FOR its upcoming second installment, Pitchpad ASEAN decided to level up big-time. On top of splitting the performing arts pitch platform into two sessions, organisers also opened submissions to artists beyond the ASEAN region.
The result? Proposals came in from neighboring countries like Singapore and the Philippines per usual, but this year’s hopefuls also had to square off against entries from Eastern Europe and even Brazil. That’s right, Pitchpad ASEAN has officially gone global! But the rising standard of entries has also resulted in a tougher playing field, and this year only seven applicants have been greenlit to present.
“While there is space for up to 10 submissions to be presented at Pitchpad ASEAN, it remains the committee’s responsibility to put forward those that are excellent or bear high potential,” notes My Performing Arts Agency (MyPAA)‘s Izan Satrina.
There you jaDoes this mean our lucky seven will be getting more stage time? “No, they won’t.” Well, we tried.
This year’s committee meanwhile was composed of ASWARA‘s Wong Oi Min, choreographer Pat Ibrahim, writer and musician Jerome Kugan, and Izan herself.
Keen to know who’s pitching at The Wembley Penang next Sunday? Here’s some insight: this year’s shortlisted applicants comprise three Malaysian entries, and one each from India, Singapore, Ukraine and the Philippines.
Read on to find out more about them!
“The Ensera” by Nading Rhapsody
These guys have been referred to as “messengers” of Borneo’s fast-disappearing culture, bringing back the ancient with a new twist. They also give ethnic music performances a provocative, accessible new edge and the results are quite fantastic.
Nading Rhapsody is a young Sarawakian musical ensemble which has been making the news (check out this fantastic write-up from The Star) and they’re also speaking at TEDx when the franchise hits Johor Bahru next week. Established in 2012, the band has even performed at Tong Tong Festival in the Netherlands!
The Ensera is set to be an avant-garde ethnic musical performance in their trademark bold direction.
“2020: I’m from 2020” by Toccata Studio
This creative studio and performing space in Petaling Jaya is known by many for its vivacious spirit and genuine interest in the community.
Besides hosting round table sessions and dabbling in crowdfunding exercises, Toccata Studio is also house to some of Malaysia’s prized talents — musician Ng Chor Guan and artist Tan E-Jan serve as founders. E-Jan will in fact be pitching on behalf of Toccata, and she’s got contemporary multidisciplinary dance piece 2020: I’m from 2020 which will be premiering at Auditorium DBKL in October.
Their work is set to explore “radical cooperation and the future with a sci-fi twist” and it sounds very exciting based on what we’ve seen.
“Art Battle Kuala Lumpur” by Ruby Subramaniam
This quirky doodler is the only individual applicant to make Pitchpad ASEAN’s shortlist, but she’s brought along quite a huge idea.
After a trip to Brazil which saw her participating in Art Battle — a series of international live painting competitions which give attendees a time limit to paint — Ruby Subramaniam wants to adapt the idea for a Kuala Lumpur audience. As a self-taught visual artist, Ruby has seen her drawings and paintings featured in exhibitions around town, but she’s also a certified digital media strategist with an impressive portfolio.
Make sure to follow Ruby on Facebook to see more of her works!
“Belon” by P7:1SMA Dance
Here at The Daily Seni, we love almost everything Singaporean. After all, it was through MyPAA’s initiatives we were introduced to Singaporean theatre’s Noor Effendy Ibrahim and educator Ahmad Musta’ain. This is also why we’re extra eager to know about P7:1SMA despite the company’s challenging name.
Founded in 2015 by artistic director and choreographer Norhaizad Adam, the dance company is rooted in traditional Malay forms. This year however, P7:1SMA ventured into contemporary dance when an expanded version of Norhaizad’s own Belon hit The Substation six months ago.
The hour-long dance piece which has been in development since 2015 aims to “uncover the equilibrium between convention and contemporary” in its study of the paradoxical nature of art.
“07/07/07” by FATS The Arts
Amidst the sea of experimental art and cross-disciplinary ideas comes a dramatic, devised theatre piece from India which made it to the country’s edition of The Huffington Post!
07/07/07 is an English-language play based on the real-life story of Tehran’s Reyhaneh Jabbari, an Iranian woman who was convicted then executed for murder without undergoing a fair trial. It premiered earlier this year in Bangalore and is the handiwork of FATS The Arts.
Helmed by actor and director Faezeh Jalali, FATS The Arts focuses on employing theatre and drama in education on top of creating performances for adults and children as young as five years old.
“Fragile! Bodies” by UviMkneni Performing Arts Association
All the way from Ukraine is this mysterious entrant we can’t actually tell you much about because we don’t understand Cyrillic!
From what we can surmise however, Fragile! Bodies is an inter-disciplinary dance piece which will be presented by one of Ukraine’s most active dance organisations. It first premiered over eight years ago as an interactive dance performance of the same title at the Free Dance Festival. Pitching the show on behalf of the association is dance educator and cultural manager Maryna Lymar.
A co-production between Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, we expect Fragile! Bodies to be a whole new beast after years at the drawing board.
“The Wong Kids in the Secret Space of Chupacabra Go!” by Tanghalang Pilipino Foundation
Last of the lot is a submission from the Philippines — those who were around last year will remember the consistently energetic and impeccable presentations from the Filipinos. But this time around, we can safely tell attendees to expect even more as Tanghalang Pilipino are tested professionals in the field.
Tanghalang Pilipino was first established in 1987 as the resident theater company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Having put up around 200 fully-fledged productions since its formation, its productions have been critically acclaimed by both local and international critics.
These guys however want to stage children’s theatre piece The Wong Kids in the Secret Space of Chupacabra Go! which was written by Korean-American playwright Lloyd Suh of the renowned Ma-Yi Theatre Company. The play has been staged across the United States by various companies, receiving widespread acclaim as well as a positive review from the New York Times!
Pitchpad ASEAN will be held on 28 August 2016, Day 2 of Borak Arts Series 2016, at The Wembley Penang. Passes for the 2-day conference can be obtained from www.borakarts.com or by calling +603 6207 9566. Featured image from “2020: I’m from 2020” by Toccata Studio.