The ACS Stage (1957- )

Soon after the war years from 1949 to the 70’s there was a continuous staging of plays annually. An account of theatre in the early years of the school to the mid-fifties has been documented in the preceding article.Prior to 1959, all the productions were under the banner of the Anglo-Chinese School, Ipoh.

The Drama Society was formed in 1959 under the directorship of Mr P. Subramaniam, who was the Physics teacher then. The 1st President was the late Mr. Sivalingam, a lawyer, when he was in Upper 6. The first play under its banner was Henry V with Leong Seow Ting, who went on to Brandeis University in the States to pursue a liberal arts degree, in the lead role. Sally Tye was the French speaking princess Catherine and  Judith Teoh played Alice, her lady-in-waiting. Mr P Subramaniam directed.

In the following year, Twelfth Night (1960, re-staged in1961) followed.  Both productions were directed by Mr. P. Subramanian who also played the role of Sir Toby with raucous aplomb. An outstanding performance was given by Romesh Roy as the gullible Sir Andrew Aguecheek.  The role of the delusional Malvolio was helmed by R. Ramachandran. Mr. Subramanian was promoted to be the headmaster of the Methodist School in Parit Buntar but the performances continued.

In 1962, a production of Macbeth strutted the board. Miss Mair Farmer, a theatre enthusiast, then residing in Ipoh, directed Mano Maniam in the title role, of which he was to reprise a number of times. Kestine Sreenivarsan played Lady Macbeth, his “partner of greatness”.

1964 was Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary and the society staged A Shakespearean Feast with excerpts from Macbeth (directed by Chin San Sooi), Tempest (directed by the late Audrey Fong), The Merchant of Venice (an MGS contribution directed by Rita Joshi)and Songs from Shakespeare (conducted by Chin Yoong Kim).

In the second half of that year, Julius Caesar was staged again.  Directed by the late Audrey Fong the cast had: Mr.P.Subramaniam (by then Principal of the Methodist School in Parit Buntar) in the title role; lawyer Thuriarajah who reprised his role as Brutus from an earlier version; Chin San Sooi as Cassius with “the lean and hungry look”; Mano Maniam as Mark Anthony; and Rohini Shanta as Portia.

The 1965 Shakespearean offering was As You Like It.  Owing to the huge turn out for the auditions, some of the roles were double cast. Alternating the roles were Rohini Shanta and Jeanne Oliverio as Rosalind, Winnie Wong and Ong Bee Choo as Celia, Ong Boo Kok and Ng Weng Sum as Orlando, Sam Jeyatheva and Yeap Chee Seng as Duke Federick and Ian William Urquhart as Duke Senior

When Brigadoon (1965) the first Broadway musical was staged, the Music Society and the Drama Society merged to form the Music and Drama Society, whose acronym MAD became synonymous with a high standard of yearly productions of Shakespeare and Broadway musicals.  Indeed, the Shakespearean productions became so famous that the school has been dubbed as the ACS-on-Kinta, after its famous counterpart Stratford-Upon-Avon. The plays staged were usually the Senior Cambridge set literature text for the year and students from all the towns in Perak: from Tanjong Malim in the South to Parit Buntar in the north would attend the performances.

Brigadoon began a glorious tradition of Broadway musicals which grew in stature annually. Sharon Lam in the role of Fiona, Eddy Chin as Tommy, Foo Nyuk Yong as Maggie Macgee, were memorable in their roles.  In the Tradition of the Show Must Go On the cast, on opening night, was faced with a monumental problem.  Sharon was down with laryngitis.  Without a stand-in for her, quick backstage decisions had to be made.  The script was quickly re-written for Chin Mei Leng, who was in the chorus, to sing Sharon’s opening number, “There But For You Go I”.  The duets were to be sung as solos by Eddy.  The late Tye Soh Sim who, fortunately, had attended many rehearsals sat behind a pillar with script in the lap, a torch light in one hand and a mike in the other, skillfully read Sharon’s lines while Sharon mimed her role.  Sharon’s condition was announced before the curtains went up. The show went on smoothly with the audience somewhat baffled at the commendable performance.                                        

