OlaBola The Musical: An Unforgettable Experience for Our Underprivileged Students

Vibrant costumes, incredible live singing, and energetic dancing telling a story that resonates with the people.

Musicals are immersive, memorable experiences enjoyed all around the world. But for many in Malaysia, they are not often within reach. Beyond a matter of finances, SK Sg Merab Luar teacher Norzirah Ismail points out that students in Malaysia lack the opportunity to experience the creative culture because schools, teachers, and parents often focus on academic progress in STEM subjects. Without understanding the importance of art and culture in shaping students’ perspectives and honing their creative thinking skills, many of our nation’s youth will never be exposed to our unique arts scene.

Over 600 underprivileged students across Malaysia were invited to watch OlaBola The Musical.

With this in mind, we invited over 600 underprivileged students across Malaysia to catch OlaBola The Musical with us. An adaptation of the extremely well-received 2016 film OlaBola, the musical tells the story of our national football team’s challenging yet incredible journey to qualify for the 1980 Olympics. Set against the rich tapestry of Malaysia’s cultural and ethnic diversity, the story focuses on how our football legends persevered to overcome adversity, celebrate their differences, and unite to fulfil the nation’s hopes and aspirations. Prior to the shows, the students also had the opportunity to attend a motivational talk by the cast and crew, who shared their personal take on the importance of dedication, perseverance, teamwork, and togetherness – the values portrayed in the musical.

Happy faces after watching OlaBola The Musical.

The production was not only an unforgettable experience for us all. It helped inspire unity and promote appreciation of the local performing arts scene in our students, from primary and secondary to tertiary. “We had to travel for four hours by bus from Johor to attend the screening of OlaBola The Musical, but it was worth it because the production was phenomenal and so inspiring to me as an arts student. I hope that one day, I’ll be able to pursue my dreams as an artist and ultimately contribute to the local performing arts scene,” 17-year-old Jagand Asoha, a student at Sekolah Seni Malaysia Johor, shared with us.

As with every project we undertake and every initiative we support, our hope is to deliver meaningful, long-term impact for our communities. It may be just one visit to the theatres, but we believe this will set us up to develop a greater sense of arts appreciation among our younger generation, together ensuring the preservation of our rich history and cultural heritage.