By Percy D’ Cruz The Star October 27, 2014
Ravindran (left) and Warrier meeting up with LyudmilaVorobyeva (second from right) The Russian Federation ambassador to Malaysia in conjunction with MTG’s presentation of “Russian Evening’ comprising three short plays in English by Pavlovich Chekhov.
MALACCA: October, marks the Malacca Theatre Group’s (MTG) commemoration of its 30th anniversary. It was way back in October 1984, when British expatriate John Gifford then as managing director of the local Foundry Design Corporation, invited several good friends to help initiate a drama society to support English theatre and stage play productions in the historic state of Malacca.
Flushed with enthusiasm and blessed with several seasoned thespians from the ceased Franciscan Players, the enthusiastic group apart from Gifford, comprised the likes of Helen Pereira, Joan Marbeck, Celine Ting, Devarajan Warrier, Patricia Hobbs, Charles Chua, Charles Chase-Currier, A. Sukumaran, Shanda Goh, Connie Tan, Kok Guek Leen, Prabakaran Nair, Peter Suan, Audrey Lim, Sandra Shanmugam, Ravindran Royan and Kenny Loo.
The constitution was drawn up by Humphrey Ball and Ee Tiang Heng and the MTG registered on October 30, 1985
Following the inaugural pro tem committee meeting and registration, the MTG staged “One Wild Oat” in May 1985 and “Blithe Spirit”, six months later.
The MTG became the first to introduce dinner theatre in the state.
Under the distinguished patronage of the then Yang Di Pertua Negeri Melaka Tun Datuk Seri Utama Syed Ahmad Al Haj Syed Mahmud Shahbudin, and then Malacca High Court judge Datuk Wira Wan Yahaya Pawan Teh plus the overwhelming support of local theatre lovers, MTG strode boldly to the forefront
During Gifford’s presidential tenure from 1985 to 1993, no less than nine plays hit the stage, all played out at leading Malacca hotels. These included, Uproar In The House, Arsenic and Old Lace, Ten Little Rotarians, Who Goes Bare?, An Evening with Shakespeare, No Sex Please, We’re British, The Creature Creeps and Don’t Dress For Dinner.
Up to today, some of these seasoned veteran pioneers are still lending their theatrical and stage experience together with acting roles, production and directorial expertise for MTG’s cause.
This include Liverpool-born Gifford and wife Helen Pereira as well as Ravindran and Warrier.
Retired primary convent principal Helen, commercial business consultant Gifford and retired teachers Ravindran and Warrier now considered doyens of local theatre and stage, are still playing active and sterling roles in the promotion of acting, teaching stagecraft and assisting people master the skills of the English language in interesting and novel ways.