A FESTIVAL: An explosion of Malaysian arts is taking place in Singapore at the third annual CausewayEXchange Festival (CEX) next weekend.
Presented by DMR Productions and The Old Parliament House, the four-day event aims to provide a platform to expose Malaysian and Singaporean arts to new audiences in both countries.
It is held in alternate venues in Singapore and Malaysia each year.
For festival director Shawn Lourdusamy, it is a labour of love.
"It's a struggle to promote the arts, especially in Singapore where people get to watch so many international performances.
"We are trying to expose our local talents and show local audiences that we have good acts too," says Shawn.
In 2010, the Penang-born advertising agency director noticed a dearth of Malaysian artistes making their way to Singapore.
When he realised that the reason was cost, he went about trying to find ways to overcome it.
The result is a partnership with The Old Parliament House and The Arts House that enabled CEX to happen.
"We try to get a balance of up-and-coming and established groups who may or may not have performed outside of Malaysia."
The festival promises something for everyone with plays, a stand-up comedy, a dance, an art exhibition, film screenings, book launches and a musical performance.
For the first time, there will also be a forum called Kopi Shop Talk featuring panel speakers from both countries.
Among the artistes making their way over for the event include thespians Mano Maniam and Chan Ming Lye; stand-up comedians Rizal van Geyzel, Jason Leong and Kavin Jay; Dua Space Dance Theatre dancers; and artist Jeganathan Ramachandram.
"People from both sides of the Causeway have something to learn from each other -- I feel that Malaysia's strength is in film while Singapore's is in the theatre arts.
"Hopefully, we can get a spin-off where practitioners from both countries work together on projects," says Shawn.
The CEX is on from Thursday till Sunday at The Arts House. For more information on CEX, visit www.causeway-exchange.com or www.theartshouse.com.sg