Our Co-Founders

Dato’ Dr 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).

She was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in the Arts by Taylor’s University in 2018.

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. His first play Stories for Amah was directed in 2002 by Joe Hasham and garnered five Cameronian Arts Awards nominations including Best Original Script. 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 for the Short and Sweet Theatre Festival, and in 2013, the musical that he wrote Marrying Me won Audience Choice Award at the 2013 Cameronian Arts Awards. Mark recently won Best Director for the Short and Sweet Festival 2014 for Theatre Category and co-directed the musical Zak Zebra’s African Safari for children.

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 for language learning), primary and secondary schools (private and public) and corporate training for various companies. His latest play Sisa Sisa received 7 nominations in the 2016 Cameronian Arts Awards. He recently completed his Masters in Performing Arts.

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 Kandang (2017), Harold Pinter’s Betrayal (2017), Datuk Seri (2016), Zak Zebra’s Malaysian Safari (2015), Uda dan Dara (2015), Zak Zebra’s African Safari (2015), Sinbad: The Musical (2014), Rashomon (2013), Broken Bridges (2013), and Philadelphia, Here I come! (2013).

In set design, he works alongside scenographer Yusman Mokhtar. Their recent works include Kandang (2017), The Taste of Water (2015), SuperMokh: The Musical (2013), Philadelphia, Here I come! (2013), and Paper Crane (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.

Ho Lee Ching – Resident Director

Ho Lee Ching started dabbling in the performing arts when she joined Joe Hasham’s Acting for Beginners in 2008 and realised how much she wanted to pursue it after being a part of Theatre for Young People (T4YP) 2012. She is currently the Actor in-Residence at The Actors Studio (Malaysia) and is now one of the programme coordinators and facilitators for T4YP.

To date, she has collaborated with Mark Beau de Silva for T4YP – Family (2017) and Still Taming & S’kolah (2016). For Omar Ali’s Kandang (2017), she was tasked as the Director of Movement. She also recently played Chou Suu Feng in Tsao Yu’s Thunderstorm (2017) directed by none other than Dato’ Faridah Merican.

In September 2014, she had the opportunity to tour South Korea as part of Zak Zebra’s Malaysian Safari. Her other works include playing multiple characters in Sisa-Sisa (2015), the lead in The Taste of Water (2015), a short monologue performance – Aku Nak Jadi Bintang (2015) and Three Doors (2015) as part of klpac’s 10th Anniversary Director Showcase. She was also in Zak Zebra’s African Safari at klpac (2015), Never Eat Too Much Before Rapture (2014,2013), Marrying Me the Musical (2013), Romeo and Juliet (2013), Through the Looking Glass (2012), Dinnertime(2012), Heart’s Desire (2012) and Ismail, the Last Days (2008).

Tung Jit Yang – Resident Director

Tung Jit Yang is a graduate from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where he earned his BFA (hons.) in Drama.

His New York directing credits include “The Tribe,” and “Chasing Light,” both new and original pieces of work with Shout Alone Theater Company. Upon returning to Malaysia, Jit was an Artist-in-Residence with theatrethreesixty where he devised his solo show “Tanah”; and where he first developed and premiered “Riwayat.”

Other projects include: acting as head-facilitator and spearhead for The New Play Project where he works with emerging playwrights of the Kuala Lumpur scene, to develop and publish their work.

Zhafir Muzani – Resident Choreographer & Actor

Mohd Zhafir Muzani bin Mohamad who goes by the stage name Zhafir Muzani, was born in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan and grew up in Lahad Datu, Sabah. He is now residing in Kajang, Selangor. Zhafir is an art activist who always wanted to explore the world of acting and dance. He started off as a freelance dancer and made a debut as a TV actor in an educational sitcom ‘Oh My English!’ while still pursuing his passion in dance.

He graduated with a Diploma in Film and Degree in Theatre from UiTM. He has joined many competitions such as Short+Sweet dance at klpac under Khairul Azhar since 2013 and won ‘Best Male Dancer’ two years in a row (2016 & 2017). Besides that, he won the World Championship of Performing Arts (2011) in Los Angeles, USA and also won in a few categories in dance and acting. He also choreographed dances for UiTM events after he graduated, such as the opening for Malam Karyaone Awards (2017) and Dhendham Tresno Musical (2018). He loves Javanese and Balinese dance and has travelled to Jogjakarta, Indonesia to learn both art forms. He tries to spread the beauty of Indonesian dance in Malaysia whenever he can. Now he serves as an in-house resident choreographer and actors at the klpac.

Among his theatrical works include Oedipus (2010), Muzikal Destini Anak Bangsa (2013), Kampung Kemenyan (2014), Rasuk (2015), Buy 1 Free 1 (2015), Nawaitu (2017), and Men In Heels (2018) and he has directed a play, Dang Sri (2015) and Mere Behen Ki Shaadi Musical (2016).

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 and sharing his passion in music with his friends. He is now the Music Director and Resident Conductor of the klpac Orchestra since 2015.

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 as well as 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, jointly organized by Goethe-Institut 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 Orchestra

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 music director and resident conductor of the klpac String Orchestra.

