Our Co-Founders

Dato’ Faridah Merican – Executive Producer & Co-Founder

Known as the First Lady of Malaysian Theatre, Faridah’s early acting credits include such plays as ‘Lela Mayang’, ‘Tok Perak’, ‘Uda dan Dara’ and ‘Alang Rentak Seribu’, works that defined the Malaysian theatre in the 60s and 70s, and determined the direction that theatre would take in the next few decades. In the early 60s, she joined Radio and TV Malaysia. Simultaneously, she was involved in the formative years of Malaysian Advertising, and is today, a member of the board of directors of Ogilvy & Mather. She also sits on the board of several other institutions.

In 1989, Faridah co-founded The Actors Studio with her husband Joe Hasham OAM. In June of 2003, floods destroyed the entire complex of The Actors Studio in Plaza Putra, Dataran Merdeka. Out of that devastation, Faridah’s ‘nothing is impossible’ attitude generated yet another ground-breaking event – the birth of The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, set up by the YTL Group, Yayasan Budi Penyayang and The Actors Studio.

Over the years, Faridah has been awarded the Ahli Mangku Negara in 1973, the Darjah Johan Negeri in 2001, the Johan Setia Mahkota in 2004, the BOH Cameronian Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2005, Faridah was conferred the ‘Darjah Dato’ Paduka Tuanku Ja’afar by the Yang Di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan on the occasion of His Highness’ 83rd Birthday. The following year, she received an Honorary Master of Letters at University Sains Malaysia’s 35th Convocation. Finally in 2014, Faridah received the Outstanding Achievement award under the Arts, Culture and Entertainment category from the Inaugural Malaysian Women of Excellence Awards. Faridah now sits on The Laureate Advisory Board and is also the Executive Producer and co-founder of the Performing Arts Centre of Penang (penangpac).

Joe Hasham OAM – Artistic Director & Co-Founder

Joe was born in Tripoli, the Lebanon, did his schooling in Sydney, Australia, moved to Malaysia in 1984 and is now a proud permanent resident of his adopted country. Joe is the Artistic Director of The Actors Studio, which he set up with his wife Faridah in 1989, and also the Artistic Director of The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre and the Performing Arts Centre of Penang (penangpac). Joe is a graduate of NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) at the University of NSW, Sydney, Australia. Before he made the decision to come to Malaysia, he was one of the most sought after actors in Australia. Joe is a multi-award winning film director, actor, writer and recording artist.

Joe was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), within the Australian Honours System “For Service to the performing arts through The Actors Studio (Malaysia) and The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre; and, as an actor, writer, producer and director”.

Our Residents

In line with its aim to nurture young talent, klpac runs a residency programme giving young talents a safe space to hone their skills and craft. We started with just one full-time director as part of the programme, Gavin Yap. Since then, the programme has expanded and klpac boasts resident directors specialized in their individual artistic fields such as Mark Beau de Silva and Omar Ali.

The residents are charged with presenting a wide range of performances and activities. They also run courses at our Academy. All residents are also actively involved in our Community Outreach programmes, bringing the arts to the underprivileged.

Mark Beau de Silva – Resident Director / Writer

Mark is currently the Resident Director/ Writer with The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre and arguably Malaysia’s most prolific playwright. His first play Stories for Amah was directed in 2002 by Joe Hasham and garnered great reviews and full houses. Since then, Mark has written and directed many other plays namely 8 Ways to Lighten the Schoolbag, Oh My God, Bottom Top, Kaki Blue the Musical, Adam the Musical, and Big Head Potato Head which won 3 awards in the 2010 ADA Theatre Awards.

In 2009, Mark spent 3 months working with South Korean company Nottle Theatre on a devised piece, and staged his first play in Singapore; Mama’s Wedding with Action Theatre. In 2011 Mark won Best Director in the Short and Sweet Theatre Festival, and in 2013 the musical that he wrote Marrying Me won Audience Choice Award at the 2013 BOH Cameronian Arts Awards. Mark recently won Best Director in the Short and Sweet Festival 2014 for Theatre Category, and co-directed the musical Zak Zebra’s African Safari for children and most recently took out the 2016 BOH Cameronian Arts Award for Best Original Script.

Mark has been teaching in the performing arts since 2004. He was in charge of the performing arts programme in Sekolah Sri KDU until joining The Actors Studio Academy as facilitator and syllabus developer. Mark has conducted workshops for NGOs (drama therapy), teachers’ training institutions (drama as a tool in language learning), primary and secondary schools (private and public) and corporate training for various companies. He is currently completing his Master’s thesis majoring in Drama Education.

