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 served on the Board of Ogilvy & Mather for several years. 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. In 2011, she co-founded the Performing Arts Centre of Penang (penangpac) which operated until 2022.
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 (klpac). In 2011, he co-founded the Performing Arts Centre of Penang (penangpac) which operated until 2022. 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.
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.
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.
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).
Keith Toh, Resident Martial Arts Expert
Toh Wei Keith is from Kuala Terengganu and is a graduate of TUTAS. He is currently employed by The Actors Studio.
He has produced, choreographed and directed an original mini Bangsawan play entitled, “Tales of a Leatherback and The Three Warriors” for “5,4,3,2,1” Production Practicum.
He made his acting debut as Earl the Elder, a supporting character in “The Prophet” (2021), directed by Daniel Hussin, Charity Yong and Kristy Chee. He was last seen performing as Oliver, the cool, calm but annoying hippy in “Time, What is it?” originally written by Lindsay Price, directed by Nandagopall in “Kaleidoscope” (2022).
He has a background in martial arts and holds a Junior Black Belt, World Taekwondo
Federation (WTF) (2nd Poom). He was trained under Taekwondo Master, Mr. Yang Kong Lee, 6th Dan black belt, Terengganu Taekwondo Association in Kuala Terengganu for 8 years.
Lee Kok Leong, Resident Conductor & Music Director, The 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, The 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, The klpac Symphonic Band
After graduating from the Elder Conservatorium of Music (Australia) with concurrent majors in Piano Performance and Music Education, Cheryl Mah completed a performance-based Master’s Degree in Conducting and Directorship from Salford University (England, UK) under the tutelage of Professor Dr. David King and the late Dr. Roy Newsome, specialising in Brass Band Conducting.
As an active active music educator, Cheryl regularly conducts the UCSI University Orchestra
(Malaysia). She has been the Resident Conductor and Music Director of the award-winning klpac Symphonic Band, which is part of The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac), since 2011.
Apart from directing various ensembles, Cheryl actively advocates for music education. Two education and outreach initiatives she has led recently were collaborative band programmes that involved young band musicians of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and culture, local band directors, local community bands and a university. One of the projects was a 13-week Outreach Collaborative Programme entitled An Uncommon Journey which culminated in public performances in August 2022 at Pentas 1, klpac, hosted by klpac. The other was a one-day IMus Wind Orchestra Day – which featured a series of performance, masterclasses, workshops, and podium time, in October 2022 at the Recital Hall, hosted by Institute of Music, UCSI University.
Cheryl co-founded the Kuala Lumpur-based Birdian Saxophone Quartet in 2000 for which she also plays the baritone saxophone. The quartet initiated the “Chamber Wind Project” in 2012 which features distinguished chamber wind ensembles from the region. It has presented five editions since then, receiving significant recognition for promoting the growth of wind chamber playing to a wider community.
Cheryl is currently the Head of Diploma Programme at the Institute of Music, UCSI University.
Andrea Sim, Resident Conductor & Music Director, The klpac String Orchestra
A well-rounded musician whose passion for music extends to its many disciplines, Andrea Sim was appointed Music Director and Resident Conductor of The klpac String Orchestra in 2021.
She has played as concertmaster for the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, UCSI University Orchestra and The klpac Orchestra, and performed as a violinist with the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), Kamerata Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur City Opera Orchestra, Yin Qi Festival Orchestra, Selangor Symphony Orchestra, and the Vienna Young Artist Orchestra in Vienna.
Andrea believes that music should be shared and experienced by everyone, a belief that inspired the first String Orchestra Exchange Programme organised by and held in klpac in May 2023. She is passionate about education and has coached the NSO’s Genius Seni Muzik (GSM) violin section. She has also been the assistant coach for the UCSI University Orchestra and Eugene Pook Orchestra Academy, as well as a pre-camp tutor for the Miri Tutti Project 2.0 Outreach Program in Miri, Sarawak. She has also been invited to give violin masterclasses for the violinists in the GSM programme and the Galaxy Chamber Orchestra.
Andrea studied the violin in Vienna’s Prayner Konservatorium for two years with Anna Kandinskaya and Barbara Gorzynsky and is currently pursuing her Master of Music (Performance Studies) majoring in classical violin performance at UCSI University’s Institute of Music where she is on a full scholarship. She graduated with first class honours on a full scholarship from the same university with a Bachelor of Music (Hons) degree in classical violin performance under the tutelage of Ergys Koni. She is currently also under the conducting mentorship of Lee Kok Leong.
An avid writer, Andrea has written articles for the Global Musicians League, and programme notes for recitals in Malaysia and abroad.
Ian Chow, Group General Manager
Ian is currently attached with The Actors Studio Malaysia (TAS) and The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) as their Group General Manager and Company Director with the Young Choral Academy. He is also one of the Board Member with The Actors Studio Foundation.
To date (since his foray into the arts in 2002), he has been involved in more than 100 local productions in various management and creative roles. This include sitting on the Director’s chair with music productions being his forte; in which some of the productions have been nominated and won the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards (Malaysia) since 2014.
He lectures with Taylor’s University in their Bachelor of Performing Arts programme, in production, stage and theatre management modules. He is currently the Co-Festival Director for Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival, the largest free-for-all performing arts festival in the country.
