Pesta Raya – Malay Festival of Arts 2023

1 – 31 Aug 2023

Celebrate the icons and treasures of the Malay community in its diversity and richness through the best in theatre, dance, and music from the Nusantara (Malay Archipelago).

Producer's message

Selamat Datang everyone to Pesta Raya – Malay Festival of Arts 2023! We are happy to welcome you to #mydurian once again to celebrate the best of the arts in the Nusantara. The festival takes place from 18 – 21 May 2023 at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.


One of the oldest art forms, storytelling is a powerful tool that is used to preserve and share memories, culture and tradition. Stories are a way for us to better connect with the world we are in. Told often, these tales become lessons or a source of inspiration. In this 22nd edition of Pesta Raya, we present a line-up of programmes that celebrate and explore stories that keep the rich culture of the Nusantara alive.


Teater Ekamatra’s Potong presents the story of a Singaporean Malay-Muslim son as he struggles with family, identity and culture. In Air Da Tohor, Firdaus Sani and Asnida Daud, both descendants of Orang Laut/Pulau communities, explore the traits, energy and willpower of the people of the islands through spoken word, storytelling and movement. Jalinan Kusam Di Lemari Sosi: Pieces of Reminiscence, by Indonesia’s Flying Balloons Puppets, uses intricate puppetry to explore the challenges and expectations facing women. Away from the more serious themes of alienation and belonging, YouTube and podcast personality KC Champion’s immersive and spine-chilling Malam Seram Lagi Seram will thrill horror fanatics.


Music is often a bearer of a culture’s stories and in Simfoni Keroncong Nusantara by Orkestra Melayu Singapura, we celebrate keroncong, the melodious and soulful music genre that is unique to the Malay Archipelago. In addition, Malaysia’s dazzling R&B darling Dayang Nurfaizah and renowned Indonesian indie outfit Efek Rumah Kaca will both mark their long-awaited return to Singapore.


Join us at the festival’s free programmes, as we honour traditional Nusantara storytelling forms. Be enchanted by the Awang Batil, the last living practitioner of the traditional form of storytelling and explore the legacy of bangsawan with Anggerik Temasek Bangsawan. The storytelling continues online with a presentation of specially commissioned short films by Malaysian film directors, Yusry Abd Halim, Sharifah Amani and Junad M. Nor.


This is my ninth year leading the festival and I still find much joy, excitement and amazement in putting together the line-up. I have utmost respect for all the artists who put their heart and soul into creating works that tell personal, historical and inspiring stories — tales that leave our hearts feeling tingly and warm. I hope that we will each find in this year’s festival, that special moment that will live on in us as unique pieces of a larger story that tells who we are as people of the Nusantara.


Hanie Nadia Hamzah

Producer, The Esplanade Co Ltd

About the festival


Celebrate the icons and treasures of the Malay community in its diversity and richness through the best in theatre, dance, and music from the Nusantara (Malay Archipelago).


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Pesta Raya Facebook
@esplanadesingapore Instagram
@esplanadesg TikTok


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