On my Penang tour, the most interesting find of all has to be the Teochew Puppet and Opera House (潮艺馆) located at Lebuh Armenian, George Town.
Housed in a prewar terraced double storey shophouse in a heritage protected zone area gazetted by UNESCO, this amazing museum is privately owned and operated by Ling Goh, the 5th generation of the Kim Giak Low Choon (KGLC 金玉楼春) Teochew Opera Troupe.
I paid an entrance fee of RM10 which included a guided tour of the collections. Stepping inside the building, I was fascinated by the large collection of iron rod Teochew puppets, full dress costumes, head gears and musical instruments.
A young man was on hand to answer my questions. He explained the production of the puppets and showed me how to operate one. He let me play with it for a while. It wasn't easy manipulating a puppet, you need skill to do it. :)
Looking at the tiny handmade puppets. their costumes and accessories....., I couldn't help marvelling at such intricate handwork.
They are so adorable! But sorry hor..... they are not for sale.
After the guided tour, I was left alone to admire the collections and learn more about them as every single piece of the collections in the museum has a story to tell.
an opera stage for scheduled live performance
Owner Ling Goh learnt the art of opera and puppetry from her mother, who has performed in puppet shows for over 50 years.
The museum has displays of Ling Goh's elaborate costumes, beautiful accessories and make-up kits. News articles and pictures of her performances are also displayed on one side of a wall. One can see Ling Goh is passionate about her culture and her love to preserve the art forms.
I spent almost two hours in this tiny museum, taking lots of photos. I am very grateful that photo taking is allowed here. I bring back some amazing photos and my precious memories of the fascinating culture, heritage and art of Teochew opera to share with others.
Teochew Puppet and Opera House is worth the visit. Do take some time to relax, admire the collections and have a chat with the staff.