The Boh Cameronian Arts Awards have always been devoted to recognising excellence in Malaysia's performing arts scene. For more than a decade, it has awarded prizes to the best music, dance, theatre and musical theatre performances that the country can offer.
For its 14th edition this year, however, the awards are headed in a new direction. Some categories will be removed from the awards. Instead of being divided into categories, all shows will be vying for the 12 awards.
Each show will compete to be in the year’s “Best Of” list. Therefore, the different categories are no longer mutually exclusive.
“We believe that our artists and industry players have the ability to shine and exhibit skills and talent, and create deep impact across a wide audience,” says Low Ngai Yuen, president of performing arts group Kakiseni, which organises the awards.
“By awarding outstanding performances without restricting the competition to individual categories, we are creating a platform for higher standards that will further encourage the growth of the industry,” she adds.
Founded in 2002, the Cammies is endorsed by the National Department For Culture And Arts under the Ministry Of Tourism And Culture Malaysia.
The “Best Of” 2016 list includes:
1. Dance piece Black and White @Variation Rerun 2016: Choreographed by Anthony Meh and Aman Yap
2. Dance piece From Soho To Shinjuku Half Man Half Myth: Choreographed by Loh Pit Fang and Low Ming Yam
3. Musical theatre production Into The Woods: Directed by Nell Ng, musical direction by Shensation
4. Theatre play Richard III: Directed by Deric Gan
5. Drama with music elements Shakespeare Goes Bollywood: Directed by Matthew Koh
6. Theatre play The Language Archive: Directed by Ghafir Akbar
The nominees for this year’s awards will be from these six shows.
However, Low says it is possible for there to be exceptions, where the judges determine there is an outstanding performance by an individual from a show not on the list, thus making him or her eligible for an award.
Moreover, Low says while outstanding technical skills are important, the awards will also honour productions that are game changers. Two Malaysian-born artistes and a homegrown collective have been chosen as these game changers for the awards' social media campaign. They are Rani Moorthy, a theatre producer/filmmaker and Rendra Zawawi, a music producer/singer-songwriter.
The third is Kun Seng Keng Lion And Dragon Dance Association, 11-time title holder of the Genting World Lion Dance Championship.
“It is about daring to be different, to move outside comfort zones and to take leaps of faith. It is also about taking risks experimenting with different styles to produce something out of this world that has the power to impact and engage with audiences,” says Low.
Platform for producers
Right now, the shows on the list are chosen by a panel of executive judges. They comprise local arts professionals from various disciplines of the performing arts. There will also be a flagging committee to identify shows of outstanding quality. All the executive judges will have to attend the assessment for the Best Of 2017 list.
Low adds that shows on the list would be given top priority for meetings with potential investors and sponsors. This may include international festival curators and directors.
“Starting this year, the awards will be reinvented as a platform for producers to meet potential sponsors keen to financially back local performing arts companies,” says Low.
At press time, the Boh Cameronian Technical Awards will not be given out this year. Meanwhile, there are plans to repackage the Junior Cammies.
The 14th annual Boh Cameronian Arts Awards will be presented at the St Regis Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on May 7. Visit www.kakiseni.com for more information.