George Town Festival 2023

George Town Festival 2023 returns with its 14th edition from 15 – 30 July, with over 50 programmes for a spectacular celebration of arts, culture, and heritage. As an influential voice for the arts in the region, the 16-day Festival features outstanding works by Malaysian and international artists across different disciplines with productions ranging from traditional, contemporary, experimental, and multidisciplinary works.

The people-centric arts platform is also curated to engage with communities and festival-goers across generations, backgrounds, localities, and nationalities, creating a tapestry of the human experience for all to enjoy.

Join us to witness and experience the power and possibilities of the arts at George Town Festival 2023!




If you have works which are intended to showcase arts and culture or enhance the value of the heritage city of George Town, you are welcome to be a part of George Town Festival 2023. Be it performing arts or visual arts, new or otherwise, we look forward to receiving your submissions!



Light in the City


Join us for an unforgettable celebration at Light in the City, the grand closing ceremony of GTF 2023! On July 30, we invite festival-goers, residents and the public to gather at Beach Street, the vibrant heart of George Town, Penang, to witness the culmination of our 16-day festival that has captivated our senses and united our community.

Batik Showcase: A Modern Interpretation

Fashion Show

Experience the vibrant fusion of tradition and contemporary fashion at the Batik Showcase: A Modern Interpretation! Immerse yourself in the versatile world of Batik as various apparel and styles take center stage, showcasing its timeless beauty.



Immersio features a Digital Art Gallery and an outdoor projection mapping, featuring an array of artworks by local and international artists. The showcase is a unique and immersive encounter, bringing festival-goers closer to the world of digital and new media art.

Macam Macam Berapit


Lepak with us at our outdoor arts event for all to enjoy! With exciting live performances and immersive activities, surrounded by loved ones under the setting sun, this is the perfect way to spend your evening at Berapit.

Macallum 360


Macallum 360 is the ultimate community event that brings the arts to the heart of Macallum! Get ready for an unforgettable experience filled with live performances and plenty of engagement for audience participation for everyone to be a part of.

Little Macam Macam


Bursting with abundant activities and live performances, Little Macam Macam is a specially curated programme for kids designed to ignite and unleash creativity and imagination through the arts. Come join us for a fun night of arts and culture with friends and family and create new memories to cherish.

Hikayat Storytelling & Workshop: Rahman’s Big Break


The Hikayat Series & Workshop is an initiative by Kakiseni to spark interest and curiosity in Malaysian traditional performing arts through illustrated storybooks, live performances, and hands-on activities, especially for young children.

Sounds from the East


Slip away from the city for an evening of wonderful music, beautiful people and culture from Borneo. Head over to Design Village Outlet Mall and immerse yourself in this one-of-a-kind experience of music, song, dance and food of fellow Malaysians from Sabah and Sarawak – a memory to last a lifetime.

A Night at Hin


Step into a world of imagination, fantasy and creativity at A Night At Hin! Spend three unforgettable Saturdays with their themed nights and explore the diverse talents of artisans and craftsmen at the ultimate arts market in town. Come dressed in your most creative outfits, groove to their eclectic playlist, and be a part of this vibrant arts community!

Panggung Semar


Immerse yourself in a traditional theatre performance that explores timeless tales and contemporary issues brought to life through the skilful blend of Makyong, Wayang Kulit and Dikir Barat. Journey into the heart of some of Malaysia’s traditional arts through Panggung Semar: Geliga Embun and experience a night rich in Malaysian-Malay history, heritage and culture.

A Night with Chelsea Guo


Experience the exceptional talents of Chelsea Guo as she weaves in her remarkable skills in piano and voice for a night which journeys through the breadth and depth of music of the Romantic era.

Renaissance & Baroque Gems


Bask in the tonal architecture of compositions from the Renaissance to Baroque with this musical exposition through voice and period instruments. Presented by the VerSeS Music Ensembles, join us to celebrate the simplicity and complexity of pieces from the era within the spaces of a 107-year-old chapel.

Asia Pacific Youth Choir Concert


Experience a night of exquisite choral expression with the Asia Pacific Youth Choir, which will present a rich and diverse repertoire of choral music through the ages.

Music, Tea and Heritage: An Evening with Asia Pacific Youth Choir


The Asia Pacific Youth Choir brings an evening of ethereal choral music into the courtyard of one of Penang’s iconic heritage buildings, Cheong Fatt Tze – The Blue Mansion. Come and explore the range and depth of their gift with us, on July 22nd.

Queens of Asia


Catch the star-studded lineup of Asia’s TOP Comedy Queens for a night of belly laughter of epic proportions! The two-hour special promises an invasion of hilarity and empowerment, only with the Queens of Asia.

BAKAWALI: An Atypical Journey


Framed by the notion of mindfulness, BAWAKALI: An Atypical Journey is an experimental production which draws audiences to explore the relationship between meditation, creativity, and knowledge. Produced by Lee Swee Keong, the production is a space for audiences to converse and interact with each other, known and unknown, creating pockets of ideas and suggestions on how meditation can be used to sustain the body and mind for creative outcomes.

The Monkey King Adventures: Love of Onibaba


The Monkey King Adventures is a localised staging of the classic tale featuring the intangible heritage of string puppets (from Japan) and potehi glove puppets (from Penang). Witness the wonders of traditional puppet theatre through this collaborative production by team ITO (Japan) and Ombak Potehi (Penang).