Omar Ali – Resident Director

Trained as a graphic designer and copywriter, Omar stumbled onto the stage by accident, liked it, and decided to stay. He does a bit of acting, directing, and set design.

His more recent adventures include Zak Zebra’s Malaysian Safari (Sep 2015), Uda dan Dara (Apr 2015), Zak Zebra’s African Safari (Feb 2015), Sinbad: The Musical (April 2014), Rashomon (Jul 2013), Broken Bridges (May 2013), Philadelphia, Here I come! (Jan 2013).

In set design, he works alongside scenographer Yusman Mokhtar. Their recent works include The Taste of Water (Jul 2015), SuperMokh: The Musical (Nov 2013), Philadelphia, Here I come! (Jan 2013), and Paper Crane (Aug 2012) which won Best Set Design at the 2012 ADA Theatre Awards.

In 2013, Omar was awarded the Short+Sweet Festival Director’s Award, and in 2014, his group won Best Overall Production as well as the Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Creative Excellence Award at the annual Short+Sweet Festival.

Omar is currently a resident director at klpac and is trying his miserable, clumsy hands at writing.

Lee Kok Leong, Resident Conductor & Music Director, klpac Orchestra

Kok Leong began his foray in the local orchestra scene as a violist. He has been involved in several orchestras including Friends of Strings Chamber, National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), Galaxy Chamber Orchestra, klpac Orchestra, Penang Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO), Kuala Lumpur City Hall Orchestra and RTM Orchestra. He is also actively involved in sacred classical concerts organised by Yin Qi.

He made his conducting debut with Galaxy Chamber Orchestra in 2005 and was appointed Resident Conductor from 2007 to 2011. In 2010, he became the training conductor for the klpac Orchestra under the tutelage of the late Mr. Brian Tan, then Resident Conductor and Music Director of the orchestra. Later, he received conducting masterclasses from renowned pianist and conductor Mdm. Elaine Pao.

As the conductor of Friends of Strings Chamber since 2014, he conducts their annual concert.

Besides conducting, he is frequently engaged in ensemble playing, sharing his passion in music with his friends. He is now the Music Director and Resident Conductor of the klpac Orchestra. 

Cheryl Mah, Resident Conductor & Music Director, klpac Symphonic Band

Cheryl Mah graduated from Elder Conservatorium of Music (Australia) with concurrent majors in Piano Performance and Music Education. She then completed Performance based Master Degree in Conducting and Directorship from Salford University (England, UK) under tutelages of Dr. David King and Dr. Roy Newsome, specializing in Brass Band Conducting.

As a music educator, she has been actively involved in conducting, lecturing, tutoring in local universities, school band camps and festivals, and as well adjudicating for local band competitions. Since 2008, she has been a part-time faculty member at UCSI University Music Department as Orchestra Conductor, where she conducts UCSIU Orchestra in regular concert performances, repertoires ranging from Bach to Prokofiev.

Cheryl was invited to represent the country in participating SEA Young Conductors’ Workshop (2009/2010) in Salaya Thailand, which jointly organized by Goethe-Instituts and College of Music, Mahidol University.

Apart from being active as band/orchestra conductor, Cheryl has played with various ensembles as Baritone Saxophonist -PJ Youth Symphonic Band, Greg Lyons Nonet. She is the co-founder of Birdian Saxophone Quartet and has performed extensively with the quartet in various occasions. She is also a woodwind/piano tutor based in the Klang Valley.

Cheryl is currently the Band Director of Confucian Symphonic Band, Assunta Symphonic Band, and the music director and resident conductor of klpac Symphonic Band.

Norman Ong, Music Director & Resident Conductor, klpac String Ensemble

Born in 1978, Malacca, Norman started learning flute at the age of 12 and cello at 19. He graduated in 2001 from the Malaysia Institute of Arts, Diploma in Music (Major in flute and Minor in cello). He studied the flute under Mr. Takahisha Ota and Ms. Sofia Cosme, and studied the cello under Mr. Lian Phooi Woei, Mr. Nasran Nawi and Mr. Robert Choi.

Notable experiences and achievements include representing Malaysia to attend the Japan International Youth Musical in Shizuoka, Japan (1997), Drum Major during the opening and closing ceremony of Commonwealth Games in Stadium Bukit Jalil (1998), instructor for several schools and bands since 2001 and played at the Anugerah Juara Lagu 2014 as the Orchestra Cellist.

Currently, Norman is a flautist for Orchestra Kuala Lumpur, instructor for Chan Wa Concert Band as well as resident music director and conductor of the klpac String Ensemble.

