'Kursi-Kursi' ('Chairs'), a play by Satu Lampung Theater on the opening night of the Jakarta Theater Festival 2019 at Taman Ismail Marzuki in Central Jakarta on Tuesday. (JG Photo/Nur Yasmin)

Jakarta Theater Festival Returns With New Respect for Audience


NOVEMBER 13, 2019

Jakarta. The 46th Jakarta Theater Festival will be happening in the next three weeks, from Nov. 12 to 29, at Jakarta's Taman Ismail Marzuki arts center – currently undergoing a major renovation, organized by the Jakarta Arts Council's theater committee.

"We should be proud of this festival. It's the longest-running theater festival not just in Indonesia but also in Southeast Asia, having been held every year since 1973," Dadang Solihin, Jakarta's deputy governor for tourism and cultural affairs, said during the opening night on Tuesday.

The festival also features discussions and an exhibition called "Drama Penonton" ("The Audience's Drama"), curated by Mayumi Haryoto, an Indonesian designer-illustrator who mixes the present with the past in her work.

The stage itself will show performances by the top three winners from each of the five Jakarta districts in the recently concluded Jakarta theater competition. They are: Camuss Theater, Castramardika and Jerit Theater House from East Jakarta; Amatirujan, Cahaya Theater and Maura Lintas Theater from North Jakarta; Petra Theater, Indonesia Theater and Unlogic Theater from Central Jakarta; Asa Theater, Nusantara Theater and Lumbung Theater Lab from West Jakarta; and Labo El Aktor Theater, Ciliwung Theater and Pojok Theater from South Jakarta.

This year, the organizers invite a non-theater professional – Sri Bramantoro Abdinagoro, a lecturer at Binus Business School in Jakarta – as a judge representing the audience. The four other judges are Zen Hae, Gandung Bondowoso, Jajang C. Noer, Malhamang Zamzam and Budi Sobar.

"I will judge from the audience's perspective. I will not get too theoretical or technical," Sri Bramantoro said.

Discussions start at 4 p.m. and theater performances start at 7.45 p.m. every day during the festival. You can get your free tickets at the ticket box at Taman Ismail Marzuki. The biggest theater festival in Indonesia is totally free of charge.