Annie Get Your Gun (1966), the second musical of the MAD Society, had Foo Nyuk Yong in the title role and Eddy Chin was the male lead. The cast gave a spirited performance. So spirited was it that during the penultimate performance the final song, “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better”, which everyone in the audience was waiting for was inexplicably spirited away without it being sung.  This silent embarrassment was, however, made up during the encore. In the supporting roles were Phang Wen Hai as Charlie Devenport and Foo Chong Hong as Dolly Tate.  Soon after Chong Hong became Mrs Phang Wen Hai.

A gripping performance of Othello followed with Mano Maniam in the title role andthe late Jamit Singh as Iago.  Their female counterparts were Chew Wai Yin as Desdemona and  Lim Chai Hoon as Emilia.

Othello 1966                                                                                      Mano Maniam: Othello                                                                                       Chew Wai Yin: Desdemona

Our actors featured in the newspaper received fan mails. Bassanio (Chan Yew Meng) in The Merchant of Venice (1967), directed by the late Audrey Fong, received fan mail from as far as Singapore.  The MAD Society was getting more attention annually in the national newspapers than our sports personalities in the swimming pool. The roles of Old Gobbo and Young Gobbo played by Chandrakasam and Chin San Sooi respectively were invited by Mr. P. Subramanian to reprise their roles in his production of the play in Parit Buntar after he saw them in this production.

The musical offering in 1967 was the ever popular Roger and Hammerstein’s The King and I.  Mano Maniam and Foo Nyuk Yong in the title roles and an impressive supporting cast headed by Lily Castor as Lady Tiang gave a performance long regarded as one of the finest productions to grace the ACS stage.  The rehearsals of the play went on smoothly and a week before opening night, a full dress rehearsal was underway.  During the rehearsal in the March of the Siamese Children sequence, King Mongkut was stripped to his 1967 underwear by his youngest son played by four year old Peter Subramanian, now residing in Australia and a practicing doctor. Some of the members of the audience went as far as to comment that Mano Maniam’s depiction of King Mongkut was more compelling than Yul Brynner’s Oscar winning performance in the role. Of course, all this was very flattering.

In 1967, Mr. Ron Koehn, an American Field Service teacher, came to spend a short stint in the ACS Ipoh.  Ron was a gifted musician and music director.  Within a short spell of 3-4 weeks, he produced A Festival of Song for the ACS stage with students from the ACS and MGS Ipoh. A few teachers from the ACS also rendered some items.  Ron Koehn returned in 1968 and produced The 2nd Festival of Song.

The school hall was renovated twice to enlarge the stage, under the energetic and far sighted leadership of Mr. Teerath Ram. (In 1949, he was a British Council Scholar at the Central School of Speech and Drama, London as an advanced course student.  Himself a compelling actor, he directed The Merchant of Venice in 1952, and As You Like It in 1953). The final renovation in 1969 saw the walls of the hall removed to enlarge the auditorium, theatre tip-up chairs put in, the stage pushed back to where it is now today and a fully centralized air-conditioned system installed for the comfort of the audience. The total sum of the renovation amounted to RM50,000, a princely sum then.  This was raised from the plays staged from 1964 –1969.

Mr. Ram (as with most of the projects he undertook: the swimming pool which has seen some Olympians emerge; the school library used annually by the Ministry of Education as a training center, etc.), will go down in the school’s history as the driving force in raising drama to its pre-eminent state in the country. In those days when principals of schools were authorized to recruit their own teachers, Mr. Ram cast his net to catch the likes of the late Mr. Jamit Singh, Chin Yoong Kim, Chin San Sooi, Mano Maniam, Ong Sok Chezng, Cheah Siew Oui (now Mrs. Tan), Ong Su Ming who have collectively contributed greatly to the ACS stage.  It was customary of the directors to invite Mr. Ram to a dress-rehearsal – which he never failed to attend – before the opening night of a production to give some encouraging words to the cast and crew. During the dress-rehearsal of Othello (1966), Mr. Ram was busily attending a Methodist Conference of Heads of School in Cameron Highlands.  Yet he found time to phone, apologizing for his absence and expressed his confidence in the production. He had plans to build an up-to-date modern theatre and had consulted an architect on the project, but after careful thought decided an indoor stadium would be a more beneficial choice.


