By DHINESH PRADHAN and NATHAN THARMALINGAM
BUDDING theatre stars in Malaysia now have the opportunity to get both a leg-up in the industry as well as proper recognition, thanks to the Junior Cammies category at the annual BOH Cameronian Arts Awards’ Technical Awards.
The BOH Cameronian Arts Awards was founded by Kakiseni in 2002 to recognise talented individuals in the local performing arts scene.
Since 2010, the Technical Awards has had its own awards ceremony to shine a spotlight on the technical crew whose efforts are sometimes overlooked.
This year, the introduction of the Junior Cammies award ensured that another underappreciated group – performers and artistes from local secondary schools – can be awarded for their excellence.
Held at Makespace by Kakiseni at Quill City Mall in Kuala Lumpur on April 15, this year’s event was a light, fun affair that was part elegant tea party and part award ceremony – and the BRATs were right there to take it all in.
But more importantly, it provided an avenue for young nominees to rub shoulders with professionals in the industry and carve their niche as the next generation of performing arts talents.
In her opening speech, Caroline Russell, CEO of BOH Plantations Sdn Bhd, said it was heartening to know the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards now plays a role in nurturing young talent and helping to develop their potential.
Edwin Sumun, the host of the event, echoed her thoughts, calling it “a special time to recognise young Malaysians” and reminding the nominees that the onus was on them to make the Malaysian performing arts scene truly great.
The five categories under the Junior Cammies were production design, original script, ensemble cast, principal role performance and direction, with mainly three schools – Sri KDU Secondary School, Cempaka Schools and The International School @ ParkCity vying for the awards.
Sri KDU ended up being the big winner of the event, winning four of the five categories they were nominated in for the musical The Fortunettes.
The last remaining award for Best Ensemble went to Cempaka Schools for their performance of The Wedding Singer.
Sri KDU teacher Zachary Wong, said his school had never participated in any other performing arts competitions before this, as they didn’t know such awards even existed.
Hannah Christina Subramaniam of Sri KDU, who won Best Principal Role for her performance in The Fortunettes, said winning the award has made her believe she now has a very real chance of taking up performing arts as a career.
But it wasn’t just the students who felt like they were finally being acknowledged, as the teachers who work so hard to guide them were also recognised.
Jessie Wong, one of the teachers from Sri KDU Secondary School who won for Best Production Design along with Alan Chong and Andrew Tan, said it was nice to have such a platform, as the teachers rarely get congratulated for their work.
“It really made all my hard work and effort – and the whole team’s – worth it,” she said.
To take the Junior Cammies to the next level, Kakiseni hopes to get more participation and entries from national, private and international schools.
This will help nurture an appreciation for performing arts among students so they can start building their craft and contemplating a possible career in performing arts.
This will, in turn, create a big impact on the growth of the performing arts industry in Malaysia.
Head of Awards for Kakiseni Lynn Loo said schools can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about eligibility and how to get involved in the competition.
So, if you’re in a school performing arts production, give it a shot! Who knows, it might just be time for you and your school to shine.
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