The George Town Festival is a month long celebration in July 2011 showcasing the various sights and rich culture Penang’s heritage. The variety of the festival is so numerous that I’m not I would be able to highlight all 80 over programs! The organizer contacted me to attend their press release unfortunately due to time constraint as well with my home base in KL I couldn’t go. The organizers were kind enough to send me their brochures for republication.George Town Festival Splash

Bear in mind the information is just a highlight. There are much more going on’s and of course just pick the event that take your fancy. The George Town Festival events include art, music, dance, film, theatre, opera, photography, exhibitions, culture, food, fashion and much more! With the mélange of events you would be hard press to decide which one to go for! I certainly would like to immerse myself in all of the arts and culture! Just have to pick and choose!

According to the organizer, the George Town Festival is scheduled to be an annual event. It opens as a feast of theatre, music, dance, film, art, opera, food, fashion, photography, and inspirational talks. Last year festival had an approximate reach-out audience of 200,000 people, yet the festival aimed at advancing the format of art and heritage education, promote dialogue and encourage mutual understanding between the past and present, as well as different urban communities. Last but certainly not least, the festival hope to instill an appreciation for the role of arts and heritage in the society of George Town.

Peranakan Penang, 1st July at E&O Hotel

Supermodel Ling Tan, Peranakan Penang eventStarting things off we have the Peranakan Penang which will showcase an array of events such as the Gala Dinner, Peranakan Food Trail, and Peranakan Women Portraits exhibition. The Gala Dinner will feature PERANAKAN JEWELRY & FASHION SHOWCASE in collaboration with leading Jewelry Companies in the region and internationally acclaimed fashion designers Zang Toi, Yeoh Lee and special appearance by supermodel Ling Tan. Amongst other highlights of the Peranakan Penang is the Jawi Peranakan Showcase that will present a series of talks, music,
poetry, food, dance and exhibition.

No. #7 Theatre Performance, 1st to 3rd July 2011, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Jalan Leith

Next, we have the No. 7, a theatre performance. This is a one woman show lecture performance inspired by Tan Tay Po (1891 – 1933), the seventh wife of Chinese tycoon, Cheong Fatt Tze. Set in the beautifully-restored Blue Mansion, Singaporean actress Tan Kheng Hua takes audiences on a journey that threads the personal and fictional, hearsay and history, to explore the impossibility of recreating a life, and a challenge of recapturing the spirit of a place. Written and directed by Kaylene Tan, journey along with Tan Tay Po as she discovers the serendipitous way back home. At RM150 per seat with only 77 seats available better grab one before none is available! Good for those who love live theatre performance!

Dinner@8, Ultimate Dinner Party, Black Carpet Event, 2nd July, E&O Hotel

It would be great to be invited for this event; unfortunately this one is by invitation only. Dinner @ 8 showcase 8 celebrity chefs to create an ultimate dining experience for 100 very exclusive guests comprising Royalty, VVIP’s, captains of industries and leading luminaries. For the rest of us? Well we will just to read about it when it they print it out in the dailies. I guess some lucky press journalist would get to catch a whiff but well, work is work.

Street Celebrations, 7th July

Penang George Town Street Celebrations

Forget about all those snobbish affairs. For us man in the street, let’s all head to the street where the REAL celebration is done! Indulge yourself in a full day of events throughout George Town including street cultural performances by the multicultural communities of Penang, open houses to public and private heritage buildings, family open houses in inner city which are transformed into living museums to exhibit family photographs and participation of Sister Cities (Adelaide, Medan, Xiamen & Fremantle) in UNESCO’s World Heritage Listing Anniversary. In addition, don’t miss the chance to learn and get your hands on a variety of traditional crafts and foods from the numerous street stalls. Right! This is far more enjoyable experience, yes?

12 Monkeys, 9th July, Penang Botanic Garden

12 Monkeys DanceHow about this, and open air opera at the Penang Botanic Garden? This is a collaborative work by the Director of Beijing Opera, GHAFFAR POURAZAR, JITTI CHOMPEE (Thailand) and ZUBIN MOHAMAD (Malaysia) based on Hanuman, an ape-like race of forest-dwellers, and an incarnation of the divine and a disciple of Lord Sri Rama in the struggle against the demon king Ravana.

