Five Arts Centre introduces 'Open House' initiative, offering free use of its venue

Five Arts Centre in Kuala Lumpur is offering its studio/rehearsal space for free until Dec 31 to help boost independent performing arts programmes and art projects. Pandemic SOPs and public health safety guidelines must be observed. Photo: Filepic

Are you an arts group looking to start a new project in the second half of 2020? Do you have a brilliant idea for a post-pandemic project, but don’t have a space to set it up?

Kuala Lumpur's the Five Arts Centre’s "Open House" initiative can help you out. The performing arts collective is sharing its Kotak@Five Arts Centre studio in Taman Tun Dr Ismail as a free space for the arts community to use until Dec 31.

“Yes it’s true! We’re sharing our space for free, for artists who need a space to rehearse, to experiment, to develop their creative practice. They can hold rehearsals, small group meetings of up to 15 people max, or have discussions, screenings and forums for a maximum of 30 people. The only criteria for their event is that they won’t be charging others for payment, ” says June Tan, theatre producer and member of Five Arts Centre.

Tan adds that Kotak@Five Arts Centre is a rehearsal studio with a mirror, which can be converted into a black or white box. Art groups or individuals can block off this space for up to 40 hours max. The only rule is that users have to clean the space after their session, and be responsible in controlling how many people are allowed in. Social distancing rules must be strictly observed.

The reason Five Arts Centre was able to provide this initiative, says Tan, is because Five Arts Centre is one of the recipients of the Cendana Arts Organisation Funding Programme. Its rental costs is helped by the grant.

“We think this initiative will be useful for those who are rehearsing, or who are trying out something experimental. People can also come and use the space to meet, to discuss their work even for a few hours, ” says Tan.

She reveals that the idea for this initiative came about a month ago, when the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for live events were still being finalised.

“It felt like the performing arts was the last to 'resume' operations and we were still stuck, feeling like we’re going to remain closed, being in limbo. We just got tired of that feeling.

“How do we resume forging connections again? Under the need to be careful, how do we remain receptive and open? We needed to come together again in a physical, material sense, as opposed to the virtual.”

The Open House initiative, launched on July 1, has already received a lot of response, which Tan sees as a very positive sign.

“My hope for the local art scene is that the gap between the need for arts and culture is finally reconciled with structural changes that will allow our arts, our artistic thinking and our creativity to be developed and deepened, ” says Tan.

For more info on bookings - first come, first served - for Kotak@TTDI, email

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