Faustina Kow als ka  – Publicist cum facilitator

Although Faustina holds a classical music degree, she enjoys doing other form of arts as well- which has led her to be a Publicist cum Facilitator at The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac). She has been facilitating a variety of classes such as drama, music, and vocals. When she is not teaching, she continues her theatre-making journey usually at the backstage of productions. Faustina recently joined the Theatre for Young People (T4YP) programme and for the first time, she was on the other side of the stage.

Our Departments

Theatre/Front of House

Ian Chow – Group General Manager

Ian is currently attached with The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac)Performing Arts Centre of Penang (penangpac) and The Actors Studio Malaysia, as the Group General Manager and Production Director with the Young Choral Academy. To date (since his foray into the arts in 2002), he has been involved in more than 100 local productions in various creative and management roles from producing to directing to performing as well as stage and production management.

His desire to help budding singer-songwriters and develop a new performing platform has prompted him to produce a series of acoustic gigs and CD compilations from 2004 til now.

In 2008, he released his collaborative album with another fellow singer-songwriter followed 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 and Lelaki 2.5. He has been appearing in Life Sdn Bhd series since 2005 and among his other notable music works include Malaysian Girls the Musical (2012) and One Thousand Million Smiles: A Tribute to Sudirman (2016 / 2017).

In 2013, Ian make his directorial debut in Period by the Young KL Singers and once again returned to the director’s chair in their following productions, Incantations, Shakespeare Does the Bard and YKLS Rocks in 2014, 2016 and 2017 respectively. He has just finished directing the klpac Symphonic Band 2017 year end production, Let’s Rock. He has helmed the post of Musical Director for the production of Lelaki 2.5 Out of the Closet (2015), Shakespeare’s Sonnets (2016), Yesterday Once More (2018) and currently the Festival Director of Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival.

On the private sector side, Ian is the co-owner of GameOn.com Sdn Bhd since 2010.

Lawrence Selvaraj – Theatre Manager

Lawrence first join klpac on 2 May 2005 as the Academy Admin Assistant and slowly rose the ranks from The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre’s Theatre Coordinator to Theatre Supervisor and then to Assistant Theatre Manager.

He then quit to explore Australia and New Zealand for an amazing year. Lawrence returned to klpac as The Company Stage Manager / Asst Technical Manager in 2014 . He has stage managed shows such as Uda & Dara the Musical, Sinbad the Musical, Frankenstein in Love!, Tunku! The Musical, Ismail! The last days, Short & Sweet Festival etc just to name a few. Lawrence presently holds the position of klpac Theatre Manager.

The avid Star Wars fan has also successfully explored all four corners and borders of Peninsular Malaysia using only old roads and off roads (no highways) with a 1981 Series III, Land Rover.

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 Tsao Yu’s Thunderstorm, 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.

Maintenance

Selwarajoo – Maintenance Supervisor 

Selva graduated with Diploma Electrical and Electronic Engineering from FIT, and joined the klpac family in 2011. He currently works as Maintenance  Officer and now been promoted as Maintenance Supervisor. If you care for your machines then the machine will take care of you !!!

Sathish Kumar – Assistant Maintenance Manager/Chargeman

Sathish graduated with Certificate In Electrical and Electronic from Politeknik Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah 2005, and joined the klpac family in 2006. He also complete his chargeman certificate from ILPKL 2016 and currently works as Assistant Maintenance Manager/Chargeman at klpac. He is currently leading the maintenance team at The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) since 2006. In his role as Assistant Maintenance Manager, Sathish also looks after the maintenance administration of the arts centre including the day to day operations.

Security

Mahen – Security Supervisor

Mahen is currently leading the security team at The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) since 2006. In his role as Security Supervisor, Mahen also looks after the security administration of the arts centre including the day to day operations.

Balu – Assistant Security Supervisor

Working  with a high level of responsibility so prospective employees need to be able to demonstrate: A polite and approachable manner at all times. A reasonable level of physical fitness and strength.

Chandran – Security Officer

Alertness. A good security guard is always alert and aware of his surroundings.

Uncle Bala – Security Officer

Uncle Bala believe the ability to serve Client’s Needs.

Jayaganeh – Security Officer

Honesty. A good security Officer with honesty

Rajan – Security Officer

Prevents losses and damage by reporting irregularities; informing violators of policy and procedures; restraining trespassers.

Production/Stage

Easee Gan –  Head of Department & Senior Production Manager

Easee Gan, or Gan Eng Cheng, is the senior production manager at The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) and The Actors Studio Malaysia. Unlike his name, Easee has been hard at work, actively 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.

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.

Front-of-House & Box Office

Oxford Tong – Box Office Executive / Administration Assistant

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). In 2017, he played a small but extremely important role in Tsao Yu’s Thunderstorm (2017).

Vaideggy – Box Office Executive 

She is special no matter what kind of situation she’s in. Even in difficult situations, she manages it with a cheerful smile.

Administration

Lily – Account Executive

Lily fell in love with music at the age of 13 and never looked back ever since. She graduated from UiTM Shah Alam with a Bach. (Hons) of Music Business. She was working with a few financial institution, then quit to pursue music interest. She is also a part time vocal teacher to young kids age 5-14 and adults. She also  played the violin and have a Diploma in Music, majoring in Classical Voice and this bubbly girl still picking up on piano, guitar & saxophone. She has been singing her heart out on stage and travel all over Malaysia and Thailand doing Pop, Rock & Jazz before settle down at klpac as Account Executive.