Nearly five years ago, Datuk Wira Boo Kuang Loon had a dream. He wanted to make his hometown Melaka the ultimate tourist destination.
At a media preview event on May 28, hundreds of audience members witnessed the realisation of that impossible dream with Encore Melaka.
The 70-minute long show, which will open to the public July 1 at Impression City, Kota Laksamana, recounts the long-forgotten tales of the historic city, from the stories of the early voyagers to the birth of modern Melaka.
“I’m a Melaka boy and I’ve always wanted to do something for my hometown,” says Boo, the CEO of Yong Tai Berhad, a tourism and cultural-related property developer, in an interview before the Encore Melaka preview show.
“To be honest, I felt shy whenever my friends from overseas visited me because besides bringing them to the historic sites in the daytime and maybe host them for dinner, there’s nothing to show them at night,” he adds.
As a new landmark, the Encore Melaka theatre promises to write a new chapter in the state’s cultural entertainment history.
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It is the focal point of the multi-billion ringgit Impression City, an integrated mixed development by Yong Tai in Kota Laksamana.
Encore Melaka, helmed by China-based artistic director Wang Chaoge, is a state-of-the-art production of Wang’s retelling of Melaka’s beginnings and growth through a timeline of six centuries.
Wang was part of the team behind the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
The director and her team spent nearly two years studying Melaka’s history, culture, traditions and most importantly, the people.
Encore Melaka is also a spin-off project inspired by Wang’s signature Impression series.
The Encore Melaka theatre boasts innovative and stunning video projection mapping and multi-stage hydraulic sets, advanced lighting and features a 360-degree rotating audience platform. The show features 200 local performers.
“When I watched the Impression series in China, I knew this is what I wanted for Melaka. So I approached the Impression team and began working with them since 2013 to make the show possible,” shares Boo.
“This is an exciting chapter for Melaka. This will also propel the country’s economic growth and create job opportunities for the locals,” he adds.
Encore Melaka is touted to be South-East Asia’s largest permanent show theatre that seats more than 2,000.
The building was designed by Wang Ge from the Beijing Institute Of Architectural Design. It occupies 6ha of land and overlooks the scenic water view of the Straits of Melaka.
Melaka is the first city outside of China to stage an Impression Series performance.