When time calls for it, Ian has and will work with various government agencies in being one of the voices for change in the arts policy in this country.
Lawrence Selvaraj, Assistant General Manager – Theatre & Technical Management
Lawrence joined klpac on 2 May 2005 as its Academy Admin Assistant. He then switched over to the Theatre Management team and slowly rose through the ranks from Coordinator to Supervisor and finally Assistant Theatre Manager before a year-long break to explore Australia and New Zealand. He returned as klpac’s Company Stage Manager / Assistant Technical Manager in 2014 and stage managed shows like Uda & Dara the Musical, Sinbad the Musical, Frankenstein in Love, Tunku! The Musical, Ismail! The Last Days, SHORT+SWEET Malaysia festival, just to name a few. Presently, Lawrence is klpac’s Assistant General Manager. The avid Star Wars fan has also 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.
Harsvini Loganathan, Front of House & Theatre Supervisor
Probably, the first person you would see before entering the theatre. Harsvini, also known as Vini joined the klpac family in May 2022.With experience working as a production assistant for advertisement projects & productions outside of klpac, she currently serves as the Front-of-House & Theatre Supervisor.
Selwarajoo, Assistant Maintenance Manager
Selva graduated with a Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from FIT and joined the klpac family in 2011 as a Maintenance Officer. He has just been promoted to Maintenance Supervisor, overseeing the daily operations, upkeep and maintenance of the arts centre. His favourite saying? If you care for your machines then the machine will take care of you!
Mathanakumar Murthi, Assistant Technical Manager
Helmi Khairi, Senior Technician
Yogeshwaraan Shandre Sakran, Junior Technician
Mohd Faridzuan Bin Abd Rahim @Wan, Senior Technician
Production & Stage Management
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) and is currently the 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 a whole host of 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 Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival and Advisor of Short+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.
Catherine Lee, Production Stage Manager & Personal Assistant to Executive Producer & Group General 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.
Yeo, Production Stage ManagerYeo Kok Wei graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Drama from University of Malaya. He then joined The Actors Studio in 2020. With his performing arts background, he enjoys working on the ground and never stops learning about theatre. His first practical experience was working as a Stage Manager for Dato’ Dr. Faridah Merican’s Bollywood Dreams (2021). Then, he went on to work as a Production Stage Manager for Dato’ Dr. Faridah Merican’s Life Sdn Bhd: Differences (2021). The show list continues with Experiencing Usman Awang (2021), pragina : EMOSI (2021), and Suka+Duka《爱与失》(2021).
Soo Choy Wah, Production Stage Manager
Graduated from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music, she had the opportunity to be an intern at klpac during July – August 2013 that had ignited her interest towards performing arts management. She had then joined joined the klpac as a full timer under production / stage department from November 2014 to December 2018, handling many in-house and collaborative productions as well as being the orchestra manager for The klpac Orchestra, The klpac String Orchestra and The klpac Symphonic Band. In year 2019-2023, she had ventured into different daytime jobs but this never stops her from being the freelance orchestra manager for the three klpac orchestras due to her passion towards orchestra management. Life has then brought her back to klpac so that she can do what she is good and passionate about for Malaysia performing arts scene.
Ang Yue May, General Manager – Marketing CommunicationsYue 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 DirectorHandles 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) and is now its Publicity & Marketing Manager.
Isma Najmi, Multimedia Content Creator / Videographer
Isma Najmi is a creative videographer with four years of experience in all aspects of media, photography, and videography. He is skilled in applying a powerful blend of technology and creativity to capture photos and shoot videos for commercials as well as stage performances.
Jennifer Patsy, Assistant Box Office Supervisor
Vaideggy, Assistant Box Office Supervisor
Balu, Security Manager
Mahen, Assistant Security Manager
Chandran, Senior Security Officer
Uncle Bala – Security Officer
Rajan, Security Officer
Ram Shah Osali – Security Officer
Kimmy Kiew, Head of Academy
A theatre graduate from the Malaysian Institute of Arts, Kimmy has more than 20 years of experience in the arts having worked as a front-of-house supervisor, publicist, producer, educator, actor and director.
She was a Publicist and Associate Producer with Gardner & Wife Theatre Company before joining klpac as Director in-Residence from 2010 to 2012. She has participated in the ASEAN-Japan Exchange (2003) in Tokyo, CPI (2007) in Seoul and Tamsui Arts Carnival 2010 in Taiwan. Kimmy’s production of “The Bear” (2003) won Best Production at the 2nd ADA Awards and she was named Best Actress at the BMW Shorties Awards 2008.
A mother to a ten year old, she has shifted her focus to arts education in the past decade. She has been a speech and drama facilitator at The Actors Studio Academy @ klpac, Never-ending Story Education, Earth Tone Dance Academy and several other kindergartens. In 2018, Kimmy directed “Journey of a Baby Butterfly”, the very first baby theatre in Malaysia produced by Hong Jie Jie Workstation.
She is delighted to continue her passion as the Creative Head of The Actors Studio Academy @ klpac.
Farah Abdullah, Personal Assistant to Artistic Director
Agnes Chong, Academy Administrator
Esther Kuan, Assistant Account Manager
Xavier Chen, TUTAS Coordinator
Amanda Chan, Admin & Account Executive