The Senses


The Senses invites us back to Penang Hill’s ancient rainforest for an evening of deep connection to our roots in indigenous, cultural, and natural heritage. Find rest within the surroundings of our Biosphere Reserve for a shared sensorial experience between two countries, four cities, and three UNESCO-designated sites.

My Ugly Duckling


My Ugly Duckling is about a little girl who finds companionship in a most unique way. Inspired by the well-loved fairytale “The Ugly Duckling”, the play is an endearing story for children and adults alike. Witness this heartwarming narrative of endurance, love, and reconciliation for the family to enjoy.



bhumiMATA premiers with an evocative and thought-provoking narrative that (re)examines aspects of heritage and tradition across generations. Inspired by varied dance forms and featuring a range of dancers, bhumiMata is a multidisciplinary production holding a vessel of the past and the present through the female lens.


Material Woman in the Beauty World


Material Woman in the Beauty World is a new one-actor play by veteran Malaysian playwright Leow Puay Tin. The play is a microscope into the life of women who embody courage and resilience, determined to survive amidst the harshness of the world. Performed by Ling Tang, an accomplished Malaysian actress, and under the compelling direction of Tung Jit Yang, Material Woman in the Beauty World challenges how we understand what it is to be a woman today.

Isle to Isle


In its fifth iteration, Isle to Isle offers a profound awareness of indigenous, cultural, and natural heritage showcased through music, dance, and a documentary screening. The programme features Sangpuy, the renowned indigenous musician, the award-winning Bulareyaung Dance Company (BDC) and Liu Soung, the acclaimed Taiwanese filmmaker.

pulu’em & Luna

Music and Dance

pulu’em & Luna are a music and dance performance that pays tribute to the cultural and spiritual significance of Taiwan’s indigenous musical, natural and cultural heritage. Together, the performances bring a profound experiential, cultural celebration of Taiwan’s indigenous narratives.

Inspirations from the Southeast — Penang, Malaysia


Experience the sights, sounds, and aromas of Penang, Malaysia, as we unravel the wisdom and significance of preserving culture with Inspirations from the Southeast.

Three's Company: Junji Delfino, WinnieHO, Kirana Kay


Three’s Company presents the best of Malaysia’s jazz vocalists – Junji Delfino, WinnieHO and Kirana Kay. Accompanied by the award-winning WVC Jazz Ensemble, expect to be inspired by the highest artistic standards and creative freedom of great skill and flair.

The House of Doors: Tan Twan Eng in Conversation with Karina Robles Bahrin

Book Launch

The award-winning writer Tan Twan Eng is coming home to Penang. Join us as he discusses his recently published novel, The House of Doors, with Karina Robles Bahrin.

GTF Summer School:
Music Masterclasses


The GTF Summer School: Music Masterclasses invites arts practitioners of various levels for a series of interactive sessions led by leading jazz musicians and singers.

Bansan: Rasa-Rasa Pasar


Bansan: Rasa-Rasa Pasar is a board game capturing the vibrant atmosphere of a bustling local market. Experience the intricate dynamics of a local market as you engage with fellow vendors, customers, wholesalers, and municipal council officers. Get ready for a chaotic and exhilarating taste of the market experience!

George Town Discovery Walk

Discovery Walk

Celebrate the 15th anniversary of George Town’s UNESCO World Heritage Site listing with the annual George Town Discovery Walk! Join us in this 5-km fun walk and discover the various sights, smells and sounds amidst our intangible and tangible heritage, best experienced by walking through the inner city’s historical enclaves. Come and witness, learn and cherish the legacy and identity of our heritage city.

Warna Warni George Town

Publication / Visual Art

Embark on a journey of exploration and reimagination with the Warna Warni George Town colouring workshop, led by the talented artist Azmi Hussin. These workshops give you the opportunity to learn from Azmi while pushing the boundaries of creativity. Join us for an inspiring and transformative experience that will leave you with a fresh perspective and a newfound appreciation for the beauty of tangible heritage.

Leaving Traces

Visual Art

Leaving Traces is a group exhibition that reexamines the art form of drawing. Featuring 25 artists, the exhibition invites viewers to engage with the new possibilities in the field through this experimental and exploratory practice.

Riso Art Jam


Experience the excitement of our first-ever Riso art festival, with a special focus on the vibrant world of Riso art. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to celebrate all things Risography!

Joy in George Town


With an explorative and experimental approach to technology and art, Joy in George Town features the connections between humanity and the digital in this transitory projection mapping of the people of Penang and beyond.

The Library of Unread Books


The Library of Unread Books is a travelling public library initiated by artists Heman Chong and Renée Staal. It is made up of books that were previously owned by people who have not read them, and have now decided to share them with everyone else. Within the spaces of Blank Canvas, this collection of unread books will be shared and exchanged by readers and visitors. This is in hopes of challenging the notion of community spaces within the city.

Penang Heritage Photography Fiesta 2.0


The Penang Heritage Photography Fiesta 2.0 makes an even bigger splash from 8 April to 16 July to celebrate George Town’s heritage buildings and our local cultural and traditional practices. This year, the campaign includes the art of videography as a tool to capture our heritage.

Arts in Penang

There is so much to explore and discover about the local arts community in Penang. Be sure to catch these shows and programmes and show your support for our thriving local arts scene!