Art for All at This Year’s George Town Festival in Penang

The majority of the festival’s events, which span theater, music, dance, and more, are free-to-attend.

The trippy projection mapping on Town Hall, Penang.

Accessibility is key to this year’s George Town Festival, happening in Penang from July 13 to 28. Themed “A Festival for Everyone”, the annual cultural festival in the northwest Malaysian state features a program line-up that encourages art appreciation regardless of age or background.

In fact, about 70 percent of the festival’s events are free-to-attend, with at least 40 percent of the exhibitions and performances by local artists. Visitors can expect to enjoy 16 days of theater, music, dance, film, and photography—all of which help showcase Penang’s diverse culture and heritage. 

‘BIRD’, a contemporary dance performance by performers from Finland and Thailand, approaches human society from the perspective of birds.

First launched in 2010 under the umbrella of George Town World Heritage Incorporated, the festival aims to celebrate George Town as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Noting how the festival will benefit the local community, Penang Tourism Development, Arts, Culture, and Heritage committee chairman YB Yeoh Soon Hin said: “We will organize capacity building workshops to promote interactions between the visiting international performers with the local artists, students, and communities.”

The ballerinas on stilts from Teatro Pavana, Amsterdam.

Program highlights include ‘When Night Falls, an illumination show at Esplanade, a waterfront location in the heart of George Town, as well as ‘The Extravaganza’, a massive art bash featuring performative artists from local and overseas.

Happening on July 13 and 14, When Night Falls features an eclectic array of illuminated artworks from across the globe. Moz Drums and Compagnie des Quidams from France as well as Teatro Pavana from The Netherlands are joining forces with FILAMEN, a local projection mapping community group to transform the areas around Esplanade, a waterfront location in the heart of George Town, into a glowing playground of lights, rays, and projection mapping.

Come July 28, the festival’s grand finale, The Extravaganza, will cast local and international street and performing artists in an enormous art bash brimming with performing and installation arts, as well as novel performances at selected spots. Visitors can also look forward to taking a short trip back in time in a specially curated photo exhibition featuring photos captured during the first 15 days of the ongoing festival.

That’s not all look out for Art in the City, a two-day event on July 20 and 21, based on the concept that art is everywhere and anywhere. Keep your eyes peeled for music performances, dance, theater, and kids-friendly entertainment, happening in shophouses, back alleys, clan houses, and five-foot ways. Among some of the exciting programs are Garden Gig, Tiny Touts, Puppet Stage, Malaysia Inside Out, Dance @ 74, and Mai Main Kaki Lima!

More information here. 

This article was brought to you in partnership with George Town Festival.

Share this Article