Cuckoo Birds

presented by Five Arts Centre & Cake Theatrical Productions

Cuckoo Birds is a kaleidoscopic collision of personal and collective stories, connected and disconnected characters, real and imagined events all played out within a plastic container, extra sealed for protection!  Boldly encountering things violent, random and absurd, Cuckoo Birds is a contemporary theatrical experiment exploring the search for serenity in our often mad and brutal world.

This bold new work marks an exciting collaboration by Five Arts Centre with Singapore's Cake Theatrical Productions.  

Fusing the artistic vocabularies and philosophies of both companies, Cuckoo Birds is a celebration of artistic energies that defies borders.

Details (5 shows):

18 - 20 June 2009 @ 8:30pm
20 & 21 June 2009 @ 3.00pm
Venue:  The Annexe Gallery, Central Market, Kuala Lumpur.

Entry by donation:  RM20 (adults) & RM10 (students & senior citizens).

For more information, please call Five Arts Centre at 03-7725 4858 or email  More information about Cake Theatrical Productions at

Creative + Production Team

Director's Notes

Various members of Five Arts Centre and other people they knew had been recent victims of crime and random violence.  Everyone had a story to tell - handbags snatched, homes broken into, family members tied up at knifepoint, random attacks and beatings for nor apparent reason.

On the floor, we began to explore the ways in which violence manifests itself - violence both overt and undercurrent, violence in the things we do, say and feel, violence in ordinary and extraordinary situations and settings, violence in the abusive wielding of pwer, violence in feelings of extreme vehemence or fervour and so on.  We drew from personal stories and stories in the news and we made up stories inspired by events too real and too close to fully come to grips with.

I cherish this collaboration with Five Arts Centre.  It's my first collaboration with a Malaysian arts group and a precious opportunity to work and interact with artists whose heart and fire inspire me.  I am also delighted to continue the journey with artists from Singapore who have been treasured collaborators for numerous projects.

Finally, I want to extend my deepest thanks to Marion D'Cruz for inviting us to be part of this wonderful experience.  Natalie Hennedige, Cake Theatrical Productions.

Co-Producer's Notes

Celebrating an anniversary is always exciting.

Exciting because there is a history to celebrate, there are stories to reflect on, there are now answers and experience to draw from.  But, what next?  As a collective of 14 different personalities and as group that has been around for 25 years, the more interesting way to celebrate is to understand what the trajectory of our practices stand for today.  And to understand that, we need to ask other people.

Cake Theatrical Productions’ collaboration with Five Arts Centre is the perfect way to kick-start our reflection this year.  Inviting others into one’s space does not reveal so much their practices but also our own.  We draw parallels when we can and we see effectiveness meted out in different ways.

It has been a wonderful sharing experience and I want to thank director Natalie Hennedige for her articulation and her vision, co-producer Sharon Tang for her dazzling heights of efficiency and our performers Anne, Elaine, Jo and Fared (also the set designer!) for their talent and relentless enthusiasm.  Thanks to David for making the set the 5th performer in our show, to Chee Wei for his lights, to Adrian and Cathy for their keen hands, to Mark for help on publicity and to Marion for watching our backs.  Our grateful thanks to our sponsors, ASTRO, HSBC in the Arts, AnCasa Hotel & Resorts, Kino-i, and Ed Soo, Lew & Shen for their kind support of our work.  

Crime and violence are difficult themes to attack, it’s not a pleasant discovery but in light of recent events, bringing the issues to the forefront is an important response for the community. We thank you for supporting Malaysian performing arts and hope you will be stimulated by 'Cuckoo Birds'.  June Tan, Five Arts Centre.

Press Preview Stories

Podcast of Cuckoo Birds interview with Anne James & June Tan - BFM 89.9, 19 June 2009.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Press Reviews


Rehearsal video by New Sunday Times.


Elaine Pedley & Mohd Fared Jainal

Mohd Fared Jainal & Elaine Pedley

Mohd Fared Jainal

Elaine Pedley & Mohd Fared Jainal


Mohd Fared Jainal & Elaine Pedley

Mohd Fared Jainal, Jo Kukathas & Anne James

Mohd Fared Jainal & Elaine Pedley

Anne James, Jo Kukathas & Mohd Fared Jainal

Anne James, Jo Kukathas & Elaine Pedley