Plans Underway to Turn Old DUN Complex Into A Performing Arts Centre
KUCHING: Sarawak’s arts and entertainment scene is expected to thrive further with the planned conversion of the old State Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex into a performing arts centre.
According to Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin, the state government is looking at renovation works on the building in Petra Jaya near here, commencing next year.
“The state government has agreed to convert the old DUN complex into a performing arts centre because at the moment, we don’t have a proper one (arts centre).
“Hopefully, we would begin the renovations next year. We are getting consultants to look into the building on ways to configure and convert the place into a proper performing arts centre with good acoustics and so on,” he told reporters prior to attending the ‘Wind in the Willows Musical Theatre’ at the old DUN complex on Monday night.
Lee believed that upon completion, the centre would be a pride of the state where various arts and cultural activities could be held there and as a result, this would generate greater interest in the performing arts among the public.
“Performing arts play an important part in promoting the state’s tourism, especially cultural tourism. Through the proposed centre, we hope to promote our local performing arts scene comprising traditional dances, songs, music and plays, to the tourists.”
Lee also believed that music and dance ‘have no language barrier’; therefore, this would enable the tourists to learn more about the state’s culture even if they did not understand the language.
“We can all enjoy them (music and dance), even if we don’t understand the language. That is the beauty of music and dance, and where tourism is concerned, we would like to showcase our rich cultural heritage through the performing arts,” he added.
The new DUN Complex was declared open in July 2009 and since then, the old DUN building has been used as venues for a number of events such as concerts and plays as well as government functions.
On the ‘Wind in the Willows Musical Theatre’, Lee said the event staged by Sarawak Arts Council and Sarawak State Symphony Orchestra (SONS) was the second of a six-part performing arts series for this year.
“We hope through this series, we could encourage more people to come, enjoy and support the local performing arts scene.”
The play is based on an English classic – a tale of friendship between Toad, Mole, Ratty, and Badger, as well as their adventures in the English countryside.
Around 800 people, both young and old, came to watch the musical including Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports principal assistant secretary Desmond Jerukan, SONS director Yap Chiew Phin and Sarawak Arts Council cultural officer Easter Melebeh.