Award-winning Malaysian theatre show crowdfunds to get to Swedish arts festival


Terrafunk Theatre Collective is crowdfunding RM35,000 to take its production 'Into The Symbiocene' to an arts festival in Sweden. Photo: Abdul Sami Shahid

A reworked version of Symbiocene, which won Best Set And/Or Visual Design at the recent 19th Boh Cameronian Arts Awards, has been selected for the 2024 Stockholm Fringe Festival (STOFF) in Sweden, happening from Aug 26 to Sept 1.

Terrafunk Theatre Collective is relying on crowdfunding to raise RM35,000 for its theatre production and travel costs for the festival.

In its debut at Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC) in Petaling Jaya last December, Symbiocene, an “experimental eco-punk play”, featured Aila Azizul, Camillea Benjamin, and Tharanii Karthigesu.

Written by playwright-director Lim Sheng Hui, the play is inspired by Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht’s book, Earth Emotions: New Words For A New World. In the book, Albrecht envisions a period of reintegration between humans and nature, which he calls the “Symbiocene”.

‘We may be a small independent theatre group, but we’re a driven bunch. We want to share our work internationally,’ says Lim. Photo: Handout ‘We may be a small independent theatre group, but we’re a driven bunch. We want to share our work internationally,’ says Lim. Photo: Handout

“For many of us, it’s our first time having the opportunity to travel abroad to perform at a fringe festival, so we feel very grateful and humbled,” says Lim.

“It’s also wonderful to expand the original production of Symbiocene into something better,” she adds.

Into The Symbiocene is a 60-minute physical theatre performance that highlights threats to Malaysian rainforests, while also addressing climate future.

“The play itself will incorporate elements of satire with a more immediate message for climate action and our vision of living in harmony with nature,” says Lim.

Due to the currency exchange rate and high costs, travelling to Europe is expensive, and Lim sees crowdfunding as the solution to get Terrafunk Theatre Collective to the Swedish arts festival.

Liew Chee Heai, the production’s award-winning set designer. Photo: The Star/Art Chen Liew Chee Heai, the production’s award-winning set designer. Photo: The Star/Art Chen

“We may be a small independent theatre group, but we’re a driven bunch. We want to share our work internationally. Every amount we receive (through crowdfunding) will directly support our travel or production costs in Sweden,” she says.

The group is accepting donations based on a tiered system – those who wish to help bring the play to Stockholm can choose one of five tiers.

Each tier will have its own perks, ranging from having your name included on a poster that will be displayed at STOFF and a social media shout-out, to a masterclass with the production’s award-winning set designer Liew Chee Heai and even getting the chance to watch a preview of the play.

The crowdfunding campaign runs until July 8.

More info here.

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