a vibrant arts community in Malaysia’s multi-cultural society which includes projects and activities in the performing arts and traditional heritage preservation. YSD sponsors initiatives that encourage the arts and culture, develop the demand for the arts while empowering the industry with knowledge and skills that contribute to the richness of a cultural heritage that is uniquely Malaysia, and promote the local arts and artistes towards achieving international recognition.

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Last Updated:
23 Nov 2017
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