Curtains raised for National Theatre Festival Brunei

Hakim Hayat

The first National Theatre Festival Brunei (NTFB) was officially launched at Jerudong International School (JIS) Arts Centre last evening with the theme ‘New Beginning’, aims to mark the start of a new era for the local performing arts community.

NTFB is endorsed by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and supported by Baiduri Bank.

The landmark event marked the inaugural effort for an organised community of local theatre practitioners and performers by 247 Studios with Medley House Productions, The Creative Core BN and Just Bruneians as creative partners.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin was present at the opening of the festival.

NTFB Co-Festival Director and 247 Studios Managing Director Mohd Syazni bin Haji Abu Bakar, in his opening speech shared that NTFB is a project that has been three years in the making and was inspired by the regional Asian Youth Theatre Festival.

Alhamdulillah, over the past few years, we have experienced a ‘new wave’ of the creative industry. We have seen more performances, arts events, local films, and a lot more creative work being done in the country. As a nation, we must take this as a positive sign as this growth can help to improve our creative economy,” he said.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin presents a token of appreciation to Chief Executive Officer of Baiduri Bank Ti Eng Hui. PHOTO: HAKIM HAYAT

The guest of honour was introduced to the eight participating theatre troupes. Tokens of appreciation were also presented to sponsors.

The eight local theatre groups involved are 247 Studios, BruHaha Comedy, Brunei Amateur Dramatic Society, Putra Seni Group, Medley House Productions, Relentless Entertainment and Academy of Performing Arts, Salted Egg Theatre and Sutera Memento.

In appreciation of the festival, key sponsors and supporters shared their support and enthusiasm for the festival.

Chief Executive Officer of Baiduri Bank Ti Eng Hui said, “Our support of the ever-growing local creative arts scene is reflected in our commitment to connect with and give back to our communities and illuminate the lives of people through creativity and innovation.

“We fully believe that art plays a fundamental role in enriching lives and strengthening societal bonds in our communities, and are very proud to be part of the very first National Theatre Festival Brunei.”

According to Director of JIS Arts Centre Jon-Mark Nesbitt, “We are delighted to be the venue partner for the inaugural National Theatre Festival Brunei. This year at JIS Arts Centre, we are celebrating our 10th anniversary and we are excited to welcome some new performers and attendees to the Arts Centre for the festival, as well as some familiar faces. We look forward to continuing to support the performing arts scene in Brunei!”

Chief storyteller Insan Mardini of Medley House Productions, meanwhile, said, “Years ago, we would never have thought it to be possible but here we are! We feel more than honoured to be a part of this creative journey, and have never been so proud to be Bruneian artists.”

Creative Lead of Just Bruneians Liyana Hanif shared, “We hope that this festival can be a platform to build a strong and vibrant theatre community. It’s been inspiring to work with fellow creatives, and we are looking forward to see the performances and workshops!”

Cuckoo Brunei Marketing Director Wong Hui Ting said, “As a supporter of the rising generation in the creative community, we are grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of the festival in raising awareness of the performing arts in Brunei.”

Agency Manager of CTRL Creative Ian Chan added, “There is an insurmountable passion that is head-turning and incredibly moving here at Brunei’s very first theatre festival, and CTRL Creative is proud to be a part of the celebrations as a sponsor!”

Each group is scheduled to perform an original production and host a workshop. Performances are in Malay and English, running for approximately 50 minutes. Workshops are an opportunity for the public to learn the craft of theatre from scriptwriting to acting and the social aspect of theatre.

The festival runs at JIS Arts Centre until tomorrow.