When was the last time you ever watched a local Malaysian film?
Can’t seem to remember? Well, you are not alone. In fact, the statistics by the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia, reveal a lack of support and appreciation for local movies every year. One of the many reasons is the preference towards Hollywood movies.
Dominic Lucien Luk is one among many individuals set to change this perception.
Fondly known as Dom among family and close friends, this Sabahan has always been passionate about improving the state of the local entertainment scene. Dom who is the co-owner and creative director of Monday Show School of Musical Theatre, trains aspiring actors to shine in theatre and musical theatre.
As an actor himself, Dom has appeared in advertisements for brands like Legoland, Ribena and Digi. Other significant roles include starring in 2016’s ‘Broadway Bites’ and the recent Malaysian debut of the award-winning British play ‘Constellations’, described by New York Times as one the most sophisticated date play Broadway has ever seen.
Passion for the arts
Dom’s love for performing first blossomed when he was in kindergarten. Even at a very young age, he would seize any opportunity to perform on stage. However, it was not until he took on the role of choir conductor of his school’s choir that performing in front of an audience actually became a viable career choice.
“It was the excitement of being in front of an audience and making them feel something about the stories you tell them, be it through song or speech,” said Dom during the interview.
However, after much experience and exposure to the performing arts industry, Dom noticed there was a lot of room for improvement. This in return motivated him to be more proactive and led to the establishment of Monday Show School of Musical Theatre together with his friend in 2012.
Sowing the seeds of love for the arts
As the co-founder of the institution, Dom is a strong believer in the power of education in increasing one’s capabilities, especially when it comes to performing – “we need to start educating everyone from young, about how important it is to play a musical instrument and to recite lines from Shakespeare’s plays”, he asserts.
He is also quick to point out that “we must learn to be good audiences and performers, and to appreciate it all. Only then, we will begin to see better shows being produced, with better directors and smarter producers.”
At the heart of the institution is its mission to provide a safe space for young and aspiring entertainers to learn and develop their craft. On a weekly basis, students meet up twice to learn the art of performing songs from popular musicals, with scene work and choreography as well.
They are also taught the skill of reading music, the art of writing musicals, as well as the history of musical theatre. The programme will then culminate in a final performance where selected performers will be chosen to perform choreographed musical theatre songs in front of an audience.
Since its establishment in 2012, many of Dom’s students have made their mark in the performing arts scene – a truly precious gift for Dom to witness as an educator. “It is rewarding to see my students doing extremely well because of the confidence they have gained. It makes my heart smile,” he said beaming with pride.
A bumpy ride at times yet never a dull moment
The initial stages of setting up the school was quite an uphill task. Dom and his business partner struggled financially and found it difficult to recruit students and expand the school’s services.
However, as the saying ‘good things take time’, Monday Show School of Musical Theatre eventually made progress in due time. In retrospect, Dom is grateful to those who have contributed their time and efforts to transform the centre into what it is today.
The best is yet to come
When asked about future plans for the school, Dom states that the goal is to work towards expanding its syllabus. “We hope to eventually be able to grant diplomas or degrees by becoming an institute or college, but that’s a long-term goal. For now, we hope to keep our students motivated by letting them learn as many things as they can, with hopes that more people will join us to see what’s so great about being on stage!”
As to his personal aspirations, Dom hopes to continue empowering his fellow and future students with passion for the arts. Dom is currently busy working on directing the re-staging of Euphrasia, a musical set to be staged next February!
Kudos to Dom for his determination and passion in empowering the younger generation to love the arts.
We wish Dom nothing but success in producing more local talents with a promising future in performing arts!
* Featured image sourced from The Daily Seni