Each year the capital city of Penang lights up with a month-long celebration of heritage, culture, arts and community that has grown into one of Southeast Asia’s most exciting multi-disciplinary events. It underscores the state’s reputation as a diverse and culturally abundant area, and has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage Site over the years.
Spread over the 29 days is a rich programme of performing arts, music, photography, film, street performances and exhibitions that weave together traditional and contemporary themes.
Whist (Photo Credit: AΦE)
A Grand Opening
The George Town Festival kicks off with Kelantan: A Living Heritage, a production which pays homage to the state known as the ‘cradle of Malay culture’. Captivating art forms like Asyik, a royal court dance, Mak Yong, a form of dance-drama, Dikir Barat, a lively group-singing and Wayang Kulit, a type of shadow puppetry combine to create a mesmerising show.
The opening weekend also features the more modern Between Tiny Cities, where the language of hip hop and raw energy of b-boy battles are used to create a powerful choreography.
Between Tiny Cities (Photo Credit: Pippa Samaya)
Not-to-be-missed is WHIST, a showcase where viewers are invited to perceive a story through a myriad of perspectives using Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and physical theatre. Elsewhere, some of Malaysia’s top musicians and performers come together for Under the Kayon Tree, retelling legends on stage with dance and theatre.
There is an incredible amount packed into the month so make sure to visit the George Town Festival website where you’ll find details on each of the 100 over events taking place.
George Town Festival
Where: Various venues around George Town, Penang
When: 4 Aug-2 Sept
Tel: 04 261 6308