At its 2011 premiere in Helsinki, Susanna Leinonen Company’s Blinded Mind sold out to no one’s surprise. Being one of Finland’s most internationally acclaimed choreographers, the Susanna Leinonen Company has toured over 20 countries in numerous festivals and iconic venues. In 2012, it was Penang’s turn to play host to Blinded Mind. Combining the company’s trademark fluidity of balletic movements with Erika Turunen’s dramatic costumes, Blinded Mind explores an individual’s courage in going against the grain and the inevitable consequences that follow, something which SusannaContinue Reading “Finnish Choreographer’s Ode to Non-conformists”

Beijing Opera as seen through the lens of two non-Chinese who fell in love with China’s quintessential theatrical tradition. How do you keep an ancient art alive? That’s the question that the Beijing Opera probably gets all the time. As a testament to their ability to keep bringing new flavours into classic Chinese opera, Beijing Opera’s show at the 2010 George Town Festival are fronted by Iranian-born, British-raised Ghaffar Pourazar and Japanese Morimura Chie. Far from being token foreigners in the Chinese troupe, Ghaffar PourazarContinue Reading “British Man & Japanese Woman Take on Beijing Opera”

Saw Teong Hin tried his hand at adapting Hang Tuah’s story using the ancient martial arts form. Many know of silat as a traditional martial arts form that belongs to the Malay civilization. To think of it as a theatrical performance piece is rather rare but in the hands of acclaimed director Saw Teong Hin (Puteri Gunung Ledang), it became a vehicle to showcase the most epic bromance known to Malaysians – the friendship between Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat. Saw Teong Hin’s “Silat –Continue Reading “Legendary tale of Hang Tuah gets a new spin”

Photo credits: Doris Lee Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui has worked with the biggest names in the dance industry but back in 2013, his Shaolin-inspired dance appeared on the humble Dewan Sri Pinang stage. George Town Festival has always been ahead of the curve in terms of bringing artistic talents to Malaysia. You can always trust on the names that are a part of the GTF roster to appear a few years later in the headlines. One such example is Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Although not a well-knownContinue Reading “Before Beyoncé, this man worked with Shaolin monks”

Tan Tay Po was seventeen when she became the seventh wife. Cheong Fatt Tze was seventy years old when he married her. His mansion took seven years to build, seven years to restore. But it was no coincidence for Singporean actress Tan Kheng Hua decided to portray the inconspicuous personnel of the illustrious businessman’s seventh wife. She was inspired by the magnificent architecture of The Blue Mansion, once belonged to Cheong Fatt Tze, during her visit in George Town, Penang. #7 is a lecture performanceContinue Reading “The Lucky Number Seven”

Vertical Road made its debut in Penang in 2010, where Penang Turf Club was the official programme sponsor. “When you finally create something, the history of how it was made because vague and in lost. You forgot the origins of the ideas” – Akram Khan With his other award-winning works such as Gnosis, Kaash and Zero Degrees, Akram Khan is one of the most acclaimed choreographers today. The English Dancer directed and choreographed Vertical Road with the aim to discover the origins of ideas.The performanceContinue Reading “A Vertical Road to George Town”

Patrizio Buanne captivated the crowd at E&O Hotel during the George Town Ball with his Italian and English renditions of classic gems. Imagine a ball, set in George Town’s oldest and grandest hotels – the E&O. Imagine it soundtracked by the smooth baritone of Italian heartthrob Patrizio Buanne. In 2010, the stuff of fantasies became a reality thanks to George Town Festival. With his repertoire of adult contemporary hits and pop oldies, the singer and songwriter Patrizio Buanne put on a charismatic live show thatContinue Reading “Multilingual Italian Crooner Charmed Penangnites”

Photo credits – Neoh Chee Jin Director Roysten Abel turned his fascination with Rajasthan’s Manganiyar community into an audio-visual feast for the senses. While on the lookout for folk musicians in a Delhi slum for one of his tours, Roysten Abel came across the Manganiyars, a formerly nomadic tribe living in the Rajasthan desert. Practicing a hybrid faith of Islam and Hinduism, a pair Manganiyars followed him everywhere he went for the next two weeks, “seducing” him with their songs. Abel was so intrigued byContinue Reading “Nomadic Musicians made way for George Town”

Emily at Emerald Hill was shown in Town Hall during George Town Festival 2010. George Town Festival, one of the major ASEAN arts festivals in Malaysia, is organised by Joe Sidek Productions Sdn Bhd. The standing ovation is rare in Melbourne, and reserved for the very best performances. This production has moved Australian audiences in such a profound way, and it’s very deserving.” – Melbourne Festival “A damn good piece of theatre.” – TODAY “A dizzying engagement with the androgyny of identity. It was impossibleContinue Reading “Emily Portrayed by three for george town festival”

Dancers from China, Thailand and Malaysia come together over monkey characters in ancient Asian traditions. 12 Monkeys & More… was performed during George Town Festival 2010. George Town Festival, one of the major ASEAN Arts festivals in Malaysia, is organised by Joe Sidek Productions Sdn Bhd.     “What better place to stage a performance on monkeys than the Botanic Gardens?” George Town Festival’s festival director Joe Sidek says, laughing. It’s no surprise to Penangnites that if one pays a visit to the Botanical Gardens, thereContinue Reading “Malaysia, Thailand and China Portrays Monkey Gods”