Image source: Compagnie des Quidams

This month, the George Town Festival is returning for its tenth year, featuring no less than 150 exciting programmes (from theatre to workshops, from photography to music) that will take place in Penang from 13 to 28th July.

It’s hard to know where to start when choosing which events to see and do during these 16 days of cultural interest. What should be on everyone’s list, however: the first weekend of the festival, titled When Night Falls.

A completely free event, the evenings of Saturday and Sunday (13-14th July) will see the Esplanade of George Town transformed into a dreamlike playground, featuring light projections and as well as illuminated dancers. The performers included are from across the globe, whether France or the Netherlands.

Included in the programme for When Night Falls is FierS à Cheval from the French company Compagnie des Quidams. Their huge yet graceful inflated horse puppets are mesmerising, their soft glow giving their dances a dreamlike quality. Having performed in over 40 countries including the UK, Singapore and Australia, FierS à Cheval is certifiably iconic. 

Image source: Embassy of the Netherlands in Malaysia

Also of note will be the monumental light projections on the facades of the Town Hall and City Hall of Penang. These iconic municipal buildings, as symbols of Penang’s British Colonial past, will be overlaid with modern projections by FILAMEN. This project involved the collaboration of local and international artists by holding an open call for the projection designs, the submissions for which will be showcased.

Not only this, but the Esplanade area will also be the stage for Lighted Drummers (from Moz Drums, France), as well as colourful and brightly lit dancers from Amsterdam-based Teatro Pavana.

All the performances of When Night Falls use light, sound and movement instead of words. The result is a display that is accessible for all, no matter their age or language: this is an ethos that typifies the entire of the George Town Festival’s aim to promote Penang’s arts, culture and heritage to all. This exciting event, then, is the perfect kick-off to the following 2 weeks, and is not to be missed.

Image source: George Town Festival

Where? – Padang Kota Lama (the Esplanade)
When? – Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th July, 7 – 11pm
How much? – Free
For who? – Everyone!

Written by: Eleanor Ohlsen