King Lear 1969.

The set for the play

In the newly renovated air-conditioned auditorium.

King Lear

Geetha Nair: Goneril

Lilian Lau-Wong: Regan

Thong Swee Kook: Cordelia

King Lear

Mano Maniam: Lear

Chin Yoong Fee: King of France

P. Pasupathy: Duke of Albany

Thong Swee Kook: Cordelia

The first play to take the boards in the newly renovated air-conditioned hall was Shakespeare’s King Lear.  Its stellar cast was led by Mano Maniam in the title role, the late Jamit Singh as the faithful Kent, Chandrakasam as the Duke of Gloucester, Thong Swee Kook as Cordelia, Geetha Nair as Goneril, Lilian Lau-Wong as Regan and guest star Rick Scully as the Fool.  During one matinee performance an unintended comic relief moment occurred. The Duke of Albany (Choong Pier Yee) was scolding his wife Goneril vehemently, and paid the price when his denture spewed out. In one fell swoop it was retrieved. The Duke then swung himself regally round and denture was deftly returned to its original position. And within seconds he continued admonishing Goneril.  This did not escape the alert audience which burst out into good natured laughter. Yours truly directed the play.

Many years down the road I visited the Saint Michael’s Institution to say hello to the late Bro. Paul, the late Bro. Cashmire and Bro.Vincent.  Bro.Vincent remarked that he was impressed with the many high quality ACS productions, in particular with the lighting which was of a very high standard (although at that time we had very obsolete dimmer boards) and the outstanding production of King Lear and Rick Scully’s rendition of the Fool.

When MAD was established, it annually staged a Shakespeare and a Broadway musical, often the envy and admiration of other schools in the country. All its productions were worthy news in the national newspaper.

1969 was the most prolific year in the history of the ACS stage.  Four major productions were staged; King Lear (January), Sound of Music (April), Arms and the Man (August) Alice in Wonderland (November), a feat rivaling the best of a repertoire company.

The Sound of Music was indeed an Ipoh production as the daughters of the Von Trapp family coincidentally came from the different girls’ schools which came for the auditions.

The Methodist Girls School, the Convent, the Convent Ave Maria and Raja Perempuan School each sent a bus load of girls when auditions were called. We were spoilt for choice and had a difficult task choosing the girls for the roles.  After the final casting, the roles of the daughters fortuitously fell to each of the schools. Audience support for this production was tremendous, packed to the rafters for every night of the six performances.

Sound of Music 1969

Billie Celland: Mother Abyess

Chin Mei Leng: Maria

Sound of Music                                                                                           

Chin Mei Leng: Maria

Arms and the Man was the only G.B.Shaw staged by the MAD Society and was not the first time double casting was done. As you Like It (1965) was the forerunner. In Arms and the Man except for the role of Major Petkoff and Catherine played by K.Chandrakasam and Pang Chong Hong respectively, the other roles had a double

cast:Lilian Lau-Wong and Ong Su – Ming played Raina, Cheng Kok Chau and Mano Maniam, Bluntschli, Ung Swee Imm and the late Mary Ann Seevaratnam Louka, Chin Yoong Fee and the late Ratnam Singh, Sergius, Khee Kok Kean and Chin San Sooi, Nicola.

Arms and the Man 1969

Cathrine Petkoff: Phang Chong Hong

Raina Petkoff: Ong Su Ming

Arms and the Man

Phang Chong Hong: Catherine Petkoff

Lilian Lau Wong: Raina Petkoff

Alice in Wonderland brought to the ACS stage the tradition of a pantomime. It was helmed by Australian Chris Winsar and Barry Underwood who had in June given a performance in the School when they toured Malaysia. So impressed were they by the school’s theatrical set up and tradition that they stayed on and contributed to the MAD Society their professional talent.

