Culture of Penang


There are two major Western orchestras in Penang – the Penang Philharmonic (formerly Penang State Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (PESSOC), and the Penang Symphony Orchestra (PSO). The ProArt Chinese Orchestra is an orchestra playing traditional Chinese musical instruments. There are also many other chamber and school-based musical ensembles. The Actors Studio at Straits Quay is a theatre group which started in 2002. Dewan Sri Penang at the Esplanade and the Performing Arts Centre of Penang (Penangpac) at Straits Quay are two of the major performing venues in Penang.

Bangsawan is a Malay theatre art form (often referred to as the Malay opera) which originated from India, developed in Penang with Indian, Western, Islamic, Chinese and Indonesian influences. It went into decline in the latter decades of the 20th century and is a dying art form today. Boria is another traditional dance drama indigenous to Penang featuring singing accompanied by violin, maracas and tabla.

Chinese opera (usually the Teochew and Hokkien versions) is frequently performed in Penang, often in specially built platforms, especially during the annual Hungry Ghost Festival. There are also puppetry performances although they are less performed today. Museums and galleries

The Penang Museum and Art Gallery in George Town houses relics, photographs, maps, and other artefacts that document the history and culture of Penang and its people. The Penang Islamic Museum at the former Syed Alatas Mansion highlights the history of Islam in Penang from its beginnings until today. The tragedy of the Second World War is vividly depicted in the Penang War Museum, a former fortress constructed by the British in anticipation of an amphibious invasion by the Japanese that never materialised. The Universiti Sains Malaysia Museum and Gallery, located within the university campus contains an extensive exhibition relating to ethnographic and performing arts, and features various