Our Departments

Theatre/Stage

Ian Chow – Group General Manager, Theatre Manager, & Head of Department

Ian is currently attached with The Actors Studio Malaysia, The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) and Performing Arts Centre of Penang (penangpac) as the Group General Manager. He is also the Production Director with the Young Choral Academy. To date, he has been involved in more than 100 local productions in various management roles from producing to stage and production management in which he currently holds the position of Festival Producer for the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival.

Ian is also a singer-songwriter and has been gigging for the past 14 years. In 2008, he released his collaborative album “He Says, She Says” together with fellow singer-songwriter Tracy Wong. He followed this up with his debut solo album Issues#01 in 2010. From then til now, Ian has ventured into other collaborations including The Two Chinese Who Barely Made It (with another fellow singer-songwriter, Siew Jye) and Lelaki 2.5 (with Ariff Akhir and Lex Laskhman. This was nominated in the category of Best Production Values in the 2016 Kakiseni BOH Cameroonian Award).

His desire to help budding singer-songwriters and develop a new performing platform has prompted him to produce a series of acoustic gigs with The Actors Studio, klpac and Troubadours Enterprise titled This Is Acoustic!, Open Doors, Music at the Lobby, FUSED and Live @ TAS since 2004. In 2013, he produced Layan Fest (a small scale music festival) as well as its CD compilation together with Rosheen and Nick Davis, followed by another independent singer-songwriters compilation, My Rhythm, My Tune, My Song Volume 1 & 2 in 2014 and 2016 respectively presented by The Actors Studio Sound.

In October 2013, Ian made his directorial debut in Period by the Young KL Singers and once again returned to the director’s chair in their following production, Incantations in 2014.

In the private sector side, Ian has been a Director of GameOn.com Sdn Bhd since 2010, one of the leading video games e-retail in Malaysia and strongly believes in gaming in a non-piracy environment.

Lawrence Selvaraj – Theatre Manager

Theatre Management by day, Stage Management by night.

Kent Tan – Assistant Theatre Manager

Kent Tan was bitten by the performance bug in his school days.Throughout his formal education years, he participated in many theatre productions – grooming himself in acting, dancing, scriptwriting, and directing. Even though he graduated from UKM in the field of Science & Technology, his heart has always been in theatre. Since his involvement in the theatre scene, Kent has bagged several awards namely Best Script (Northern Region Youth Drama Competition & ADA award), Best Supporting Actor (Short+Sweet Musical 2013) and numerous other nominations. He recently directed Mission Possible: The Last Cendol which was staged successfully in KL and Penang. Kent is currently the Assistant Theatre Manager at Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre

Melissa Lim – Theatre Management Executive

As an ambivert who likes to challenge herself, she completed her 4 months internship in klpac without having any performing arts background. Graduated as a communications student, she chose to start her career path by involving in the theatre management to further explore her interest in performing arts.

Technical

Mike Thomas – Head of Department & Technical Manager

Mike Thomas started his career as Assistant Sound Engineer in 1990 at Scat Productions Sdn Bhd, established by Malaysia’s number one jazz pianist, Michael Veerapen. Later on, Mike became the Chief Engineer cum Studio Manager with the said studio for the following 13 years. Experienced in recording, mixing jingles and voice-over for commercials, he has also recorded various renowned recording artists in Malaysia including Zainal Abidin (Hijau), Sheila Majid (Ikhlas Tapi Jauh), Sudirman (an album recorded halfway before his passing), Francisca Peters (Setinggi Angkasa), Pictures (Michael Veerapen) and many more.

From 1991, Mike started to venture into live sound and sound design for events, bands and theatre productions. To date, he has been involved in more than 100 bands, events and theatre shows with various local and international touring companies. He has received two BOH Cameronian Awards nominations, Frankenstein in Love in 2006 and Electric Beckett in 2007. Some other notable productions he has worked on includes Broken Bridges, The Swimming Instructor, Bernada Alba, Lelaki 2.5’s Out of the Closet, Live @ The Actors Studio series and much more.

Mike is currently leading the technical team at The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) since 2006 not only in the aspect of sound but also rigging, lighting and visual projection. In his role as Technical Manager, Mike also looks after the technical administration of the arts centre including the day to day operations.

Michael Joseph – Technical Supervisor

Michael Joseph pursued his interest and graduated with Bachelor’s Degree in Audio Production from SAE Institute in Singapore in 2012, and joined the klpac family in 2013. Michael currently works as Technical Supervisor at klpac and occasionally doubles up as the sound engineer for klpac and The Actors Studio’s productions. In 2015, he had worked as the sound engineer for Peter Ong & Friends, Lelaki 2.5’s Out Of The Closet With Strings Attached, Short + Sweet Malaysia 2015 Musical, Jalan Primadona, and one of the most recent production was Live @ TAS in March 2016.

