A pillar for the performing arts

The stylish lobby of PJPac. — Photo by PJPacThe stylish lobby of PJPac. — Photo by PJPac

ALL civilised and developed societies have one thing in common – a strong and thriving arts industry. And key to that, is having world-class facilities.

Leading the way in Malaysia is the Petaling Jaya Performing Arts Centre (PJPAC), strategically located inside 1 Utama’s newest extension, 1 Utama E, in the transit-oriented development of Bandar Utama, Selangor.

It comprises a 684-seater, fully-equipped proscenium theatre (Stage 1 Theatre), an experimental black box (Nero Event Space), as well as a talent and creative incubator space (1ncubator).

PJPAC’s objective is to provide premium quality spaces and facilities to aid the cultivation of talent within the local arts and entertainment industries. At the same time, it also caters for corporate and

commercial events including private shows, launches, conferences and more.

This creates opportunities for all Malaysians and empowers communities by maximising participation in the engaging, inspiring and entertaining cultural scene of Petaling Jaya and the greater Klang Valley.

Theatre manager Brian Kwan said PJPAC’s interior design concept was based on three key strategies – adaptive, flexible and scene transition – while the main theme of retro sci-fi was meant to evoke the 1960’s depiction of futurism.

“This represents the best of our past and also our hopes for the future. We believe that respecting and appreciating history would help in the cultivation and growth of the arts moving forward.

“When one walks into PJPAC, they will experience the Malaysian performing arts scene in all its glory.

“Our spaces host productions by respected legends and present-day heroes alike,” Kwan shared.

These factors were what made PJPAC a standout winner in the Purpose-Built category of the

Malaysia Property Award 2022.

Stage 1 Theatre of PJPac is Malaysia’s newest proscenium theatre. – Photo by PJPacStage 1 Theatre of PJPac is Malaysia’s newest proscenium theatre. – Photo by PJPac

State-of-the-art facilities

PJPAC’s Stage 1 Theatre is Malaysia’s newest proscenium theatre and equipped with both cutting-edge production equipment and versatile acoustic architecture.

This includes a 10m x 5m P3.9 LED screen, Follow Spot tracking system, and a 40-bar active counter-weight fly system that allows for multiple set changes and even flying a performer across the stage.

At 970sq m, it is the largest proscenium theatre in Selangor.

Many aspects of its design took into account common shortcomings across the industry such as the

lack of dressing rooms and back-stage space, as well as insufficient technical equipment.

“The owner, being an avid theatre-goer, intended to create a well-designed space that addressed

the challenges faced by local performing arts groups at other Malaysian theatres.

“We engaged with performing arts stakeholders for key design inputs. This culminated in a per-

forming arts space that not only meet the needs of its users but also exceeded their expectations in

terms of layout, design and equipment,” Kwan said.

Stage 1 Theatre has three dressing rooms accommodating up to 100 pax with attached bath and toilet facilities.

A large loading lift and operable wall also facilitates easy movement of large props, sets and even vehicles into the theatre.

Meanwhile, the Nero Event Space caters to a variety of small-to-mid scale productions, events and functions. Its flexible, modular seating platforms can easily accommodate custom event requirements.

The 330sq m space holds up to 200 audience members seated or 300 in a standing arrangement. Its dressing room fits up to 30 pax and has an attached bath and toilet.

The 1ncubator is a hub for talent development activities related to dance, music, performing arts and language, among others. It boasts a fully equipped recording studio, as well as three studios for classes, performances, workshops, conferences and rehearsals.

The venue hire of PJPAC comes with a list of technical equipment (sound, light and visual) to ensure all parties have all the equipment needed to execute their events or productions without incurring additional costs on rental. This, coupled with a skilled technical and management team, extensive marketing channels and public accessibility via all forms of transport are what sets PJPAC apart from other venues.

Notably, it is also fully compliant with Universal Design Guidelines and is disabled-friendly for both audience and talent members. There are ramps and handrails for the disabled and dedicated areas for wheelchair access at both the front and back of the stage.

The 30.40.50. dance Performance held at nero Event Space. — Photo by Keith LiowThe 30.40.50. dance Performance held at nero Event Space. — Photo by Keith Liow

Complementing each other

The addition of PJPAC truly underscores 1 Utama Shopping Centre’s ethos of being ‘all in one’ and generates immeasurable benefits for stakeholders across multiple industries.

Audiences can enjoy the mall’s plethora of dining and retail amenities before and after shows. There

are ample parking lots on-site and it is easily accessible via major highways and public transportation – being directly linked to the Bandar Utama MRT Station and the 1 Utama Transport Hub.

This new segment of visitors will bring spillover benefits for the over 700 existing tenants running the entire retail gamut from F&B to fashion, accessories, books, toys, home furniture, IT and fitness – as well as for other businesses in the immediate vicinity.

There are also opportunities for cross-promotion.

PJPAC leverages on the 500,000-strong loyalty database of 1 Utama, known as ONECARD, and uses EDMs and SMS blasting to promote shows and events.

Augmenting this are pop-up showcases inside the mall.

A recent sold out concert at Stage 1 Theatre. – Photo by PJPacA recent sold out concert at Stage 1 Theatre. – Photo by PJPac

“It is vitally important for the mall to continuously engage with and enhance its surrounding communities. And what better way to do so than facilitating the growth of the arts industry from grass-roots to amateurs and professional performers.

“PJPAC is a safe space for those who know of the arts or are intrigued by the arts to view, enjoy,

explore, experience and create. With the inclusion of 1ncubator Studios, we anticipate more participation of all ages to learn and engage with the performing arts. Because the arts should be available to every level of society,” Kwan said.

So far, the types of activities hosted at PJPAC by different hirers include workshops for children,

self-improvement seminars and courses for different industries, product launches, performing arts events such as music, theatre and dance, as well as e-sports.

Kwan said they were also able to provide much-needed support to local NGOs such as MyDance

Alliance by waiving the venue hire fee.

This was also done for several fundraising productions that aided charitable causes.

There are also two hotels connected to 1 Utama E. Be it foreign tourists or Malaysian audiences from other states, these make a convenient base for them to access world-class, creative and cultural opportunities.

“We will continue to provide the best-in-class facilities to support the Malaysian performing arts industry and inspire new generations to explore and get involved. We also look forward to having more international productions in PJPAC. These would lead to skill transfers and knowledge exchange that would ultimately help Malaysian talents flourish on the international stage,” he added.

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