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 awarded an Honorary Doctorate in the Arts by Taylor’s University in 2018. Faridah is currently the Adjunct Professor & Programme Development Director of TUTAS, Malaysia’s first performing arts conservatory degree programme by The Actors Studio and Taylor’s University.

Joe Hasham OAM, Artistic Director & Co-Founder

 

Joe was born in Tripoli, 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 Artistic Director of The Actors Studio, which he set up with his wife Faridah in 1989 and also Artistic Director of The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre. 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”.

Joe is currently the Adjunct Professor & Programme Artistic Director of TUTAS, Malaysia’s first performing arts conservatory degree programme by The Actors Studio and Taylor’s University.

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.

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.

Mark Beau de Silva, Senior Lecturer, Director and Writer

Mark’s 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 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. In 2016 he co devised Still Taming with Ho Lee Ching, which toured Singapore and Russia.

Mark has been teaching in the performing arts since 2004. He was teaching in 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.

A Master’s of Performing Arts holder and recipient of The Edge Young Leaders Award 2019, Mark has almost two decades of experience teaching English and Drama. A Senior Lecturer of TUTAS Conservatory’s Bachelor of Performing Arts programme set up by Taylor’s University & The Actors Studio (Malaysia), Mark is currently a PhD candidate at UNIMAS.

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).

Zhafir Muzani, Resident Choreographer & Actor

Mohd Zhafir Muzani bin Mohamad, who goes by the stage name of Zhafir Muzani, was born in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, and grew up in Lahad Datu, Sabah. He is now residing in Kuala Lumpur. Zhafir is an art activist who has always wanted to explore the world of acting and dance. He started off as a freelance dancer and made his debut as a TV actor in an educational sitcom ‘Oh My English!’ while 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. Upon graduation, he has choreographed various dance works for UiTM events 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 Actor with The Actors Studio.

His theatre credits include Oedipus (2010), Muzikal Destini Anak Bangsa (2013), Kampung Kemenyan (2014), Rasuk (2015), Buy 1 Free 1 (2015), Nawaitu (2017), Men In Heels (2018), Bollywood Dreams (2021). He directed the plays Dang Sri (2015) and Mere Behen Ki Shaadi Musical (2016) and his recent dance production is pragina : EMOSI (2021).

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.

Our Departments

Theatre Management/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 until 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 until 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, YKLS Rocks and the award-winning production Aurora: Tribute to Bjork from 2014 onwards. Another notable production he has directed include klpac Symphonic Band’s Lets Rock (2017 & 2019). 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 is 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. He is a guitar plectrum (pick) freak where he has over 1,500 different picks in his collection to date.

Lawrence Selvaraj, Assistant General Manager – Theatre & Technical Management

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’s Assistant General 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.

Benedict Chin, Front of House / Theatre Management Assistant 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).

Easee Gan, Assistant General Manager – Admin, Finance & Production

Easee Gan is a PhD candidate in Performing Arts at the Faculty of Creative Arts, Universiti Malaya. He graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Performing Arts (Drama) from Universiti Malaya, under the Tunku Abdul Rahman Scholarship (BTAR). Currently Assistant General Manager (Production, Admin & Finance) of The Actors Studio Malaysia and The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac). He has been actively involved in producing various award-winning Malaysian theatre productions and festivals. He is the Co-Founder and Executive Producer of MUKA Space which has presented more than 30 productions that have won over 50 awards since 2013. Easee was nominated as Best Supporting Male Actor in the 9th ADA Award 2010 for his performance in Big Head and Potato Head, directed by Mark Beau de Silva. Besides his practice in theatre, his current research focuses on arts management and the development of Malaysian theatre. He is a co-producer of the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival and Advisor of Festival Short and Sweet Malaysia. Furthermore, he is a co-founder of UNIMA Malaysia, Malaysian Puppetry Association (MPA), Performing Arts Malaysia Drama Archive (PAMDA), Dominant Music Studio and ACX Productions. Recent directing works include Journey, The Tempest, The Fisherman and His Soul, Fiery Family 2.0, Da Ji, Grandpa’s Papaya Tree, UDARA, Mr. Noisy, YOLO, The Guardian, The Story of Ah Loy and Cabaret Series: Golden Melody.