At this point of the MAD Society’s development, in keeping with the school tradition, Chin San Sooi, who was in the thick of most of the productions, was awarded a scholarship by the British Council to study in the same institution in London as Mr Ram had done 20 years earlier.

The stature of the society grew when it went on to stage its productions in other towns.

Annie Get Your Gun (1966) was invited by the Taiping Lions Club to stage the musical in a gigantic hall with no lighting facilities.  The stage crew did a wonderful job to transform the stage for the show. Foo Nyuk Yong and Eddy Chin in the lead roles in “there’s no business like show business” fashion led a highly motivated cast to enchant the audience.

In the same year the production of Othello, in an excerpt, was invited to perform at the Penang Free School Sesquicentennial celebrations. Mano Maniam as Othello and the late Jamit Singh as Iago held the audience spellbound in pin drop silence.

The 1972 production of Camelot wasinvited by the then Drama Council of Kuala Lumpur president, the late Donald Davies, to stage the show at the Town Hall which was then the leading theatrical venue of the city. The inspired cast of Mano Maniam as King Arthur, Cheah Siew Oui as Guinevere,  Huge Whylum as Lancelot, Chin Yoong Fee as Mordred, Cheng Kok Chau as King Pelinor,  Ong Sok Chezng as Morgan La Fay and our music ensemble led by Chin Yoong Kim gave a performance worthy of an Oscar to three full houses. In 1970, Flower Drum Song with the strains of A Hundred Thousand Miracles transported the audience to Chinatown, San Francisco. The production saw for the first time guest star, Cheah Siew Oui as Linda Low on the ACS stage.  Siew Oui later became a member of the staff and contributed her talent and energy to the MAD Society. The show was staged for a record thirteen performances.

Upon his return from the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1970, Chin San Sooi directed a visually arresting production of Macbeth with zinc sheets for the set and unisex costumes of primary colours for the cast: yellow for royalty, white for evil characters, red for bravery, green for the supernatural, black for steadfast characters, brown and blue for elderly characters. Mano Maniam reprised his role of Macbeth, Jeane Oliverio was Lady Macbeth, the late Jamit Singh, Banquo, Cheng Kok Chau, Macduff, Chin Yoong Kim, King Duncan, Chin Yoong Fee, Malcom

Macbeth 1970

Mano Maniam: Macbeth

Jean D’Olivero: Lady Macbeth

Macbeth 1970

Mano Maniam: Macbeth

Cheng Kok Chau: Macduff

The 3rd. Festival of Song followed in 1971 under the direction of Chin Yoong Kim and Chin San Sooi.

In 1971 the ACS stage hosted the Perak Player’s production of A Breeding Pair by Stella Kon and the musical Fantastick by the Methodist Wesley Church.

1972 saw Learner and Leow’s Camelot in all its gripping drama and Arthurian splendour

enchanting the audience night after night during its week’s performance. Mano Maniam and Barry Underwood, who was passing through Ipoh on his way to India, alternated the roles of Arthur and Merlin and Cheah Swee Oui was Guinevere.

In June 1972, in association with the British Council, the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company of Edinburgh presented When Thou Art King adapted and devised by John Barton, based on Shakespeare’s Henry IV parts I and 2, and also Harold Pinter’s Birthday Party.  The actors mentioned that they were pleasantly thrilled to note that the Ipoh audience responded well to the many of the comic scenes in the Shakespeare adaptation. The Royal Lyceum Theatre was not the only touring company to perform on the ACS stage.  In the 60’s, Emlyn Williams presented his solo performance of Dicken’s readings. Even earlier the Geofrey Kandall’s touring company from India graced the stage.

Another production of As You Like It (1972) in modern costumes with Duke Senior’s men in hippie garb was directed by Mano Maniam.  It had teachers from the Voluntary Service Organisation from Britain teaching in STAR as guest stars: Robert Creithton as Orlando, Huge Whylum as Oliver, Christopher Mcleod as Silvius. Barry Undrewood who stayed on after Camelot handled the costumes and sets and played Touchstone. Ong Sok Chezng starred as Rosalind, Mrs Yin Kim Ean was Celia.

Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, a modern day Romeo and Juliet story of the rivalry between the white Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks had Yau Ngan Sing as Tony, Lim Choy Wan (now Mrs  Kee Tuan Chye) as Maria, husband and wife team, Tan Check Hong and Tan Siew Oui as Bernado and Anita.  Bobby Moo played the leader of the Jets, Riff and Chong Fong Tat was Action, his close buddy. The famous balcony scene where a passionate kiss was done was described by some members in the audience as “like real”.                                                                                      

1974 witnessed the production of Fiddler on the Roof, a smashing success.  This production saw Mrs. Tan Siew Oui taking the helm as Director and Choreographer, with Chin Yoong Kim as Music Director. Without a doubt Romesh Roy’s rendition of Tehvy, the milkman who converses with God, was a performance to rival his Broadway and West End counterparts.

In 1975, Tan Siew Oui and Chin Yoong Kim as Choreographer and Music Director respectively, put on 4th Festival of Song.

1976 saw the production of Romeo and Juliet under the direction of Ms. Ong Su-ming, a teacher in the school.  She also took the role of Lady Capulet.  This tragic tale of “a pair of star-crossed lovers” had Tan Seow Heng as Juliet and Emmet O’Sullivan as Romeo. Indeed, our Romeo captured the hearts of many girls in the audience and he received fan mail from as far as Teluk Intan.  In those days students from all over Perak came in busloads to enjoy the productions in the ACS Ipoh.

In 1977, Chin San Sooi, who had left the school in 1974, returned to stage his version of Lady White, a re-telling of the Chinese legend, Madam White Snake (this happens to be the first original production of the MAD Soc. on the ACS stage).  A wayang kulit, The Abduction of Siti, was also performedto raise funds for the PerakFamily Association.

The 1977 offering was Carousel with Romesh Roy as Billy Bigelow and Chin Mei Leng in the role of Julie Jordan.  Carousel was directed by Ms. Ong Su-ming and choreographed by Mrs. Tan Siew Oui, assisted by student Chai Lai Mun who went on to appear in numerous West End productions in London.  Another lead dancer was Ms. Yeoh Choo Kheng (now Dato’ Michelle Yeoh), who became internationally known as a Bond girl and is a cinema superstar in her own right. Chin Yoong Kim was the Music Director.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific was staged in 1979, directed by Mrs. Yin Kim Ean and assisted by Mrs. Tan Siew Oui.  Music Director was Chin Yoong Kim. Chin Yoong Fee was the self-exiled Emile de Becque and Tan Siew Oui played Nellie Forbush.

1979 saw the emergence of the Subramanian brothers, Peter and Paul, who with their active classmates lighted the ACS stage with some interesting original seminal plays. That, sadly, did not continue to flower once they left school.  Angeldust, a play co-written and co-produced by Peter Subramaniam and Christopher Yin, made history for being the first student attempt at an original production.   Angeldust won the Best Play Award in the Drama Competition organized by MAD Soc. ACS Ipoh.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat was brought to life in 1981.  This was another all students’ effort, directed by Paul and Peter Subramaniam and musical direction was in the hands of Peter Subramaniam. The role of Joseph was taken by Too Hing Seng.

Brigadoon was revived in 1981.  This production had Chin Mei Leng as Fiona and Chin Yoong Fee as Tommy.

Ashgar, the Temple is Burning, another all students’ effort was staged in 1982 with the Subramaniam brothers as directors.

Icarus and the Flight of a Thousand Swans followed Joseph……. and Ashkar ….. as another all students’ affair.  Icarus was written by Peter Subramaniam and directed by Peter and Paul Subramaniam, assisted by Wong Seong Ch’o.  The music for the play was composed by Peter Subramaniam. Choreographer was Kam Wai Kuen. The role of Icarus was taken by Paul Seow Chor Tong. Icarus…..Swans won the Best Play Award in 1983.

