Thursday, 28 January 2010

Foreword for Mutiara International Grammar School's production of Grease

My first encounter with the students of Mutiara International was backstage during a performance of Puteri Gunung Ledang the Musical at Istana Budaya. I was already impressed then, at how active the school was, in promoting theatre amongst the students.

It’s always been a personal mission of mine to promote performing arts to the younger generations, and what better way than to work through schools who believe in the same cause.

I don’t need to echo the fact that Theatre provides children with educational experiences that may not be achievable solely by being in the classroom.
I speak from my own experience, growing up in a school that really encouraged and harnessed artistic talents through various theatrical and variety show performances, an active literary society and debate team, and dedicated art teachers. I couldn’t see the connection back then, but my math skills were enhanced by my ability to visualize solutions to just about any algebra, trigonometry or elevation problem. I credit this to all the creative senses that I developed from the artistic activities I mentioned earlier. This has proven to be a life-long ability that has benefitted me throughout my career.

So I’m sure you can see why I immediately said “yes” when I was invited to be guest of honour for Mutiara International’s production of “Grease”.

I would like to congratulate everybody involved, from those who will be performing onstage to the “unsung heroes” working in the background. Kudos to the teaching staff and management of the school for their support and encouragement, and for planting the seeds of creativity in these kids. I came across a quote by author and arts integration specialist Claudia Cornett that says it perfectly - "The most important aspects of civilization and culture are preserved, not in standardized tests or on report cards but in imaginative literature, art, drama, dance and music."

Putting on a show no matter how big or small takes equal dedication, effort and teamwork to make it a success. Whenever the going gets tough, I always say, think of the moment when the curtains go up and the lights hit your face – it’ll all be worth it!

I hope that the journey you have all been on together putting “Grease” together has been educational, rewarding and inspiring, and I look forward to enjoying myself at the show!

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