Friday, March 21, 2008

MY-UK Theatre Exchange

Project OMG is soliciting donations for a very good cause. They are organising a theatre-based exchange project between Malaysia and the UK, and would like your help as Priya K. explains below:
The MY-UK Exchange is a year-long community arts project that aims to encourage the growth of emerging artists and at the same time give back to the community. As a member of the exchange, this is an appeal letter seeking your help, in terms of funding or otherwise, to make the project a reality.

At present the project is supported and partially funded by the Commonwealth Foundation. In fact, the exchange project has been selected to be included in the Commonwealth Culture Toolkit (to be launched later in 2008), a CD-Rom developed due to lack of readily available cultural information from many Commonwealth countries despite the fact that "cultural industries are being increasingly seen as playing a part in social and economic development" (from the Commonwealth Foundation website).

In a nutshell, the project is a theatre-based exchange between 10 people (ages 18 - 25) from Malaysia and the UK. The project aims to build on work that the facilitating organisations (Cloudbreak, Dram Projects, Soho Theatre Young Writers and York Youth Theatre Royal) have all been developing locally - work that encourages young people to reflect upon their own place within the world and to connect their creative visions with the communities around them.

Aims of the Project:

The project is engaged in the fostering of creative drama based disciplines for young people with the intention to

* explore concepts such as national identity, multiculturalism and global citizenship

* broaden personal, cultural and creative horizons

* make theatre in a new context

* challenge assumptions about ourselves and others

* develop and initiate social responsibility through simultaneous community outreach projects with Malaysian welfare organisations

* build creative capital amongst Malaysian youth to inspire local arts and promote careers in the creative industries

* provide young Malaysians with experiential training in the planning, management and funding of an independent arts initiative

Youth, Arts and Community

The ultimate result of this project would be for the participants to give back to the community through the arts, for example by running creative workshops for underprivileged or marginalised communities, for example AIDS sufferers, orphans and the economically under-privileged. These efforts aspire to introduce participants to various arts forms which can inspire and develop self-confidence, sharpen self expression and spark people's imagination.

The first community project planned at the end of the exchange project in September is a piece of forum theatre that will be developed by the exchange participants, in collaboration with the AIDS hospice Welcome Community Home. The performance will be staged in schools and community centres to raise awareness of HIV amongst Malaysian youth. Other programmes in the works include art education workshops for children of street hawkers in the Jalan Pekeliling area as well as the residents of the Ti-Ratana Community home.

As the participants of the exchange are already involved in creative disciplines, the focus of the work that will be done with the community at large is to encourage a domino-effect - training other young people to in turn change more lives with the arts.

We also welcome requests and suggestions for other organisations and communities that we can work with.

How You Can Help:

At present, aside from the Commonwealth Foundation, and a few personal contributions from British and Malaysian philanthropists, we have not been able to obtain the funds needed for the project.

We are still in the process of submitting funding applications and waiting to hear from organisations that we have already applied to.

This email is to ask for more personal contributions or help in kind, and we welcome any sum at all (big or small) as an indication of your support of the arts and community service.

The funds needed for the exchange will basically be used in the following areas:

* workshops and training sessions for the participants

* hosting the British participants in the Malaysia-based leg of the exchange

* travel and basic living expenses for the Malaysian participants during the Britain-based leg of the exchange

* production costs for public performance

For monetary contributions, checks can be written out to Cloudbreak Sdn. Bhd. or cash can be directly banked into Standard Charted Bank, A/C: 3121 – 5705 – 2026.

The very least that we request is that you pass the word along to anyone who might be interested in our endeavor.

I have attached two menus of items* that potential sponsors can choose from. These menus will give you a better idea of what we need sponsorship for. Also attached is an in-depth description of the exchange project. Do contact me if you would like to see a copy of our proposed budget or need any more information about the project.

Thank you for your time.
Priya Kulasagaran
016 - 6606460
(* I have not posted this information here for obvious reasons, but can forward it to anyone who is interested.)

If you or your organisation you work for can help in any way, please contact Priya.

I've told her to come and make her plea again in person on Saturday at Seksan's - so if you are going to be there, please bring along some spare dosh.

And you can also support Project OMG's benefit gig on March 30th :

(Click to enlarge.)

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