Traditional dance dramas, a heartwarming Hong Kong theatre show about a mother and son going on a 900-day trek through the valleys, hills and villages of China and Tibet, an Australian dance production based on the timeless Indian epic The Ramayana, a tailor’s whimsical and magical adventure and a charming literary event to inspire creativity and ideas.

Those are just some of the highlights jumping out of the DiverseCity: Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival 2018 (KLIAF) programme list.

The festival, centred mostly on music, dance and literature, returns this September with an array of captivating local and international events.

Over 40 performances are set to be held in venues around the city and Petaling Jaya.

In conjunction with the KLIAF, the dance performance I Am Ravana, presented by Australian-based arts and culture organisation Saraswati Mahavidhyalaya in collaboration with The Temple of Fine Arts (TFA) Inner Space Dance, will be staged at the Shantanand Auditorium, The Temple of Fine Arts in Kuala Lumpur from Sept 6-8.

This saga of love, lust, honour, desire and death has been performed, narrated and chanted across South-East Asia and around the globe. It is a tale of human frailty that brings to life the inner turmoil present in the hearts and minds of everyone. It is a story of Rama, and his wife Sita, who is kidnapped by King Ravana. I Am Ravana will be presented in English.

For a Malaysian rerun, don’t forget to catch Travel With Mum, a masked theatre play hailing all the way from Hong Kong. It showed at the DPac Arts Festival in 2016 and this time around, it returns as part of KLIAF’s theatre programme at the DPac venue from Sept 20-23.

Travel With Mum, performed in Cantonese with English subtitles, is a beautiful true story about how a 74-year-old man built a tricycle and brought his 99-year-old mother on a journey across China and Tibet.

The man is determined to fulfil his mum’s wish to see the beauty of the world while she still can.

Also returning to the festival is physical theatre creator Wolfe Bowart with his most intimate family-friendly theatrical production to date entitled Cloud Soup.

Bowart stunned the audience back in 2016 when he performed his award-winning La La Luna at KLIAF and Letter’s End last year.

Cloud Soup, features a tailor, who with his pile of laundry, and puffs of steam, seeks out an adventure. It sublimely unites physical comedy, illusion, shadow puppetry and interactive film to remind us why we are ever so fascinated with the clouds.

Cloud Soup plays at Menara Ken in Taman Tun Dr Ismail in KL on Sept 15.

Additionally, for a touch of traditional storytelling from northern Malaysia, don’t miss Mak Yong: Anak Raja Tangkai Hati, which plays at Dewan TAR, Matic in KL on Sept 28-29. Anak Raja Tangkai Hati is a story that has it all: prince and princess, ogres, and a journey for knowledge and experience. The show is presented by the Makyong Kijang Emas Group JKKN Kelantan, which features 18 members and is mentored by Ruhani Mohd Zin, a legendary Mak Yong artist.

Looking for stress relief and a boost in inspiration? This year’s diverse selection of musical performances is just for you.

In pursuing diversity in sound and melody, the festival brings the Spectrum live series at DPac from Sept 6-9.

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Sara Heng, a Malaysian guzheng musician, is part of the Spectrum series at DPac on Sept 9.

Trad jazz awaits on Sept 6 with the newly formed Julian Chan Jazz Orchestra & Quintet, led by saxophonist Julian Chan. It’s a night of large and small ensemble jazz music, with guest vocalist Junji Delfino on the cards.

The Getaran Alam show on Sept 8 by ethno music duo Mohar Mohram features flutist Muhardiman Ismail (Mohar) who plays the Malay bamboo seruling, and percussionist Ramli Hamid (Ramli Rebana) on the rebana.

The Chinese zither known as guzheng played by Malaysian performer Sara Heng gets the spotlight in a show called Xun on Sept 9.

CoMeL, a TED-like literary event, is set to be held at the heritage building No. 11, Jalan Tangsi in KL on Sept 23. It will feature a panel of children’s books, authors, storytellers and illustrators.

The award-winning international and renowned local panel includes US director Barry Cook (of Walt Disney’s Mulan fame), filmmaker Saw Teong Hin, illustrator Wen Dee Tan, writer Sabrinah Morad and Anse Tamar Grey (an Islamic scholar, professional educator, and community activist from the US).

Together they will share their sources of inspiration and motivation for the benefit of content creators under this year’s theme “Unleashing Personal Stories”.


More info: www.diversecity.my.