PenangPac faces imminent closure after losing financial lifeline

  • Arts
  • Friday, 05 Nov 2021

PenangPac faces an uncertain future after a 10-year partnership between The Actors Studio and E&O Berhad came to a premature end. E&O Berhad has withdrawn from the partnership, cutting off its patronage for PenangPac. Photo: Filepic

The fate of the Performing Arts Centre Of Penang (PenangPac) in George Town is hanging by a thread after funding partner Eastern & Oriental (E&O) Group recently pulled its support from the performing arts venue after 10 years of patronage.

“The withdrawal ends the rent-free arrangement for PenangPac in Straits Quay which was the main reason it could sustain until today and the basis of our initial partnership.

“Moving forward, we will need to raise an additional RM1.5mil per year on top of other deposits that will be charged. Whether it is at all possible in this climate is another question altogether,” reads a Facebook post by KLPac co-founders Datuk Faridah Merican and Joe Hasham.

Without any strong financial backing, PenangPac, the sister venue of KLPac, is set to close its doors.

PenangPac, which boasts a 300-seat theatre, a 160-seat Black Box and three studios, has provided the space for many Malaysian and international arts practitioners to rehearse and stage shows in George Town over the last 10 years.

It has hosted nearly 1,000 performances and events (including 100 international troupes), entertained 250,000 theatregoers, educated almost 1,500 students, reached out to over 50 schools and provided 2,700 students their first exposure to the arts and culture world through free introductory workshops.

To mark a bittersweet anniversary, PenangPac is hosting its anniversary show titled A Decade With PenangPac from Nov 11-13 at its Stage 1 theatre space.

Hosted by Karam Tabba, 10 acts will take the stage to commemorate PenangPac’s stage history including a mime show, short musical acts, classical dance and a surprise performance by The Actors Studio Seni Teater Rakyat.

“As we digest this difficult piece of news and its implications, we take a step back and ask, what kind of a Penang do we want to leave to our children and grandchildren? One that just values economic prosperity?

“PenangPac at the end of the day exists because of and for the people here. We hope with all our heart that it will be protected so that it can benefit our future generation,” the statement concludes.

PenangPac, arguably the northern region’s only fully-integrated arts centre, was launched on Nov 11, 2011 to support the Penang arts scene after The Actors Studio’s Penang branch at Greenhall closed down in 2009.

Located at Straits Quay in Seri Tanjung Pinang, the 2,043sq m arts centre, modelled after KLPac, was built in partnership by The Actors Studio and E&O.

E&O Group declined to comment when contacted earlier today.

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PenangPac , E&O Group , funding , Penang , arts scene , pandemic


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