Theatres, performing arts events allowed with live audience from March 10

Under new MKN guidelines, theatres and performing arts venues can now reopen with a live audience from March 10. Photo: KLPac

All events, shows or live performances in the creative industry will finally be allowed to be held with a live audience from March 10.

Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob made this announcement at his 5pm press conference today, stressing that performance venues in states under the conditional movement control order (CMCO) will be allowed with a 50% capacity while in states under the recovery MCO (RMCO), it is subject to the size of the hall with physical distancing in place.

He also advised the venue operators to adhere to the public health guidelines provided by the Government to ensure the safety of the patrons.

"This announcement has been much anticipated and hard fought for by not only our entire team but many, many other arts organisations, artistes and arts workers," read a statement from Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts (KLPac) following the Government's announcement.

“We feel a huge sense of relief as most arts organisations and event organisers are at breaking point... we now have a shot of surviving this whole nightmare and start our road to recovery, ” says KLPac’s co-founder Datuk Faridah Merican.

KLPac will reopen its doors to the public at the end of March with Faridah’s staging of the new musical Bollywood Dreams.

After months in the dark and pandemic-related uncertainties, the Damansara Performing Arts Centre’s (DPAC) is looking forward to restarting its live programme, which is mostly focused on traditional arts and dance.

“We're grateful for this announcement. To be honest, we were afraid that the arts would be left behind. Now, we can reopen and people in theatre can get back to work, ” says Datin Jane Lew Siew Ting, DPAC founder.

Kelvin Wong, founder of theatre collective Theatresauce, also welcomes the announcement.

“This is great news! We're grateful to those who've endlessly pushed for our (arts) spaces to reopen. We're also excited to see what other theatre companies, especially the smaller ones, will be up to in 2021, ” says Wong.

Theatresauce’s 2021 season was supposed to start in March but it has since been moved to June.

"Vigilance, awareness, empathy and improvisation are more important now than ever, ” he adds with regards to theatre’s role in ensuring arts venues and events are safe spaces for the public.

Theatresauce’s 2021 season will start with its Emerging Directors Lab’s first showcase from June 9-13.

The announcement today also means that new arts venue the Petaling Jaya Performing Arts Centre (PJPac) can finally get back on track for its launch.

PJPac was supposed to be launched in March. Due to the MCO, it has now been postponed and pushed to a June opening.

“This announcement is extremely important to us as we can now firm up our 'Full Load Test' activities for the month of April and May with our content producers. We are glad there is no more guessing or having Plan A, B, C, and digital, ” says Brian Kwan, PJPac's theatre manager.

“The creative industry can slowly start to rebuild, with public health and safety measures in place, ” he concludes.

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