Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Festival: Georgetown Festival - Penang (7 June - 7 July 2013)

Penang's popular month-long George Town Festival (GTF) returns in 2013 from 7 June to 7 July. GTF is a contemporary arts festival celebrating art, music, theatre, dance, opera and film and this year the GTF secretariat received over 200 proposals from artistes from around the world including, of course, Malaysia.  GTF draws in more than 150,000 visitors from the region, and is widely covered in international, regional and local media. It was inaugurated and initiated by the State Government of Penang in 2010 to commemorate George Town’s inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage listing on 7 July, 2008.  'Pick of Penang' hopes to capture some, if not all, of the highlights from GTF 2013.

This year’s programming is led by the keywords ‘community’, ‘interaction’, and ‘spaces’, says festival director Joe Sidek. He elaborates: “As in previous years, we hope to present the best of art and cultural productions here in Penang. We are truly humbled by the expectations expressed of us and we are taking this as a sign of confidence that George Town is well poised to be a vibrant and diverse cultural centre in Malaysia and in the region."

There are five extremely public and accessible highlights: the opening ceremony and kite festival Taking Off, the all-new trail of art and greenery Secret Gardens of Earthly Delights, the specially commissioned contemporary dance performance Bridges & Kaki Lima, the three-day community celebrations, Heritage Celebrations, Intriguing Instruments under the Victoria Street Project, and the talk and exhibition series Arus Melayu.

Two exciting events have chosen to make their debut at GTF2013: Roughcut, the film symposium by Tropfest South East Asia, and the photography festival Obscura Festival. Tickets for the three top tier productions will be made available soon. Early bird tickets, students rates, and senior citizen prices for Sutra, I Musici and Pro Musica. Equally exciting and prestigious is the art exhibition from seven of the top regional artists presented by Valentine Willie.


Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui/Sadler’s Wells London
Date: 29 & 30 June
Time: 8.30pm
Venue: Dewan Sri Pinang
Admission: RM60, RM80, RM100 (Students RM20, Seniors 50% off)

Celebrated Flemish/Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui presents a brand new dance work, SUTRA, inspired by the skill, strength and spirituality of Buddhist Shaolin monks. He has collaborated closely with Turner Prize-winning artist Antony Gormley, who has created a design consisting of 21 wooden boxes which are repositioned to create a striking, ever changing on-stage environment.

Featuring 17 monks directly from the original Shaolin Temple in China, the piece also includes a beautiful brand new score for piano, percussion and strings by Polish composer Szymon Brzóska which is played live.

Italian Chamber Music Orchestra
Date: 7 June
Time: 8.30pm
Venue: Dewan Sri Pinang
Admission: RM60, RM80, RM100 (Students RM20, Seniors 50% off)

The renowned Italian chamber music group I Musici presents classical excerpts from some of Italy’s famous composers through several eras, as well as a contemplative interpretation of Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

I Musici is the oldest chamber group in Italy, and based on reviews, their performance here in Penang promises to be an emotional and majestic aural experience. This live performance will be truly memorable as even the ensemble’s recorded CDs have been awarded prizes by specialised juries; their production of Four Seasons by Vivaldi sold more than 25 million copies!

Valentine Willie presents 7 artists
Date: 7 June - 7 July
Time: 10.00am - 6.00pm
Venue: Whiteaways Arcade
Admission: Free

Top contemporary art collector, gallerist and curator Valentine Willie presents works by Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Jalaini Abu Hassan, Cho
ng Siew Ying, Kow Leong Kiang, Rebecca Wilkinson and Chan Kok Hooi from Malaysia, and Agus Baqul Purnomo from Indonesia.

Visit here for more information.

