By Muhammad Nabil

BOH plantations and Kakiseni unveiled the performance art pieces of the much anticipated to “Best Of 2016” List of the 14th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards today at The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur.

The “Best Of” List

This year, BOH and Kakiseni are ambitiously taking the awards to a new direction and raising the bar for excellence. The new list of “Best Of” represents the pinnacle of this undertaking and will only consist of the best of the best shows from the previous year.

The shows on the list were selected by a panel of Award judges from all disciplines of performing arts categories who came together to deliberate and come to a final decision as democratically as possible.

The judges will also be given high priority by Kakiseni for exclusive meetings with potential investors and sponsors as well as international festival curators and directors.

In this way, it makes the list something for Malaysian artists and producers to strive to as it drives competition and encourages them to take bigger risks to produce shows that are downright outstanding and impactful.

Caroline Russell, the CEO of BOH plantations said, “This year marks the 14th edition of the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards and BOH is delighted to once again be working with Kakiseni. We are excited with the new direction that the Awards is taking to bring about change and drive Malaysia’s performing arts industry to the next level. The new direction, ‘Raising the Bar for Artistic Excellence’, will, we hope encourage productions and artistes to push the envelope.”

Low Ngai Yuen, the President of Kakiseni adds, “Often, in our efforts to encourage more strategic partnerships between corporates and creatives, we find that many business entities don’t realise that they are entitled to receive tax benefits by supporting and investing in the arts. Starting this year, the Awards will be reinvented as a platform for producers to meet potential sponsors keen to financially back local performing art companies.”

GameChangers Campaign

By raising the standards, BOH and Kakiseni also hope that the list and Awards in general will act as a catalyst by instilling inspiration to a new generation of artists and producers to be bold game changers.

With this in mind, Kakiseni has launched the GameChangers social media campaign to intertwine with this year’s Awards. The campaign highlights local talents and creatives who have not only impacted their chosen fields significantly, but also made their mark in the international stage.

These game changers include Rani Moorthy, a UK-based theatre producer and filmmaker; Rendra Zawawi, a chart-topping music producer based in Los Angeles; and Kun Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Dance Association, the 11-time titleholder of the Genting World Lion Dance Championship.

The Panel of Executives Judges

In addition to these new changes, Kakiseni is also proud to present a new panel of Executive Judges.

Apart from overseeing the 2016 judging process and appraising the subcategories for inclusion in the Awards, the Executive Judges are also responsible for attending shows pinned for their exceptional quality for their consideration of next year’s “Best Of” List.

It is paramount that the Executive Judges are deemed credible by art practitioners, thus the board consists of performing art veterans who were handpicked for their outstanding credentials, experience, commitment and versatility.

This year’s Executive Judges are well-known professionals from all four categories, including:

  • Colin Kirton, the artistic director of Kirton Call Productions whose expertise includes Directing and Musical Direction
  • Foo Chi Wei, a dance practitioner with over 20 years experience whose expertise includes Choreography and Dance Performance
  • Mervyn Peters, an award-winning musical director whose expertise includes Musical Direction and Production Design
  • Michael Xavier Voon, the longest serving judge for the Awards whose expertise includes Choreography and Ensemble Performance
  • Patrick Jonathan, an internationally-performed composer whose expertise includes Singing and Instrumental Music
  • Sandra Sodhy, a co-founding member of the Instant Cafe Theatre Company whose expertise includes Acting and Playwriting
  • Dr. Wong Oi Min, the current Dean of the Theatre Faculty at ASWARA whose expertise includes Directing and Physical Theatre

The 14th BOH Cameroonian Awards is a bold step in the necessary direction. With the new Best Of list shaking up the stale awards format of the past, we’re looking forward to more groundbreaking productions inspired by this new, freeing decision to put the power back in the hands of the creators.