Performers from Putra Seni doing a drama called Padi Sarampun in front of the Royal Regalia Building in conjunction with the Royal Wedding of 2012. BT file
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Thursday, January 22, 2015
SINCE the dawn of Bruneian indepence a small company of actors has been bringing the magic of theatre to the masses Brunei. Putra Seni (literally Princes of Art) was founded by five artistically minded students from Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien College in 1983.
The company began to gain wider recognition in September 1983 when it participated in a stage drama competition to commemorate the country’s independence. Post independence, it was officially registered as an organisation on December 5, 1984.
Its founding fathers were Hj Muslym Hj Mohd Yusof, Belawan Padan (now Hj Mohd Hazwan Abdullah), Julaihi Abdullah, Pg Hj Jamaluddin Pg Hj Md Yusof and Mahali Hj Abd Rahman.
The group, whose members come from a variety of professions, stage plays, dramas, musicals, declamations and poetry recitations.
Since its founding, Putra Seni has been involved in numerous cultural and artistic workshops, festivals, forums and seminars at local and national level.
Much of the theatre company’s work involves the promotion of Islamic Bruneian culture through performances of folk tales such as Pak Saloi and Mutiara.
Putra Seni’s president, Zefri Arif, said the group has had between 200 and 300 members but that it now has an active membership of 40 to 50 active (mostly young) artists.
Although the group regularly holds dance performances and declamations of poetry, its core business is staging dramas.
Aside from regular theatre workshops, the group take an active role in organising mini-theatre performances of traditional tales and religous plays that embrace both humour and drama under its project called “Rumah Pusaka”.
The performances can be viewed at events such as book fairs and carnivals.
Under the presidency of Zefri Arif, one of the Putra Seni’s early members, the group is busy promoting cultural arts in the country among young people.
Among the honours it has received are the Youth Association Award and the TAYO (Ten Accomplished Youth Organisations) Asean Award, which it received last year.