Penang Prepares to Host the Annual Georgetown Festival

One of the leading cultural and entertainment festivals of the region, the Georgetown Festival will take place on the Malaysian island of Penang July 29-August 28, with over 100 artists and exhibitions set to thrill locals and visitors alike.  

Offering a unique mix of international world-class shows as well as intriguing local performances, the George Town Festival brings the world to Unesco-listed Georgetown during the month-long affair. Highlights of this year’s line up include Canadian circus troupe Les 7 doigts de la main, who performed at the 2012 Academy Awards and opening ceremony of Sochi Olympic Games, and offer a  visual feast complete with circus acrobatics, contemporary dance, and theatre.
Another show to watch out for is Missing by award-winning physical dance theatre company Gecko. Missing tells the story of Lily, whose memories are ‘attacking’ her, trying to remind her who she is, but curiously, she doesn’t want to remember. The show is an electrifying piece of dance theatre with extraordinary images, deliciously grey characters and an intriguing plot.
This year, the festival reaches out to a wider regional community with the A+SEAN showcase – a two-day event featuring some of the best talents from Australia and Southeast Asia. The event will feature Dutch scientist Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests – mammoth installations made of plastic and PVC pipes that can ‘walk’ like mammals thanks to a unique feat of engineering. They will be joined by giant Australian Snuff Puppets, which are hand-crafted and depict the human body in its myriad forms. Visitors will also get to enjoy a thrilling concert featuring musical talents from Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia.
Penang island, located off Malaysia’s northwestern coast, is tourism’s best-kept secret among travellers in the Southeast Asian region. The island has a vibrant multi-ethnic community comprising of Malays, Chinese, Indians and Europeans, and its history and culture draw from these multiple sources. Some of its famous attractions include beautiful Chinese clanhouses and mansions, British-era Fort Cornwallis and Clock Tower, and resplendent Buddhist and Hindu temples.
 Add to this a host of festivals that showcase regional and international art and culture, and you have an unforgettable travel experience. August is the best time to travel to Penang as it is the ‘festival month’ with the Bon Odori festival, which celebrates Japanese culture, Eurasia Fiesta and many other cultural showcases. It is also the month of ‘hungry ghosts’ according to Chinese lunar calendar, and Buddhist temples across Penang host puppet theatre and live opera as an offering to the spirits; these events are mostly open to the general public and a great way to learn about the local culture.

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