In February this year, a wide-ranging initiative kicked off as the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival (YSDAF) launched into action with the all-inclusive theme ‘You, Me + The Arts’. It’s a theme that encapsulates the harmonious nature of the Festival and its righteous mission this year. This August, that comes to a climax with an epic finale that will see some 350 events taking place over one jam-packed weekend.
After two successful years with overwhelming public response, the organisers of the Festival sought to use its well-earned reputation to join together not only the arts but also marginalised and underprivileged communities around Malaysia. In line with this, it linked up with several NGOs including Women’s Aid Organisation , the Malaysian AIDS Council, UNICEF, YMCA Deafbeat and the National Autism Society.
Come August, these groups will be hosting workshops and performances at the finale, which is set to take place at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac). Almost 500 artistes and art workers will be involved in the enormous undertaking which will present a wide sampling of the arts, including dance, music, comedy, theatre, visual arts and children’s theatre.
From workshops on gender equality and bracelet-making with autistic children to an exciting line up of music performances by the likes of indie group Bittersweet, experimental act Pastel Lite and a traditional segment by The Tuyang Initiative, the variety of events across the two days is impressive.
Elsewhere, visitors will be able to try their hands at the Sape, a traditional instrument of the Orang Ulu of Central Borneo, led by renowned master Mathew Ngau. Meanwhile, children are fully catered to with a raft of eye-opening activities including shadow puppetry by Hongjiejie work Station, batik painting, drum workshops and plenty more.
Other groups set to perform include AIIA, NETMBR, Drum Simfoni, Lee Wushu Arts Theatre, Balletbase, Young KL Singers and Kwangtung Dance Company. Andi Miranti, a teenage author/illustrator diagnosed with autism, will be holding a talk, as well as activist Peter Tan who will lead a workshop on disability equality.
Also making a much anticipated return is Adam! The Musical, a piece originally commissioned by the Malaysian AIDS Foundation and first performed a decade ago. Audiences can look forward to a refreshed version of the much-loved musical, which revolves around the AIDS epidemic and the challenges faced by people with HIV.
All in all, expect a fully-loaded festival finale which offers an engaging and interactive experience for all. At no other time in the year is there such a concentrated mixture of events across just two days, and totally free as well. Make your way to klpac this August and witness the arts come alive!
Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival
Where: Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, Sentul Park, Jalan Strachan off Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Kuala Lumpur
When: 18 Aug (10.30am-10pm), 19 Aug (11am-10pm)
Tel: +603 4047 9000