The Istana Budaya is Malaysia’s main venue for art performances like musical theatre, classical concerts, ballet performances and opera from local and international. It is located adjacent to the Balai Seni Visual Negara. It was officially opened in 1999 by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
Istana Budaya was built at a cost of RM210 million with a theatre floor area of 21,000 meter square to replace the former building called Panggung Negara. Its aim is to raise the standards of performing arts, develop artistic excellence in theatre, popularise high-quality theatre productions and develop a higher sense of artistic appreciation.
The building was designed by the local architect, Muhammad Kamar Ya’akub. The main building takes the shape of the sirih junjung, a traditional betel leaves arrangement used during Malay weddings. Its turquoise-blue tiled roof remind one of a giant origami piece.
As what is expected of a traditional Malay house, The building is divided into three areas which are The serambi, The Rumah Ibu and The Rumah dapur. The Serambi is where the lobby is. Its entrance and the whole design replicates a Malay Royalties palace’s main hall. The Rumah Ibu is where the theater hall is and The Rumah Dapur is where the stage is.
The highlight of Istana Budaya is the theatre hall called Panggung Sari. It has unique design of royal boxes patterned after the windows of a Malay house on each side of the theater. The hall can accommodate up to 1,412 audiences at a time. Istana Budaya is the first theatre in Asia with state-of-the-art stage equipment and also rated among the ten most sophisticated theatres in the world.
Istana Budaya also provides disabled friendly facilities, including a ramp into the foyer, a lift with easy-to-reach buttons and an area designated for the handicapped. Restrooms for the disabled can be found at both the stalls and grand circle areas.
The theater is accessible by public transportation. The nearest stations are Titiwangsa Monorail Station and Titiwangsa LRT Station.
Image by: Istanabudaya
Monday -Thursday: 9.00 a.m – 7.00 p.m
Friday: 9.00 a.m – 12.00 p.m
Saturday: 9.00 a.m – 7.00 p.m
Sunday: 2.00 p.m -7.00 p.m
There’s no entrance fee.
However entrance to the auditorium is only allowed with tickets to watch the performances.
The price of the ticket varies according to the performances
Hear From Others
There wasn’t any performance during my visit, but finding the place was nothing short of a pleasant discovery. I didn’t plan on visiting Istana Budaya because I thought it was too far from Lake Titiwangsa. Little did I know that my 30-minute walk would eventually take me there. Guards were eyeing me as I navigated the premises in solitary splendor. They knew I was a tourist. After the interiors, I checked out the front lawn. It was as carefully planned as its interiors.
eye in the sky
During our visit we do not have any chance to see any theater because the building is under maintenance and cleaning. We feel disappointed because we not have any chance to view any theater but we are satisfied because we can see the unique of the stage at Istana Budaya.
It is an art gallery founded to promote local talents as well as international talents. Its aim is to become the leading center for the expansion and collection of the country’s visual arts.