From the Desk of the Festival Director: Art and the Power of Healing


From the Desk of the Festival Director: Art and the Power of Healing

Young teenager Joseph wandered out of the darkened theatre, half-dazed and squinting in the bright sunlight. He turned to his caretaker and said, “I can remember. I remember that I was in an accident, that I lost my memory.”

The group of children, whose parents were substance abusers, had travelled from out of town for two hours to attend Wolfe Bowart’s Letter’s End, an irresistible children’s theatre show at Auditorium DBKL, held as part of the KL International Arts Festival 2017.

His caretaker knew that Joseph had been in a car accident and turned anxiously to him to ask, “What happened?”

Joseph was unsure but he could describe it a little. “When we were in the dark theatre just now, we were watching this story about an old man who had lost his memory and then regained it. I could relate to that and suddenly, I could remember again.”

In the meantime, there were squeals of excitement — a group of differently abled (Down’s Syndrome) children had seen Wolfe come out to the foyer and excitedly run up to the tall Australian performer to hug him around the knees, enthusiastically welcoming him as one of their own.

This is just one example of how the performing arts speaks to us. It is a powerful form of non-verbal communication which, in a rapidly urbanising nation, helps us to make sense of life and provides comfort and solace. We also benefit immeasurably by developing empathy when we put ourselves in others’ shoes and understand complex situations.


This is an excerpt from KLIAF Festival Director Datin Sunita Rajakumar’s article in The Edge on 29 July 2018.



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