1983 also saw another production of The Fantasticks, with Ms. Lim Choy Wan as Louisa and Bill Augood as Matt.  Chin Yoong Fee was El Gallo, the Bandit.  Mr. P Subramaniam, then Principal of ACS, was the Producer and Director. Musical direction was in the hands of Chin Yoong Kim.

Camelot was revived in 1984 with Lim Choy Wan as Guenevere and Romesh Roy as Arthur.  Mrs. Yin Kim Ean was Director and Choreographer. Chin Yoong Kim handled the musical direction.

The 1985 offering was A Toast to Broadway, which brought back musical numbers from more than a dozen Broadway and West End musicals.  That year also saw Stella Kon’s mono-drama, Emily of Emerald Hill, staged for the first time in Ipoh, produced by Chin San Sooi, former drama personage of the ACS stage. This play has become a classic in Malaysia and Singapore.

The 1986 production, in association with 5 Arts Centre, Kuala Lumpur, was Morning in Night, book and lyrics written by Chin San Sooi and music by Chin Yoong Kim.  This play has a chequered history. Its original title was Refugee:Images which was not allowed to be staged in 1980 as it was deemed by the authorities as being politically sensitive. The play has no story line but is thematically strung. The theme is that everyone is a refugee.  It juxtaposes images of the Vietnamese boatpeople leaving Ho Chi Minh City and arriving at Pulau Bidong, and Malaysians migrating to other countries. Today Pulau Bidong stands as a beacon of hope to humanity. The production was staged under protest as a number of scenes were censored and Pulau Bidong was changed to Pulau Harapan. Historically, it would have been the first musical of a play in English in the country. Only 25 years later was the play allowed to be staged in its entirety.

Morning In Night: 1986

Refugees: Eddie Chew, Eddy Chin

Lim Choy Wan,

Morning in Night

Refugees: Tan Swee Oui,

Tan Seow Heng

Town Boy … Lat in Concert was brought to the ACS stage in 1987 with delightful panache and verve. Based on Dato Lat’s cartoons, the story was adapted for the stage by Stella Kon and Ong Su-ming.  The role of Lat was played by Afdlin Shauki b.Aksan and Frankie by Lam Yuen Yi.  After Form 5, Afdlin went to Kuala Lumpur and became a stage and screen personality.  The lyrics were written by Stella Kon and Fay Lee Ai Lin with music composed by the latter. It was probably the very first time the works of Dato Lat were brought to the stage.  The production was handled by Ong Su-ming, assisted by Alan Bligh. Musical direction was by Fay Lee Ai Lin.

South Pacific was revived in 1988 and Memories, Sixth Festival of Song, with numbers from seven musicals, was presented in 1989.

1992 brought The Fantasticks back to the ACS stage.

In 1994 the MAD Soc. brought back Mano Maniam and Foo Nyuk Yong to reprise their respective roles as The King and Anna Leonowens.  This Centenary Anniversary Production was directed by Mr. P Subramaniam. Music direction was by Chin Yoong Kim.

The ACS MAD Soc. presented Sleeping Beauty with A Difference in 1996. This was followed by Phantom of the Opera – The Untold in 1997.  The offer in 1998 was The Arabian Nights.  All these were productions by students of ACS.

1998 alsowitnessed for the first time a joint effort of the ACS MAD Soc and the Perak Society of Performing Arts with Love on Broadway.  The presentation featured condensed versions from Fiddler on the Roof and South Pacific. The producer was Tan Kit Pheng, who was assisted by Chong Li Han and the Director was Paul Seow, assisted by Tan Siew Oui.

In 1999, the ACS MAD Soc presented Romeo and Juliet.

The Golden Anniversary production in 2001 was the return of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.  This production was directed by Mr. Khoo Kay Hock, assisted by students Teng K-gan and Arvin a/l Rajadurai. Music Director was Chin Yoong Kim.

