PETALING JAYA, June 20 — Local theatre company Liver and Lung Productions co-founder Shafeeq Shajahan is thrilled to receive RM10,000 for his upcoming production Melur The Musical.
The production is one of the 20 local performing arts ventures to receive the Boh Cameronian Arts Awards Grant totalling RM200,000, to defray some of the costs involved in putting up new productions with recipients including drum performers, jazz masters, local musicals, theatre productions, and orchestras.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic which saw the local performing arts struggling, the grant is Boh's ongoing support for the arts scene.
“Reviving one of South-east Asia’s most terrifying legends, Melur The Musical retells the harrowing story of a pontianak — a concept that I developed six years ago,” Shafeeq told Malay Mail.
“Brought to you by award-winning creators of Sepet The Musical — this is a spellbinding, sultry musical that will pay tribute to the stories of our land.
“I am absolutely thrilled that it’s finally coming to fruition.”
Shafeeq is excited for people to watch 'Melur The Musical' that will be staged in the first half of next year. — Picture via Shafeeq Shajahan.
To be staged at the Petaling Jaya Performing Arts Centre in the first half of 2023, the grant will contribute to the hiring of the state-of-the-art venue, he said.
The Instant Café Theatre Company artistic director Jo Kukathas will be putting up a play focusing on the rights of women, girls, child marriages in Afghanistan and the global refugee crisis.
And Then Came Spring also tells the story and journey of a 14-year-old girl.
“The play takes you to a different world: the world of violent and broken men, the world of a country pulled apart by politics and religious extremism, the world of women who must fight to survive and better themselves,” said Jo.
“It’s a play about love, family, hope and the future.
“It is the belief during dark times that Spring will always come.”
The production that was initially supposed to be staged in 2020 will now run from July 22 till 24 this year at the Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC).
The play will be presented by The Instant Café Theatre and refugee group theatre, Parastoo Theatre, founded by Afghan refugee Saleh Sepas.
Saleh is also the playwright and director of the play.
“This upcoming project brings together an act of collaboration and creates one shared platform — that goes beyond the borders of ‘refugee theatre’ or ‘English language theatre’ or ‘Afghan theatre.
“Any funds in excess of our production costs will be channelled to the Parastoo Arts Centre for refugees.
“It will be run and managed by Parastoo and others in the refugee community. It is important to have a space for learning, teaching, community building and self-expression,” she said.
Jo (left) and Saleh will be putting up a play on the rights of women, girls, child marriages in Afghanistan and the global refugee crisis. — Pictures via Tan Cher Kian
Boh plantations chief executive officer Jason Foo said that the company is pleased once again to look forward to live shows after a hiatus of more than a two-years.
“It is our hope that the Boh Cameronian Arts Awards Grant which we are offering for the second year, will in some measure help recipients as they undertake the staging of new productions.
“As in the previous year, Boh believes that the funds earmarked for the staging of the annual Boh Cameronian Arts Awards will be better served by directly channeling it to assist performing arts practitioners in this challenging period.”
Kakiseni president Low Ngai Yuen meanwhile said that with the grant, it is hoped to provide a little boost to the local performing arts companies and production houses.
As part of the conditions stipulated, the productions selected will have to be presented within 12 months after being awarded the grant (by June 15 2023).
The production will have to be ticketed, with a minimum of 30 pax allocated per performance at the venue and a minimum of two performances needs to be executed.
This grant was not applicable for online or streamed productions.
Judges include local arts exponents — Aida Redza, Fasyali Fadzly, Paul Augustin and Sharmini Ratnasingam who had sieved through numerous pitches and picked out the 20 successful applicants to receive grants worth RM10,000 each.