The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) has been bringing us the best of Malaysian theatre since its establishment in 2004.
However, after 13 years of putting up shows and hosting workshops, the non-profit company is reportedly struggling to make ends meet and may be at risk of shutting down
KLPac Group General Manager Ian Chow told The Malaysian Reserve
that the centre is lacking support and funding
from the corporate sector.
“Very few corporations are willing to fund operational costs or back productions as many companies do not have ‘arts’ as part of their corporate social responsibility pillar,” KLPac Marketing Communications head Ang Yue May added.
Many potential companies often seek return on investment (ROI) after sponsoring a production, but it is difficult to monetise the results because the arts scene is very intangible.
Furthermore, KLPac is also reportedly running out of resources to upgrade and fix its facilities
“Due to financial limitation, we can only replace the timber strips flooring in two studios, as well as the carpeting of the main staircase, even though all the carpeting is in dire need of change,” Chow said.
According to The Malaysian Reserve, KLPac’s annual revenue of RM3.46 million reportedly comes from ticket sales and sponsorships. But this amount is not enough to sustain the centre because it is just enough to pay for rent, insurance, royalties, sets, costumes and other items according to each production.
“The arts industry needs to be sustainable, and in order for it to stand on its two feet, there must be demand, supply chain and the willingness to pay
for its value,” Chow urged.
As Malaysians become more frugal with spending their disposable income, the local performing arts industry has become one of the casualties. Neverthless, let's hope for brighter days ahead for KLPac and all the other performing arts centres that have contributed to the growth of the arts in this country.