George Town Festival reveals exciting lineup this year

Svara Asean featuring Southeast Asian artists will open the George Town Festival this year. — Picture courtesy from George Town Festival
Svara Asean featuring Southeast Asian artists will open the George Town Festival this year. — Picture courtesy from George Town Festival

GEORGE TOWN, June 8 — The annual George Town Festival returns this year with a new lineup of programmes including free performances for locals starting July 28.

This year, the month-long festival will stretch for five weeks until September 3 and will feature over 100 shows, out of which 60 are local content.

“This year, GTF will open with a weekend of Asean flavours, art, design and sounds,” festival director Joe Sidek said at a press conference with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today.

Southeast Asian artists including Madrigal Singers from Philippines, Gus Teja from Indonesia, AnChee from Thailand and local artists Adibah Noor and Sean Ghazi will open the festival in “Svara Asean” at Dewan Sri Pinang on July 28.

Award-winning director Royston Abel, who brought “The Manganiyar Seduction” in 2012 and “The Kitchen” in 2014, returns this year to present “The Manganiyar Classroom” on August 5 and 6.

Catch performances by seven acrobats from Australian acrobatics ensemble, Gravity & Other Myths, in “A Simple Space” which will show on August 11 and 12.

All the way from Beijing, choreographer Tao Ye brings “6” and “8” from his “Straight Line Trilogy” which is a study of dance and movements on August 25 and 26.

Local choreographer Aida Redza, who has brought spectacular outdoor performances at previous GTF events, will team up with director Naohiko Umewaka this year to present “The Italian Restaurant” — a story of a meeting between a woman and a man in a restaurant. “The Italian Restaurant” plays on August 26 and 27 at Loft 29.

A Simple Space by Gravity & Other Myths to show on August 11 and 12. — Picture courtesy from George Town Festival
A Simple Space by Gravity & Other Myths to show on August 11 and 12. — Picture courtesy from George Town Festival

GTF 2017 is focusing on reaching out to the community and children so there are also children-friendly shows for the whole family such as “The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik” about deep sea exploration, “Chorus” an installation of kinetic sculptures to the accompaniment of spinning sound machines, “Cosmicomic Toyscape Workshop” featuring life-sized toys and “Cell” a puppet theatre by Smoking Apples & Dogfish.

Joe is also appealing to corporations and well-wishers to sponsor tickets for students and communities.

“We are seeking sponsors for 1,000 tickets for students and 1,000 tickets for communities to promote the arts to them,” he said.

GTF 2017 is supported by the Penang state government, PBA Holdings, Penang Development Corporation (PDC) and Penang Island City Council.

Tickets for most of the performances lined up for GTF 2017 are now open for sale. Find out about the programme line-up at georgetownfestival.com and tickets can be purchased online at redtix.com.