Production

Easee Gan –  Head of Department & Senior Production Manager

Easee Gan, or Gan Eng Cheng, senior production manager at The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) and The Actors Studio Malaysia, he has been actively involved in producing various Malaysian theatre productions and festivals.

Soo Choy Wah – Assistant Production Manager

Choy Wah is a music graduate from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). She started learning the piano at the age of 10 and later picked up pipa and violin. She loves to perform as part of an ensemble. Thus, she actively involved herself in Chinese orchestra during secondary school. She also often performed in UPM in a different kind of setting, such as piano duet and piano duo, choir and orchestra. Working as an intern at The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) in 2013 had opened her eyes towards performing arts management. She is now working as Assistant Production Manager and Orchestra Manager at klpac.

Olivia Saw – Assistant Production Manager

Olivia is a graduate of Taylor’s University majoring in Bachelor of International Tourism (HONS) Events Management. Upon graduating, she finds the need to connect to her soul in Art, before going back to the Event Industry. A small town girl finding her own path in the big city, she started as an intern in 2015 and then continued on as a freelancer in klpac. After being a freelancer as the production manager and assistant stage manager for “Marble Hearts” in last January 2016, she finds the joy and passion she needed in stepping out from a student into the working society. She decided to continue on the path less taken by her peers in the event industry and joined klpac, in hope that the choice she makes will lead her to a better path.

Benedict Chin – Assistant Production Manager & Assistant Stage Manager

Benedict, or better known as Ben, set his foot into the performing arts scene, specifically Chinese Opera, due to the lack of actors and crew. He fell in love with it and started becoming active in Chinese Opera. Even though he was just an extra with no dialogues, he really enjoyed being on stage. As a result, he went on to continue his study in theatre at University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS).

Marketing

Ang Yue May – Marketing Communications, Head

Yue May started her career in the IT industry doing marketing communications. Two years later, she decided she wanted something different. She chanced upon an opening for a publicist at klpac and made the jump from IT to the arts. That was back in 2005.

As klpac celebrates its anniversary each year, she is blessed to have the chance to continue to grow with the organisation and the team. Some of her fondest memories include kickstarting klpac’s very own Open Day and being on the organising committee of the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival in 2014 and 2016.

Currently, she heads the Marketing and Communications department and continues to enjoy working behind-the-scenes to further Joe and Faridah’s vision to develop the arts in Malaysia.

Joel Wong – Graphic Designer

Handles all the design and layout of printed materials (posters, leaflets) and static images for shows and the venue. If it’s presented by klpac or The Actors Studio, most likely it’s by him.

Sharifah Masathira – Multimedia Designer

Trapped as a graphic designer for 5 years and finally found her way back as a multimedia designer.

Sukhbir Cheema – Publicist

A writer, cartoonist and a former journalist, Sukhbir staunchly believes he is a “pendatang” from a far-flung universe. His earthly duties now include being a funky father to his little girl, an annoying but loving husband to his wife and a regular pain in his mother’s butt. The 30-year-old also frequently posts nonsense for The Kuala Lumpur Performing Art Centre’s various social media platforms.

Toon Wan Ling – Publicist

She sees herself as a multipotentialite and an optimist (sometimes).

A girl who is always bad in what she loves. She dreams to be an actor, artist, writer and even florist but sadly, nothing has come true…YET.

She discovered about The Actors Studio when she was randomly searching for acting classes. God knows how she ended up working with klpac for almost half year and found her interest towards theatre.

She was a blur intern, clumsy stage manager and now she is the youngest (perhaps still the blurrest) employee at klpac.

Front-of-House & Box Office

Jennifer Patsy – Box Office Executive

Almost the first person you see every time you walk into klpac, she’s the other half of the beautiful ladies at the Box Office.

Oxford Tong – Box Office Executive

Performing Art (Drama) graduate from University of Malaya in 2016, Oxford has been in the theatre for three-years since the beginning of his university life. Previously he was involved in Oh Perempuan Ku!(2014), Perempuan Politikus Melayu (2015), Superhero The Musical (2015) and Si Yatim Zhao (2016) as an actor. He recently contributed to the local performing arts scene as a directors’ assistant and subtitle operator for Richard III (2016). He is set to be in Dato’ Faridah Merican’s upcoming play, Tsao Yu’s Thunderstorm (2017).

Administration

Sharifah Fadilah – Administrative Manager

The lady behind the scenes.

Thurka Devi – Senior Accounts Executive

When it comes to numbers, she’s the one we go to.