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Date [ 2015-07-27, 11:04 ]

Various entertainments all rolled into one.

(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress)  AzmiAnuar = For one month a year, the  George Town Festival turns the city into a stage, bringing world class performances, exhibitions, installations and collaborations to George Town’s five-foot ways, corner cafes, secret alleys and performance halls. Each year, the Festival showcases events that offer participants an up-close and personal experience with the vividly diverse, colourful, unique, artistic and cultural traditions of Penang, Southeast Asia and the world, as well as events that creatively re-interpret these traditions, transforming them into something new and inspirational.

In 2012, the George Town Festival brought the famed folk musicians of Rajasthan, Indian to Penang with Roysten Abel’s critically acclaimed “Manganiyar Seduction”, as well as a specially-commissioned performance of Silat, an ancient and majestic form of martial arts unique to Malay civilization.

The 2013 Festival included the Victoria Street Project, a one-day festival showcasing local Penang arts, culture and heritage, with vendors selling handmade crafts and food, and artists performing amidst the Street’s heritage shophouses. Last year, ‘Circus Circus’, a performance featuring acrobatic dance troupes from Thailand, Finland, China and Japan, graced the Penang stage with a dazzling array of breathtaking stunts, shadow puppet theatre, and laser light displays.

Rimini Protokol

This year the Festival has the Berlin-based theatre troupe Rimini Protokollwhich will bring Penang’s city demographics to life in a uniquely interactive performance featuring 100 local inhabitants, chosen according to their age, gender, household type, geography and ethnicity to represent 1% of the population. By sharing their stories, answering questions and creating collaborative visuals, the participants will transform statistical data into a living, breathing, ever-changing human drama that is uniquely Penang.

Established in 2002 as a theatre collective in Berlin, Rimini Protokoll is widely credited with inventing a new style of research-based documentary theatre. Their 100% City project has received worldwide acclaim for its showcases in London, Melbourne, Tokyo, Paris, Amsterdam, San Diego and other global cities.


Then there is the all-male dance troupe of Spain’s Titanium. It transcends cultural boundaries by energetically fusing together elements of flamenco, hip hop and break dance, creating a passionate and highly innovative production. Improvisation and joyful exploration of movement defines this explosively original take on street performance. By integrating the intensity and unmistakable personality of hip hop into the ancestral art of flamenco, the show’s thirteen dancers and musicians re-create and update their heritage for the modern age of constant interconnection between diverse people and places.

Ãngel Rojas and Carlos Rodrìguez, the award-winning creators of Titanium and two of the show’s nine dancers, have been working together since 1996. Since then, the two men have directed, choreographed and designed fourteen unique shows, each of which combine elements from various cultures around the world to create something new, unexpected and transformative. Titanium, their newest performance, premiered at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in May in the UK.The George Town Festival performance will mark Titanium’s Asian debut.


Award-winning Australian collaboration AM I seeks to answer the most important question of human existence: Who am I? Performers explore the concept of ‘I’ through explosive choreography, beating drums, spoken word and more in a thrillingly unique and inspiring theatrical display. Influenced by elements of anthropology, biology and cosmology, the musicians, dancers and singers of AM I bring the Big Bang, evolution, and the formation of consciousness, spirituality and society, to life on stage in a fundamentally human drama.

Director and choreographer Shaun Parker, of Shaun Parker & Company, has won numerous accolades for his exhilarating stage creations, including two Australian Dance Awards, a Banksy Award and an Argus Angel Award. He and composer Nick Wales have worked on several highly acclaimed shows together. AM I, which was featured in April at Germany’s prestigious Movimentos festival, will be the company’s first performance in Asia.

Mouse Daughter’s Wedding

Vietnam National Theatre Company’s rendition of The Mouse Daughter’s Marriage tells the lighthearted story of a mouse’s daughter who must choose between three eligible bachelor mice all wishing for her hand in marriage. Acting on her mother’s advice, the daughter rejects the three bachelors on account of them not being rich, powerful or famous enough for her taste. When she chooses to marry a cat instead, thinking him to be from a more superior species, she must face the unexpected consequences of her actions. The actors’ artful and precise movements draw the audience’s attention as the play – both comedic and allegorical – wonders if the grass is really greener on the other side.

The Mouse Daughter’s Marriage was created as a children’s opera in 2003 by Dr Chua Soo Pong. Since its premiere, various companies in China and Singapore have adapted the production. Vietnam National Theatre Company was established in 1952, and has performed nearly 400 plays all over the world.


China’s Nanning Peoples’ Arts House will perform Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless story of the Nightingale, whose beautiful voice enchants the Emperor of China and drives him to keep the bird locked in a cage so that he can always hear its song. When the Emperor of Japan presents him with an ornately decorated mechanical version of the bird, he is thrilled and proudly presents it at his sixtieth birthday party. However the bird breaks down. He calls for his caged Nightingale to sing a song, only to discover that his precious bird has escaped. The Emperor becomes heartbroken.

On his deathbed, the Nightingale returns to sing a song so beautiful even Death itself wishes to listen in, and spares the Emperor’s life. The Nightingale’s voice gives his life new meaning, as he learns a lesson in compassion and the importance of freedom.

Butterworth Fringe Festival  On August 15 and 16, George Town Festival will ferry its annual celebrations to the mainland for the inaugural Butterworth Fringe Festival, featuring pop-up bookstores, movie screenings, creative crafts, exhibitions, presentations, live performances and much more.

All Things Malaysian @ Beach Street

All Things Malaysian is a celebration of the country’s traditional and contemporary arts, cultures, foods and trades. On August 30th, Penang’s Beach Street will be transformed into a festival, with vendors, performers and hawkers taking to the streets to share their unique culture with locals and tourists alike.

So make plans to spend a whole month in Penang in August. For that is how long the George Town Festival is going to run, Have fun.


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