GTF2013 Commissioned Dance Project
Date: 29 June
Time: 6.15pm

Venue: Victoria Street, starting from Lorong Lumut
Admission: Free

This contemporary dance journey revitalises the tradition of street performances in the city, mapping the energy, behaviour and playfulness of George Town. This choreography is devised to celebrate cultural commonalities and to draw bridges across differences between our neighbouring countries, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Streets and five-foot ways (‘kaki lima’) will be used as performance stages in this delightful journey of dance, play and memory. Kaki Lima is presented by Ombak-Ombak ARTStudio and PEARL (Penang Arts Link), choreographed by Aida Redza (Malaysia) and Jefri Andi Usman (Indonesia) and features dancers from NAFA Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Singapore and Ombak Dancers Penang.

Bridges & Kaki Lima will be performed during the Victoria Street Project, a one-day event along the stretch of Victoria Street in George Town, Penang.

Date: 6 July
Time: 8.30pm
Venue: Dewan Sri Pinang
Admission: RM40, RM60, RM80 (Students RM20, Seniors 50% off)

Pro Musica returns in our programming this year with four outstanding international opera singers: Julie Mossay (soprano), Ines Madeira (mezzo soprano), Enrico Casari (tenor) and Laurant Kubla (bass/baritone) with a repertoire by Handel, Mozart, Bellini, Donizetti, Bizet, Delibes and Rossini.

Photography Festival
Date: 21-30 June
Venue: Various locations

This inaugural photography festival aims to engage and exhibit photography works by both professionals and amateurs through a series of public exhibitions, talks and forums, workshops and portfolio reviews.

Participating photographers include Texas-born Maggie Steber (who worked with the Smithsonian and National Geographic), Ian Teh from London (Time and Newsweek) and Che Ahmad Azhar (‘Chemat’) from Multimedia University, Malaysia.

The full schedule of events can be found here.

Film Symposium
Date: 28 June
Venue: PenangPAC, Straits Quay

'Roughcut' features regional filmmaking talent in Tropfest South East Asia’s first public activity in Penang. Tropfest SEA, part of the world’s largest film festival, present this film symposium together with a series conversations focused specifically on the craft and production of storytelling. This full-day event aims to cultivate outstanding storytelling on-screen and cultivate dynamic and creative filmmakers.

Date: 7 June - 7 July
Venue: Various locations
Admission Free

As an expansion to Mirrors George Town by Ernest Zacharevic (GTF2012), Secret Gardens of Earthly Delights continues to capture the spirit and living heritage known to Penang and George Town. Unique gardens are created in selected sites around George Town to form a public trail. Gardeners, landscape artists and installation artists were invited and selected to contribute their artistic skills towards improving the city’s landscape. The project launches on June 7.

Opening Ceremony
Date: 8 June
Venue: Esplanade field
Catch the master kiters with their beautiful kites at our opening ceremony, featuring representatives from ASEAN Kite Council, a rousing percussion group, a fiesta of events and activities from our NGO and community friends. Free kites will be distributed. The event’s main highlight happens in the evening, so hang around.

Forum, Dialogue & Music Gala
Date: 15 & 16 June
Venue: Town Hall
Admission: Free (Talks - upon registration)

Arus Melayu explores the complexity and diversity of the word and notion of ‘Melayu’ in the presentation of artefacts, ideas, perspectives and theories on genealogy, language and literature, design, motifs and architecture. The highlight of the event, which includes exhibition and music from Penang and the Malay diaspora, is a full-day talk featuring an exchange of ideas and perspectives by some of the top thinkers and experts on the evolution of Malay literature and language, genealogy, diaspora, trade and commerce, and the exchange of culture. Confirmed speakers are Dr Shaharir Mohamad Zain, Dr Muhammad Haji Salleh, Dain Said, and Eddin Khoo.

UNESCO World Heritage Site Anniversary Celebration
Date: 5 - 7 July
Venue: Various locations

A 3-day long celebration commemorating the inscription of George Town as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008! It is a celebration of the living heritage of George Town, demonstrated through traditional and multicultural arts and practices, food, craft, and events that highlight historical and cultural pride. This year’s Heritage Celebrations will take place on July 5, 6 and 7.

An online event booklet can be accessed here.

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