Reanimating cultural polemic in the National Theater Week 2018

undangan depanNational Theater Week 2018 is an annual theater event initiated by the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, and Jakarta Arts Council, since 2017. think archipelago is a proud media partner of the week-long event which runs from 6-14 October, Graha Bhakti Budaya, Jakarta.

Theatrical piece SIDE B 47:17 [speech, noise and effect] by Teater Ghanta, Graha Bhakti Budaya, Jakarta, 9 October 2018

Compared with the first event last year held in Gedung Societed Komplek Taman Budaya Yogyakarta, and participated by 10 group of theaters from 10 provinces of Indonesia, Pekan Teater Nasional or the National Theater Week 2018 involves 16 groups across 15 cities, categorized into three types of city, community, and campus theaters.

Among the lineups are Teater Language (Sumenep-Madura), Sandiwara Pettapuang (Makassar), Teater Sakata (Padangpanjang), Komunitas Polelea (Sigi, Sulawesi Tengah), Teater Ghanta (Jakarta), Teater Selembayung (Pekanbaru), Teater Bel (Bandung), Teater Akar (Tegal), Teater Yupa (Samarinda), Teater Sirat (Surakarta), Akarpohon (Mataram), Teater Rumahmata (Medan), Nara Teater (Lewolema, East Flores), Teater Tobong (Surabaya).

Jakarta Arts Council Theater Committee Head Afrizal Malna stressed out public participation in the country’s modern theater, serving the purpose of education and performer regeneration.

Besides daily performances throughout the week, twice a day at 16:00 and 20:00, the event also exhibits archival collection, performing arts education timeline, forums, and the 16 director profiles hung in the main hall.

The opening day was marked with a ceremony awarding Teater Koma’s director Nano Riantiarno for his 53 years of dedication, and as pointed by curator Seno Joko Suyono, Teater Koma is the only group that has successfully built followers of three generation since 70s. At 69 years old, he showed little hint of slowing down when Teater Koma has just performed Gemintang, the 159rd work of 2018.

Director General of Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture Hilmar Farid said that although Indonesian theater as an industry is still underdeveloped compared to Broadway performances that have generated tourism revenues, Riantiarno’s relentless works could pave a way for such a business model.

Teater Ghanta performs at National Theater Week 2018, Graha Bhakti Budaya, Jakarta, 9 October 2018.

Head of Jakarta Arts Council Irawan Karseno said that theater groups in their quest for increasing prominence can no longer count on themselves, but also the public, and the municipal support.

Such is Teater Ghanta, founded in 1995 at Universitas Nasional, Jakarta, and in 2014 decided to become an independent community theater, collaborating broadly with artists and institutions across discipline in response to social issues.

SIDE B 47:17 [speech, noise and effect] is a performance-presentation of the audio recording of a 1970 lecture by Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana in Jakarta Arts Council, entitled the history of the cultural development of the world community, and identifying Indonesia’s position in it. It attempts to revisit the lost polemic about Indonesian culture.


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