5 things you don’t know about… penangpac
Perched close to the waterfront like a mystic lighthouse piercing through the mists of time to bring Penang’s rich cultural history of performance to join with the modern leanings of Penang’s young artistes, penangpac is both a tribute to the past and a new hope for the future.
With a total of 538 productions since opening on the auspicious date of 11.11.11, penangpac is the only Performing Arts Centre with fully equipped facilities in the northern region of peninsular Malaysia.
As one would expect of a place where so many bright personalities converge, penangpac has a few stories to tell, one of which may chill (or thrill) you.
1. The tale of the wandering hantu
penangpac has a resident ghost whom the staff have named En. Ridzuan. En. Ridzuan mostly hangs out in their aquarium style open-concept office and if you are lucky enough, you might see him through the glass while he is taking his nightly walk through the office space.
Its not entirely clear what kind of behaviour the hantu exhibited that inspired the staff to name him Ridzuan, but he must be a rather formal ghost if one must refer to him as Encik.
It’s not just actors wandering these halls…Image by Allspire
2. Once upon a time
Perhaps En. Ridzuan is so restless because he never gets a moment of peace. penangpac operates 365 days a year which means that every day from 10:00am to 6:30pm, penangpac is open for business. Inquiries revealed that they ‘might’ close earlier on the eve of Chinese New Year. Other than that one concession, the extremely dedicated 11 staff memberw are determined to keep the home fires burning so that the performance arts in Penang will always have a home to roost.
3. Fairy tale romances
According to a very reliable source, penangpac has a ‘certain charm’ which suggests that their patron saint may be none other than Cupid. Interns who join penangpac seem to fall in love with the staff at such a rate that as of now, three couples have been formed which started off as office romances.
Perhaps some form of love potion floats through the halls of the building? Either that, or we finally have a clue as to what En. Ridzuan might be doing there.
4. Rags to riches
In the early days, penangpac once had a show where not a single audience member showed up. Just four staff members sat in the seats, but they did not let this discourage them. As every fairy tale shows us, the heroes must face some challenges before succeeding.
In the beginning seats were empty. Now they’re full. Image by Allspire.
Today, penangpac has had critically acclaimed shows and more than 140,000 audience members have been through their doors. penangpac has also had local shows from Kuala Lumpur and productions from as far-flung places as Argentina and Austria gracing their stages.
5. Gift of prosperity
A testament to their hardworking staff who seem to have mystical multitasking skills, penangpac once put up a production in less than 2 weeks. I Have a Date With Faridah took place during Chinese New Year 2016 and was reportedly a ‘huge success’ with a full house audience.
This little team that could has also extended good fortune to 29 schools under their Rakan Seni project. Only in existence since 2015, they have already given workshops to 1592 students.
With few resources, great passion and one impressive work ethic, penangpac has vaulted over hurdle after hurdle and produced some pretty great shows. Penangites can certainly be proud of what penangpac is doing for the islands’s performing arts as well as the necessary contributions they are making towards the nations arts future.