Charley’s Auntie in 2002brought a host of characters frolicking on the ACS stage with roaring success.  This production was directed by Sylvia Wong and Charles Pooley and produced by Tan Keng Yee and Dawne Chin.  It had an all students cast.

In 2003 the MAD Soc. presented Rum……pearl…Stilt Skin.

Trick or Treat? came in 2004.

The Other Cinderella was the offer in 2005 followed by Taming of the Shrew .

The 2 Chins joined forces again to present Flower Drum Song in 2007.

The Broadway/West End Phantom of the Opera was mounted on the ACS stage in 2009.  This giant production was directed by student Anne-Marie Sasha, assisted by her peer Jason Ching Hoong Serng.  The musical director was Lim Yi Wei.

The musicals of the 60’s and early 70’s were fondly dubbed as the “Double Chin” productions.

The general pattern then of the scheduling of performances was to do the musical by April when our university alumni had their long vacation so that they could be in the cast.  Shakespeare was staged in the second half of the year to assist the students in the revision of their Shakespearian text for the Literature examination. Students who auditioned for the plays gave their word to dutifully study and attend rehearsals regularly and their word was their honour.  Rehearsals always went on as scheduled.  Many of the students who have strutted the stage fervently, and studied hard, have gone on to distinguish themselves in the university-of-life.

During those years, the membership of the MAD Society grew manifold and its morale was high.  It galvanized principals, teachers, students and alumni into a collective force imbued with pride for the school. Behind the scenes, Miss Paramiswari, now residing in Canada, methodically organized the make-up team.  Lee Kah Meng and his Art Club designed and executed the posters, and the Industrial Arts Club lent its hand in fashioning stage props and costume jewelry.

Aptly, “there’s no business like show business” continued on the ACS stage with zest through the 70s with Broadway musicals taking its ascendancy over Shakespeare until Mr. Chin Yoong Kim, the music maestro, retired.

Today, the school drama society still attempts to stage productions.  It has not, however, caught the same fervour, passion and popularity as those of years gone by.  The main cause is that students of today are mired in going for tuition classes to gain as many distinctions as they can in examination.  A pre-occupation with results has curtailed their participation in extra curricular activities. Consequently, the ACS stage has seen a diminution in the number of students passionately taking to the stage. The Subramaniam duo and their friends showed in the early 80’s what young hearts and minds could do for the stage, albeit, fleetingly.  When can others come along to fire the ACS stage in all its glory again?

Chin San Sooi (Cohort: 1960 Form 6 Upper Arts) & Chin Yoong Kim (Cohort: 1953 Form 5A)

Back to top

5 Responses to The ACS Stage (1957- )

  1. Lee Chua says:

    Nice to see San Sooi’s photo. He wrote some very nice comments about my paintings in an ACS art exhibition sometime in 1960/61? I was then quite active in art activities, helping to design a mural for a trade school art competition and painted the stage for – I think – Twelfth Night (under the supervision of a Ms Kim Sook May).

    It was truly long, long ago.

  2. lean Meng Seong says:

    We shall alert San Sooi to your comment.
    Ms Kim was a well regarded art teacher.

  3. Lee Chua says:

    Thanks, Lean. She was to me also a wonderful person, besides being a very supportive art teacher. I often visited her, even after I dropped out from ACS. Eventually I started some free-lancing, then decided to take my Cambridge and finally became a teacher in Selangor. I was very very involved in a certain sport and didn’t have time to rekindle old ties and pay respect to the few teachers who made life tolerable for during my very rebellious years. Later when I went overseas for tertiary education I remained in the U.S. for several decades. Did return for some time but went away again: in short, missed the opportunity to meet her and a few other folks.

  4. Lee Chua says:

    Thanks. Last night your comment about Ms Kim set me on memory lane – she did much for me simply by recognizing my artistic skills and knowledge. I’m sorry that work and other activities did not allow me to meet her when she returned to Malaysia some time ago. Now it’s a bit difficult since I’m on the other side of the planet (these thoughts on my mini IPad didn’t get thru).

  5. Historic Style – Wallpapers, Tiles and Fabrics, William …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>