URBAN STAGE TRANSCRIPT: MAPPING PERFORMANCE SPACES IN A HERITAGE URBAN PARCEL
Free (open access)
401 - 412
KARTINI KASMURI, NUR ATIQAH HUSAINI, FAIRUZ REZA RAZALI
Performance and performativity are inherent to urban life and design. The idea of a city as “theatre of social action” according to Lewis Mumford has been contextualized through the roles of theatre and performance in urban life. The notion of theatre and performance here is more than metaphoric. In a parcel of Georgetown, Penang, the urban fabric provides historical spatial background as urban scenography; while in another sense, providing imagination of a performance through individuals’ routine that embodies the community’s collective values, desires, memories and aspirations. The deep-rooted existence of performing arts and cultural expression is now ploughed by the diminishing community that contributed to this scenario. This paper attempts to formulate strategies and tools of an urban catalyst that will revive the parcel into an area robust with business, religious and cultural activities that it once was. The potential of the site lies within its heritage cultural practices, heavily signified by its long-standing history of performance and artistic expressions in the urban parcel, which is now a host for the Penang Philharmonic Orchestra. Historical settings function as new imaginative performance spaces for citizens who assume the colliding and interchanging roles of both the performer and the audience. The new series of urban scenography become various nodes throughout the parcel, accommodating diverse typologies of “urban stage” and “micro theatres”. Subsequently, connectivity among these nodes is traversed by a network of “corridors”. As such, this plexus of urban performance ultimately encourages a certain level of culturally charged resiliency and rebrands the parcel as a sustainable entity thriving on creative economy. This formula aims to be a catalyst to a chain of reaction in rejuvenating George Town through new programs of cultural contextualisation.
performance, routine, nodes, urban stage, micro theatre, urban scenography