Wednesday, September 30, 2009

George Paul Wielgus _2007-2009

Between December 2007 and September 2009 George Paul Wielgus was a resident artist at the Lost Generation Art Space in Taman Seputeh, Kuala Lumpur. During his stay there he participated in a broad variety of events and activities, focusing on his specialist area of community theatre and spoken word. As well as regularly organising events, he used the center as a base for his work with people’s theatre company Fallen Leaves, directing and coordinating a training programme which took a group of recovering drug users and people living with HIV on a national tour of peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, performing devised stories about their experiences to over 5000 people in over 50 seperate performances and workshops. He championed the development of forum theatre as a medium for generating discussion and activation around taboo subjects such as drug use and sex work.

In addition to his direction of Fallen Leaves, George performed onstage numerous times at the KLPac open mike theatre event The Platform staging original devised pieces with Nurul Hamizah Mohamed and The Civilly Disobedient. These pieces received rave responses from audience members as examples of boundary-stretching experimental theatre. He also worked in local schools developing syllabuses of speech and drama for younger teenagers.

George’s onstage presence was especially successful in the field of performance poetry and spoken word, and during his time in Malaysia he won three poetry slams and one in Singapore. The New Straits Times called him ‘the undisputed champion’ and a ‘gripping performer’. In addition to numerous street corners and punk gigs, his onstage poetry persona Mighty Jah-J! also appeared at Indiependent Arts Festival in Penang in 2008, the Singapore Young Writer’s Festival in June 2009 with young Malaysian poetry group The Lost Poets, of which he was a founder and organiser along with Elaine Foster. He published a zine in 2008 in association with the RiceCooker (Ignore the War), was included in Poetry Underground’s Voices From The Underground. His writing also appeared on Malaysian Poetry Chronicles.

The culmination of George’s residency came with his involvement in Bangun Art Project 2009 on the Clan Jetties in Penang. A follow-up to Bangun Project 2008, which George also performed and presented an installation, the week-long festival featured workshops and performances on the world heritage site in Georgetown. During this week, George performed, assisted the Fallen Leaves Theatre Company, video-documented, screened footage and operated as Project Manager.

Residency dates: 2007 to 2009
An artist residency program Support by Lostgen arts space