Boh Cameronian Arts Awards: A spirit of creative freedom

  • Arts
  • Sunday, 06 Apr 2014

Kakiseni president Low Ngai Yuen at the 11th Boh Cameronian Arts Awards Nominees Party at Alexis, The Gardens Mall.

The 11th Boh Cameronian Arts Awards nominees capture the local art scene’s vibrant spirit.

NAM Ron was over the moon when he found out that Teater Kompilasi Nam Ron, a compilation of three plays he wrote and directed, received nine nominations in this year’s Boh Cameronian Arts Awards.

“The audience absolutely loved it when we staged it last year, but it’s still a surprise to me that we got so many nominations,” said Nam Ron, during a chat at the 11th Boh Cameronian Arts Awards 2014 Nominees Party at Alexis Bistro, The Gardens Mall, last week.

Being nominated in six categories in Theatre – Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Director, Best Original Script, Best Lighting Design, and Best Set Design – is further validation, Nam Ron says, of a successful production that touches the hearts of people.

“My stories are inspired by stories I read in the newspapers, my reflections on life and society, and my dreams. These are stories quite close to my heart,” he added.

Teater Kompilasi Nam Ron, presented by Rumah Anak Teater, is a work that was 10 years in the making. The plays have previously been staged separately, but it was only last year that they were presented as one production.

‘My stories are inspired by stories I read in the newspapers, my reflections on life and society, and my dreams. These are stories quite close to my heart,’ says Nam Ron, who saw his Teater Kompilasi Nam Ron receive nine nominations at this year’s Boh Cameronian Arts Awards.

“It’s a work that has seen multiple edits and lots of reflection … it feels like so long ago when it first started, such a long journey,” noted Nam Ron.

“One of the most memorable comments I’ve had from staging this production is being told by women that I am a man who, through the stories I write, manages to capture apa perempuan rasa (what women feel).”

High praise? “Definitely,” he said with a grin.

Actor Aqasha, nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, relates that this is his first theatre performance.

“I’m nominated for my first play ever, so I feel quite lucky to be here,” said the actor with 12 years of experience in television and film.

His character in Laut Yang Tenang, one of the three plays in Teater Kompilasi Nam Ron, is a married man dealing with the aftermath of an affair when the woman he is involved with dies.

“She dies when we are having sexual intercourse … it’s a serious thing! The play is a very dark and heavy piece,” said Aqasha, adding that the most challenging part of taking on this role was a 10-minute monologue he had to do.

“Definitely the most difficult part, because talking by yourself is not something you do every day!”

Now bitten by the theatre bug, he hopes there will be many more theatre scripts for him to work on in the future.

Light attack: Space Age — The Phantom Power, which was nominated for Best Musical Director/Conductor and Best Production Values at the 11th Boh Cameronian Arts Awards, is presented by dmuses with musical direction by Ng Chor Guan. — Photo by ALAN YONG.

Others with multiple nominations include Ng Chor Guan and Yudi Yap for Music, Wong Jyh Shyong and TerryandTheCuz for Dance, and Nick Choo and Ho Lin Huay for Musical Theatre.

“I feel very happy that I am nominated,” said Ng, who is artistic director and music composer for Space Age – The Phantom Power, presented by dmuses. He was nominated for Best Musical Director/Conductor and the production nominated for Best Production Value in the Music category. (Ng was also nominated for Best Music and Sound Design in the Dance category for In A Space of Time, choreographed by Wong Jyh Shyong and presented by Damansara Performing Arts Centre.)

Clearly, Ng – whose ambition as a child was to be an astronaut – spent a fair bit of time toying with the space theme last year.

Space Age, for instance, is an audio and visual performance with an astronomy theme. Ng composed eight musical movements for this production, which combines sounds of the flute, French horn, piano, viola, theremin and electronic music on laptop.

“I envisioned the show as a spaceship bringing people into space, an exploration of the unknown. I didn’t end up being an astronaut, but I can use my skills in music to create a space travel atmosphere,” says Ng.

This year’s Awards has over 100 nominees vying for the 35 awards up for grabs in these categories: Dance, Music, Theatre, Musical Theatre, Technical Award for Musical Theatre and Kakiseni Audience Choice.

It pays tribute to the 1960s Pop Yeh Yeh era, with a focus on three well-loved figures who embody its spirit of creative freedom: Tan Sri P. Ramlee, Krishen Jit and Datuk Usman Awang.

“We are very pleased to be able to commemorate, celebrate and remember these legends. This is what the Awards this year is about – remembering the greats and having a conversation about our history; about what was, what is, and what will be,” said Kakiseni president Low Ngai Yuen who hopes that the Awards will go nationwide and continue to grow.

The Boh Cameronian Awards, founded by Kakiseni in 2002 and held annually (with a two-year hiatus in 2011 and 2012), is the only awards that judges live music, dance, theatre and musical theatre performance in Malaysia.

Next year’s awards will welcome a New School category with the aim of encouraging young people to get involved in the performing arts.

The 11th Boh Cameronian Arts Awards night happens at Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur on April 27. In the awards lead-up, activities will be held from April 14 to 26 at Pavilion KL and other public spaces around Klang Valley as part of the inSENItea campaign. Visit for updates, or follow them @kakiseniTweets.

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