Datuk Faridah Merican, the First Lady of Malaysian Theatre, is rolling up her sleeves to get the performing arts back on track despite the Government’s recent decision to delay the return of live audiences to theatre venues nationwide.
The Malaysian performing arts scene is hurting right now, with the days of empty theatres to continue and no recovery roadmap in place. The Government's health and safety regulations have not been loosened in terms of giving performing arts venues and theatres the opportunity to return with a limited live audience and under strict SOPs.
Instead of waiting, Faridah, 81, who is co-founder of Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) and The Actors Studio, has put together a virtual series of performances of plays, poetry, songs and dances with her team in conjunction with the International Women's Day Celebration 2021.
This 45-minute show will be made available on YouTube, premiering at 8.30pm tonight to help ease the financial crisis faced by the Performing Arts Centre of Penang (PenangPac).
Besides Faridah, the show features Joe Hasham, Ian Chow, Omar Ali, Mark Beau de Silva, Ho Lee Ching, Zhafir Muzani, Leeya Mohamad and many others.
“We love supporting the arts and we love very much supporting PenangPac. We do need your money because without it PenangPac cannot survive. PenangPac is really in dire states so please dig deep and help the performing arts, ” says Faridah.
The pandemic and lockdowns have put PenangPac on the brink, with this outpost theatre space in the north struggling to stay afloat. All of its 12 permanent staff have taken 30% salary cuts, and the venue’s imminent survival is solely dependent on public donations.
"PenangPac will also be presenting a string of other shows and activities to raise funds. Among the activities that viewers will get to enjoy are theatre and musical workshops, wellness classes and streaming of previously staged shows as well as pre-recorded new shows," reads a statement from PenangPac.
The International Women’s Day Celebration 2021 tonight with Faridah is one of the steps to rescue this Penang-based venue, showing how the performing arts community from KLPac are pooling resources and talent in these difficult times for the arts and culture sector.
The International Women’s Day Celebration 2021 plays on YouTube at 8.30pm tonight and will remain available until March 31. To enjoy the show, send a WhatsApp message to +6016-411-2459 for more details. Upon making a minimum donation of RM15, you will be given the YouTube link.