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.

Mathanakumar a/l Murthi, Senior Technician

Maintenance

Sathish Kumar, 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.

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 !!!

Security

Mahen, Security Manager

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

Balu, Assistant Security Manager

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

Catherine, Production Stage Manager

A graduate from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Catherine obtained her Bachelor in Communications in 2018, majoring in journalism and minoring in management. She was involved in a few show productions during her university days and found her passion in stage management. A dreamer in heart, she hopes to be in New York City working as a backstage crew in Broadway shows.

Marketing

Ang Yue May, General Manager – Marketing Communications

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, 2016 and 2018.

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, Senior Art Director

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.

Maggie Ong, Publicity and Marketing Manager

Maggie graduated with a Bachelor’s of Business (Accounting) degree from HELP University (Malaysia) in 2013. During her university years, she started volunteering for performing arts events and it was then that she discovered her passion for the performing arts. She then joined Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC) in 2013 as a media and public relations officer. She has worked with DPAC extensively on all their major festivals and productions. Then, Maggie decided to broaden her horizon and stepped out as a project manager for Checkmate Creative from 2017 to 2018, to further explore the field of the performing arts. In 2019, she embarked on a new adventure and joined The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) where she is now the Senior Publicist.

Vishallini

Vishallini Vikram Gopal, Publicist

Visha is a graduate from University of Malaya with Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communication Studies, who joined the team in March 2020. With a graphic designing background, she joined us to learn more about publicity and content writing.

Box Office

Jennifer, Box Office Assistant Supervisor

I am a Box Office Assistant Supervisor and I manage the BO/Ticketing Information counter.

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.

Farah Nadia Binti Abdullah, Admin Executive

Farah Nadia Binti Abdullah is based in Kuala Lumpur. She carries a Diploma in Secretaryship from Stamford College, Petaling Jaya. Started her career as a flight attendant in year 2005 until 2008. She did enjoy working with Airlines as it is an advantage to explore the world. Also, she worked as a Personal Assistant in a logistic company after graduated in 2010. Now, with the passion and interest for arts, she stepped into klpac and started her new journey to keep learning life.

The Actors Studio Academy @klpac

Yusintha Zemira @ Cherry Coco, Head of Academy and Administrator

Yusintha, whose artistic name is Cherry Coco is an English Literature graduate, teacher and an oral poetic performer. Her journey in teaching began during her quest in completing her Diploma and Degree. She started off as a full time private tutor. Having taught students from diverse countries and of different age groups, she felt grounded serving students as they instilled in her, the art of learning. She has also had her fair share of experience teaching English Literature, Bahasa Malaysia and Mathematics in Schools. During her undergraduate studies, she was a campus leader under Teach for Malaysia.

Fervent in Mental Health Literacy, Cherry accepted her calling in teaching beyond the classroom. She creates space for students to express hidden emotions through the transcendental of Performing Arts and Spoken Word. Her conveyance often reflects upon the nuances of life which led her to win the UPM Slam Poetry competition in 2019. She also represented contingent Malaysia in CEX Slam Poetry competition winning against team Singapore.

Yusintha was also a speaker in TEDx-UPM. Her recent performance at Life Sdn Bhd: Differences, klpac narrates the importance of cultivating creative writing amongst students. She also participated in Urbanscapes: Malaysia’s longest-running creative arts festival, which then gave birth to a poetry circle called “Sangam Poetry” which serves as a writing space for poets to exercise their talents. She was also one of the judges for “Sayembara Cerpen Impian Team Selangor”, an initiative by the Selangor state government.

Yusintha finds solace through creative writing and yoga. She hopes to guide students in unveiling their hidden emotions in forms of art. Her love for dance also led her to be included in Malaysia Book of Records as a dancer and crew of UPSI’S nonstop longest musical performance. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in English Literature. Her research encompasses the social injustices narrated through the voices of the untouchables, also known as the Devadasis.

She hopes to breathe art in her story. For every cherry, has a story.