Brunei's Putra Seni:In Pursuit of Artistic Legacies

Thursday, January 22, 2015
IN ITS drive to train new members to continue its artistic legacy, Putra Seni (KPS) will soon have its own theatre in which members can perform and raise money for the group and also themselves.
Paving the way to having its own premises by promoting traditional theatre, was the launch of the KPS’s Rumah Pusaka project in 2012, which helped the group raise funds. 
Putra Seni’s president, Zefri Ariff, said the theatre group would have its very own premises this year.
“The theatre house is conceptualised as a small black theatre box that could house around 30 people – and this box would serve as a regular venue for members to perform and showcase their talents to the public,” he said.
“It is also aimed at generating income for KPS, so we will charge visitors a small fee to watch our performances. At the same time, some of our members can also run a side business, such as selling food, pop-corn and drinks to theatre-goers,” he said.
“We first discussed opening a theatre of our own over a decade ago, but at the time, we did not have the financial capacity to realise out dream. Now, however, with the pool of talented artists we now have and the proper technical facilities, we are ready to commence the project.” 
Zefri said the KPS is often asked by audiences where they will be performing next, and if they plan to have a regular venue, which was another reason why the group wanted to open its own theatre.
“Such a place would then be a platform to showcase our cultural products,” he said.
Although the KPS has not yet identified a specific venue, its president said the group was looking to set up shop in one of the country’s shopping malls.
“This is considered a big step, a big effort that needs to be done diligently and professionally. Theatre companies have their own premises abroad, why shouldn’t we in Brunei?”
Brunei, he said, has its own unique culture, which artists are beholden to protect and promote both here and abroad.
“Currently we are dependent on various agencies to invite us to hold performances at their premises,” he said. 
And he said having their own theatre would help to attract tourists to the country.
“Tourism agencies face difficulties finding venues for visitors. That would no longer be the case. Besides, by showcasing our cultural products, we would also be encouraging members, especially the younger ones, to be entrepreneurs.” 
With this in mind, Zefri said he hoped various agencies in the country would support the KPS’s activities, especially in terms of financial assistance and moral support.
“This is because this effort will not only look into art from a cultural perspective, but will also allow the country to better preserve its culture and traditions for many years to come.” - Waqiuddin Rajak
The Brunei Times


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