A royal night out for the arts

  • Arts
  • Monday, 16 Sep 2013

The Royal Arts Gala returns for the second time with the theme, “The Arts, The Soul Of A Nation”. 

WHAT price the soul of a nation? If the arts truly represent a country’s soul, how much would you pay to help keep Malaysia’s soul alive?

That’s a question that will be put to the nation – and especially the nation’s private sector – when the Royal Arts Gala returns for the second time, this time themed “The Arts, The Soul Of A Nation”.

The inaugural gala in November last year raised RM718,000; the event was held at a hotel and featured a show as well as a silent auction of unique and luxury donated items.

As with last year’s gala, the 2013 event, slated for Nov 23, will also see the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah lending their royal presence to this worthy cause.

And this year, the organisers are taking it a notch higher by placing the evening of fine food and entertainment in the fountain courtyard of the old Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur – the former home of Malaysia’s Kings and Queens seems a very apt location indeed for this royal event!

What’s more, attendees will be taken on a private tour of the palace, which has been turned into a museum.

That will be followed by dinner and a 45-minute musical directed by Adlin Aman Ramlie, who played the sultan in Puteri Gunung Ledang the movie; he also worked on P. Ramlee The Musical, Uda Dan Dara and Akademi Fantasia among others. Working with him on the show is award-winning composer Onn San, whose works include The Secret Life Of Nora and Everworld.

Hopefully, all this will attract the attention of not only individuals but also corporations willing to come to the aid of the our ailing arts industry.

Considering how the arts are so deeply woven into the rich tapestry that makes up this country, it’s almost silly not to support them.

Certainly, the event’s organiser, My Performing Arts Agency (MyPAA), will be hoping for an even better showing than last year come Nov 23.

MyPAA was founded early last year by arts enthusiast Izan Satrina to act as a bridge between artists and sponsors.

The agency worked with the National Culture and Arts Department and the Tourism and Culture Ministry on last year’s Royal Arts Gala to raise funds for deserving art practitioners, chosen by a panel from public nominations.

Recently, MyPAA proudly awarded the RM718,000 raised to the 31 chosen recipients; they included Hands Percussion, Rumah Anak Teater, Shakespeare Demystified, Temple of Fine Arts and Pentas Project Theatre Production.

The recipients were divided into four categories: promotion of Malaysian artists or works overseas, the facilitation of international co-productions and collaborations involving Malaysian and overseas talent, the development of technical and managerial skills among Malaysian performing arts managers and administrators, and research and documentation projects in the performing arts.

The award ceremony was followed by the announcement of the 2013 Royal Arts Gala, after which Izan shared: “I would like to be honest and say that we can’t promise you the world right now but we can certainly promise you that it’s going to get better. The fact that 31 recipients are here today to receive the funds we raised from the gala, I think it’s a really good start.”

She added that on top helping to build sustainability within the performing arts sector, the gala is also a way of raising the profile of the performing arts to the private sector.

“And there is something many of them don’t know, and that is, any support for the initiative is tax exempt!” said Izan.

The second Royal Arts Gala will see the introduction of the Royal Medallion award. This will be conferred on two individuals: an arts practitioner for his or her achievements in the craft, and a corporate figure for his or her contributions towards the development of the arts.

Here’s where you can have your say, as the public can nominate anyone deserving of these prestigious medals. Your nomination should be based on the individual’s contributions to Malaysian arts from July 2012 to August 2013. Go to mypaa.com.my for further details.

While the man in the street can certainly do his bit to support the arts – go watch more performances! – it is the private sector that has deep enough pockets to make a crucial difference.

And to that sector, Datuk Norliza Rofli, National Culture and Arts Department director-general, has a message (albeit one that was conveyed with a laugh): “If the Agong is involved in this, why can’t you be?”

The Royal Arts Gala 2013 will be held on Nov 23 at the former Istana Negara, Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur. Tables are priced at RM15,000 (the Gamelan table), RM25,000 (Odissi), RM35,000 (Wayang Kulit), and RM50,000 (Mak Yong) per table. Seats are limited to a total of 250.

For further details, go to mypaa.com.my. For reservations, call 03-6207 9566 or e-mail rag@mypaa.com.my.

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