Three works of contemporary dance about monkeys in myth and legend by choreographers Ghaffar Pourazar (Beijing Opera), Jitti Chompee (Thailand) and Zubin Mohmad (Malaysia).

The tales feature a monkey king who is a disciple of a Buddhist monk, Hanuman the monkey god battling the demon king Ravana, and a passionate interpretation of the monkey characters in Ramakien, the Thai national epic.

Pro Musica Workshop, 8th – 14th July, Bellevue Hotel

If you are in the performing arts, you may want to go for this Pro Musica Workshop which is an advanced Master Class for vocal training and opera that will feature the best practitioners in the business such as Loh Siew Tuan (OPERAPLUS), Ronny Lauwers(Flanders Opera Studio) and Hein Boterberg (Flanders Opera Studio).

Penang Pro Musica Workshop Master Class

Culminating in a…

Pro Musica Mini Concert, 14th July, MPPP Town Hall, Jalan Explanade

Singing students who have taken part in the Pro Musica Workshop, an advanced master class for vocal training, will demonstrate their skills with a selection of popular operatic arias. Directed by principal voice coach Low Siew Tuan.

Price: RM10

Otherwise just enjoy the masters at their…

Gala Concert, 17th July, Dewan Sri Pinang

The Gala Concert is a climax to the 10-day Pro Musica Workshop that will present an evening of operatic arias and scenes featuring the young opera stars such as Julie Mossay (Soprano BELGIUM), Ines Madeira (Mezzo-soprano PORTUGAL), Enrico Casari (Tenor ITALY) and Kittinant Chinsamran (Baritone THAILAND) under the direction of Benoit De Leersynder (Flanders Opera Studio BELGIUM).

Prices: RM120, RM80, RM40 (students)

Vertical Road, 20th July, Dewan Sri Pinang

Vertical Road, George Town FestivalExploring man’s earthly nature, his rituals and the consequences of human actions, Vertical Road becomes a meditation on the journey from gravity to grace. Inspired by the Sufi tradition and the Persian poet/ philosopher Rumi, Vertical Road is Akram Khan’s latest contemporary ensemble work. Quoted by Saddler’s Wells, Akram Khan is one of the UK’s most innovative and influential dance talents.

Through this show he continues his ambition to explore the interfaces between different cultures and creative disciplines. He brings together a host of performers and artists from East and West.

Vertical Road brings together performers from around the world in this challenging piece from one of the UK’s most innovative and influential dance talents.

Prices: RM180, RM120, RM80, RM 40 (students)

Tossed and Found, 23rd – 31st July, Victoria Street

Tossed and Found exhibitionTossed & Found is an exhibition that will showcase functional objects such as furniture, domestic accessories, light fittings and installations created by local designers from art/ architecture and theatre backgrounds using everyday found/ recycled objects.

The exhibition intends to look at inspired ways of re-using discarded objects in daily lives and rejuvenate them into something that is functional and at the same time reveals a previously unnoticed beauty.

River Meets Light, 23rd July, Prangin Canal, Maxwell Road

River Meets Light media performanceThis should be interesting! Premiering at Prangin Canal, Penang for the George Town Festival 2011, River Meets Light is a mixed media performance that aims to incorporate the ebb and flow of creative expressions along the rivers with an array of eco-sculpture installations, dance, poetry recitation, interplay of sounds from songs and dialogue with the river communities, environmental music from recycled materials and light and audio-visual projection. Must go!

Scent of an Island, 1st – 31st July, Town Hall

Scent of an Island photography exhibitionA collaborative work by ISMAIL HASHIM (photographer) & CECIL RAJENDRA (poet), Scent of an Island is an ongoing attempt to capture the sights, sounds and smells of Penang in words, image and music.

The real Penang as experienced by Penangites—the good, the bad and the ugly; the experience not censored, sanitized, varnished or packaged for the tourist.

Well, there you go a collection of George Town Festival highlights. There are much more events going on, just pick your choice and head off and immersed in a heady experience of Penang culture. Sure would like to pack off from work and go for a super month long tourism Malaysia travel break!

For more info about this event you can contact:
George Town Festival Secretariat
90, Armenian Street, 10200 George Town, Penang.
Tel: +604-261 6308
Fax: +604-261 6305

See more info about Penang Island

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