'Arts For All Seasons' series winds up 2022 with cultural events across Malaysia

The upcoming 'Food Over Fire: The Hearth Brought To Light' festival in Kuching is set to give visitors a taste of traditional Sarawak food culture alongside programmes surrounding arts, history, music and more. Photo: Handout

The Arts For All Seasons (ArtsFAS) series, presented by Yayasan Hasanah, is set to close out the year with a list of arts, cultural and heritage events happening around the country.

From an immersive theatre show on the sandy shores of Pulau Langkawi, Kedah to a culinary culture festival in the heart of Kuching, Sarawak, there is no shortage of variety on the cards.

A road trip to catch a bangsawan theatre show in Alor Setar, or a traditional Asli music concert in Kuantan, Pahang are other culture-based options to keep in mind.

If you cannot travel beyond the Klang Valley, then ArtsFAS also has a percussion-based show (in Petaling Jaya) and a dance spectacle (in KL) next month to investigate.

The events to check out:


Venue: Shantanand Auditorium, Temple of Fine Arts Malaysia, KL

Date: Nov 16

This week, ArtsFAS is making a stop at the Temple of Fine Arts in Kuala Lumpur. The classical Indian arts outfit is presenting a brand-new musical theatre production titled Irama Rimba, the fourth show under the Ankur banner (which has won several Boh Cameronian Arts awards).

Irama Rimba is a free admission show, which will feature a virtuosic ensemble of multi-ethnic local talents. They include Pangasaasanii Gowrisan (production manager, violin), Hisharudy Mahmud (Malay percussion), Thong Yoong How (shigu, a Chinese drum, and handpan), Eugene Chong (cello), Irena Taib (guitar, music arranger), Hariraam Tingyuan Lam (viola gambus), Prakash Kandasamy (tabla) and others.

Original compositions such as Getaran Jiwa & Apa Khabar Orang Kampung, My Home, Conversations, The Source and Rentak Kita are part of the programme.

More info here.


Venue: Old Court House, Kuching (Nov 25 to Dec 4) and Fort Margherita (Dec 2-4)

Here's a festival programme that encompasses history, tradition, customs, arts and the heritage of Sarawak.

A full-sized live Kelabit community hearth (called "tetel") takes the spotlight as visitors can look forward to a pantomime, traditional performing arts, followed by a festival featuring the traditional cooking practise of “Food Over Fire” ... all happening at the historical Fort Margherita as the primary public space.

It is around the hearth that families congregate to sing, dance, cook and share stories in their daily lives and during traditional festivals, feasts and rituals. The live hearth represents more than a kitchen, it keeps customs alive, enforcing the meaning behind them.

At the Old Court House, you will find storytelling sessions surrounding folklore, myths and legends. Live exhibitions, workshops, cultural showcases, and an arts and craft night market are also tied with heirloom themes. At the auditorium, a series of Sarawak heritage short films will be screened.

The festival is free admission, but the "Food Over Fire" feast is ticketed (RM100).

More info here.


Venue: Auditorium JKKN, Kedah

Date: Dec 2 and 3

Persatuan Bangsawan Warisan Jelapang with the help of Langgeng Bangsawan is on a mission to enhance Kedah's legacy in traditional theatres, through a performance and workshop of Bangsawan Terung Pipit.

The workshop will focus on educating, developing and restoring the aristocratic performing arts, with old world theatre, dance and martial arts in the equation. The show is directed by Saiful Azwan Abdul Aziz and the script written by Morad Ibrahim.

This is a ticketed event.

More info here.

Hands Percussion's Teochew-inspired 'Drumhouse: Honouring A Cultural Heritage' show will take place at PJPAC next month. Photo: Hands PercussionHands Percussion's Teochew-inspired 'Drumhouse: Honouring A Cultural Heritage' show will take place at PJPAC next month. Photo: Hands Percussion


Venue: Stage 1 Theater, PJPAC

Date: Dec 8-11

Hands Percussion will be exploring traditional Teochew music and instruments in its next performance, Drumhouse: Honouring A Cultural Heritage at PJPAC.

The ticket concert will unleash the varying timbre sounds from the shigu drums, 24 festive drumming patterns, percussion techniques and the metallic tones of the gamelan.

The ensemble will also have the ITA Ensemble adding string and woodwind instruments to the Teochew setlist.

Traditional arts practitioner Zamzuriah Zahari is on board for the show, drawing from her previous Hands Percussion’s experiences (Mak Yong and Mek Mulung roles) to transform into a traditional Teochew opera character.

More info here.


Venue: Pantai Chenang, Langkawi, Kedah

Date: Dec 9 and 10

Storytelling collective Suatukala will present Walimatulurus: A Tale Of Two Giants, an updated version of the legend of Mat Chinchang and Mat Raya through an immersive dinner theatre production in Langkawi.

Headlining the Walimatulurus are three of KL’s well-known stars in theatre and comedy - Razif Hashim, Papi Zak and Kuah Jenhan, who will be supported by an ensemble cast of Langkawi talent.

The live performance aims to raise funds for Suatukala’s ongoing initiatives to promote storytelling and the arts among Langkawi children and youth.

Since its inception in 2015, Suatuakala’s community workshops and performances have impacted over 1,000 participants and audience members on the island.

This is a ticketed event.

More info here.


Venue: JKKN Auditorium, Kuantan, Pahang

Date: Dec 10

The Gema Melayu Asli concert by Persatuan Gelanggang Seni Warisan Negeri Pahang is a ticketed event that is inspired by the popularity and uniqueness of classic Malay songs in the Asli style.

A line-up of eight singers, seven musicians and 10 dancers from the East Coast will hit the stage.

There will also be commentary through the concert about the stories behind the Asli songs.

More info here.

Dua Space Dance Theatre (pic) is set for the collaborative show 'Rentak Bumi 2.0' next month in KL with dance companies Sutra Foundation and DiDance. Photo: Dua Space Dance TheatreDua Space Dance Theatre (pic) is set for the collaborative show 'Rentak Bumi 2.0' next month in KL with dance companies Sutra Foundation and DiDance. Photo: Dua Space Dance Theatre


Venue: Panggung Bandaraya DBKL

Date: Dec 16-18

A dance spectacle awaits with the Rentak Bumi 2.0 show, a collaboration between three of Malaysia’s prominent dance companies, Dua Space Dance Theatre, Sutra Foundation and DiDance.

Rentak Bumi 2.0 is also the show to close this year's ArtsFAS season next month. It will feature a multi-cultural celebration of contemporary, traditional and modern dances.

This is a ticketed show.

More info here.

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