For the ninth year, the George Town Festival returns and is ready to welcome visitors to the island and continue to give more entertainment, cultural and artsy-fartsy value to Penang residents.
Mark your calendars, book your flight/bus/train tickets, plan your road trips and hotel/home stays, and join us proud Penang Lang in a month (read: August till early September) filled with performing arts shows, from dance to theatre, as well as photography and art exhibitions, workshops, music, creative talks and arts and crafts markets.
On a personal note, a warm welcome back to the anggams-supporters-of-the-fest, Steven, Glen and Meenaka from across the seas and Causeway!
Here are some highlights of the long-awaited list of happenings brought to you and lovingly curated by the tireless festival director Joe Sidek and his equally dedicated and work-around-the-clock team …
• KELANTAN: A Living Heritage (Malaysia)
The show celebrates Kelantan, known as the ‘Cradle of Malay Culture’ and its unique tapestry woven through its traditional and captivating art forms.
• Between Tiny Cities (Cambodia & Australia)
Dancers from Australia and Cambodia use the rituals and movement styles of b-boy dance to reveal the dramatically different worlds that surround them.
• We Cannot Talk About It (Iran)
A dark and gripping performance with intense expressions of suppressed life. From Iranian group The Hole in the Wall from the award-winning creators of Slow Sound of Snow (GTF 2015).
• Yaron Kohlberg feat. Ciaran McAuley & Penang Philharmonic Orchestra
Yaron Kohlberg, the “pianist with the golden hands”, performs a classical music suite with the Penang Philharmonic Orchestra, with esteemed Conductor Ciaran McAuley.
• 2062 (Spain & Germany)
An experimental show about a dystopian world, where the “present” is deemed as the authentic protagonist, highlighting borders, walls, new migrations, current affairs, and economic changes.
• Isle of Dreams (Taiwan)
Making its first premier in Southeast Asia, Isle of Dreams is a mythological musical theatre piece featuring Nanguan and Beiguan music integrating with poetry, puppetry and ritual dance in the performance.
• Second Body (Taiwan)
A dance production generating an out-of-body experience. A dark stage, dancer with abstract light projected on her skin, and the study of movement itself.
• BLIND (Brazil)
A social experiment and an interactive art showcase which has travelled the world, soon will be taking the streets of George Town in Penang for the very first time.
• SeaShorts (Southeast Asian Short Film Festival) (Malaysia)
An annual short film festival with over 200 entries. Attending the festival will be notable film makers such as Rithy Pahn, Mira Lesmana, Liew Seng Tat, Pimpaka Towira and Philip Cheah.
ConneXion – Passion Made Possible (Singapore)
A collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), ConneXion- Passion Made Possible will thrill festival goers as part of the GTF closing weekend. The best of Singapore will be featured through fashion, music, art, dance, theatre, film, talks and food hosted in various venues in George Town. More details to be announced.
• Te.ma.sya BUDAYA KITA (Malaysia)
A National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKN) special showcase of traditional arts and performing arts. More details to be announced.
Most shows hosted at Dewan Sri Pinang and Loft 29 will have its tickets sale via Redtix.
Others are mainly-free-to-attend shows, talks and workshops are available through registration on PopTickets.
This year GTF also focuses on its collaborations with various local creative collectives such as The National Department For Culture And Arts (JKKN), National Academy of Arts Culture and Heritage (ASWARA), SeaShorts, Sisters in Islam, Obscura, Penang House of Music, Penang Philharmonic Orchestra, Penang Foodie and the return of Konsert Kopitiam V.3.
Additionally, there are also alliances through special projects with other countries such as the recently launched “Isle to Isle” project with Taiwan Economic Cultural Office in Malaysia (TECO), “Passion Made Possible” with Singapore Tourism Board (STB) as well as a collaboration with the Arts, Education and Law Group at Griffith University.
GTF also works together in partnership with Penang Global Tourism and hotels such as E&O Hotel, Penaga Hotel along with other hotels, media and venue partners. GTF is currently looking for sponsorship and partnership.
For the newbies, the George Town Festival is an annual, month-long celebration of culture, heritage, art, and community.
Inaugurated in 2010 in honour of George Town’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the festival transforms the city into a global stage, showcasing world-class performances, installations, and collaborations from international and local artists alike.
With over one hundred unique events each year, the festival seeks to create new and vibrant connections between the traditional and the contemporary, the past and the future.
For more information on full list of GTF 2018 programmes and ticketing please visit www.georgetownfestival.com
(images courtesy of Joe Sidek and George Town Festival)
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