Throughout the pandemic and post pandemic, performing arts communities and organisations had to explore new innovative ways to showcase their performances. As restrictions eventually eased, these communities also began exploring a combination of virtual and physical performances, advancing from ‘online’ theatres to ‘hybrid’ theatres. Adopting a hybrid method allowed local artists to learn from and communicate with artists from other parts of the world. It also broadens the network of opportunities for these communities, giving individuals the opportunity to collaborate with one another easily and more frequently. Leveraging on this, the University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) recently organised its first Hybrid International Performing Arts Festival, to deliver a series of onsite and hybrid performances and workshops that showcased a unique mixture of local and international talents.
At the festival, UNM hosted three live shows that fused Malaysian and international cultures and art styles together. The performances, Experience Cantonese Opera, Alunan: A Spanish and Malaysian Musical Wave and Shakespeare Demystified: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, were organised alongside established organisations like the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong (Barwo); the Unique Arts Culture and Heritage Foundation Negeri Sembilan; and KL Shakespeare Players (KLSP).
The Experience Cantonese Opera show was a technical and artistic success for the University, involving performers from Barwo and UNM playing music simultaneously from two different countries in a ground-breaking live synchronised performance. “The possibilities of new theatrical practices give us the opportunity to deliver incredible hybrid performances like these, proving the benefits of adopting technology and innovation in theatre. We had different teams operating simultaneously in multiple venues in Malaysia and Hong Kong to make it possible, and with a combined audience of 400 from our campus in Semenyih and the Yau Ma Tei Theatre in Hong Kong, it was truly an international collaboration,” said UNM Director of Performing Arts, Dr Sergio Camacho.
Meanwhile Alunan: A Spanish and Malaysian Musical Wave, comprised of a fusion of rhythms, melodies and instruments from Spain, Latin America and Malaysia. Featuring the Unique Arts Culture and Heritage Foundation Negeri Sembilan, and Malaysian-based Spanish band, Entre Dos Aguas, the concert combined traditional music and dance styles from Spanish, Malay, Chinese, Indian and Sarawakian cultures.
“The concert was a first of its kind in Malaysia and provided an innovative framework for developing new languages for traditional music expressions. This is important in ensuring traditional art forms are not only maintained but also reimagined to remain relevant in the contemporary context,” said Dr Sergio Camacho.
“This event was one of many industry partnerships we are committed to delivering at the University. It was an honour to introduce our students and guests, some of whom may be upcoming artists themselves, to a few of the industry’s best,” said UNM Associate Dean of FASS and Professor, Dr Joanne Lim Bee Yin (林美燕). She adds that the University hopes to explore more industry collaborations and hybrid performances in support of performance artists across Malaysia.
Performing Arts Festival is one of the many ways the University of Nottingham Malaysia aims to nurture global thinkers and changemakers. It also helps to foster arts and culture awareness in Malaysia and emphasise the importance and impact of arts education on the development of individuals and the larger society.
For media enquiries please contact: Kung Suan Lay, Marketing Director University of Nottingham Malaysia at SuanLay.Kung@nottingham.edu.my
Note to editors: The University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) offers a distinctly British education in an Asian setting with a legacy as the first overseas campus of a UK university to be established globally. UNM is recognised for its excellence in teaching and learning, as well as the outstanding student experience offered on its 118-acre campus just an hour south of the KL city-centre. UNM's extensive and diverse research community develops solutions that tackle key global challenges in the areas of food, health, the environment, sustainability, and socio-economic issues within the ASEAN region. The University of Nottingham is ranked 114th from over 1,500 institutions around the globe by theQS World University Rankings 2023 and is rated 5 Star (Excellent) in the SETARA rating system by the Government of Malaysia. Established in 2000, UNM has about 4,500 students from over 75 countries with 15,000 alumni working with the world’s top 100 global brands.
Posted on 16th February 2023