BARELY SURVIVING: Performers find it tough going as youth prefer movies
ALOR STAR: DURING its heyday, there were six theatre groups in Kedah. Today, there is just one.
And the group, Persatuan Penggerak Warisan Budaya (Akrab) is barely surviving.
Akrab president Wan Suhairi Wan Senu attributed the eclipse of theater performance in Kedah to the declining interest in the fine arts.
Citing an example, he said, the theater group's latest performance, Pelantaq, at Taman Budaya auditorium here recently, the majority of its audience numbering over 100-odd were secondary school students and fine arts undergraduates from several local universities and colleges.
"It is very sad. We have lost the strong following among the older generation since many of them have passed on," he said.
Wan Suhairi lamented that youths who took an interest in theatre were few and far between.
The youths prefer the movies, he added.
As for Akrab, its members too have declined from about 400 when it was set up in 1998 to 50 now.
He also said the group has to fend for themselves to survive considering funding from the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry was minimal. Support from the state government was also wanting.
To survive, the group conducts seminars and talks on theater at local universities and colleges.
It also holds seminars for secondary school students.
Many times, Akrab members, comprising undergraduates, professionals and self-employed, passed the hat around to collect funds to stage a drama.
This was the case for Pelantaq, an hour-long play on the decline of the family institution.
The play, by 20 actors and actresses, was also held before a group of judges to pick the top six theater groups for the annual National-level Theatre Competition to be held in August.