The Arts

Joe Hasham

A multi-talented theatre stalwart and steadfast champion of the performing arts, Joe Hasham is also the co-founder of The Actor’s Studio


Joe Hasham is an Australian-Lebanese artistic director, actor, producer, writer and one-half of Malaysian theatre royalty who has been instrumental in the advancement of the performing arts scene in Malaysia.

Hasham started out as an actor in Australia in the 1970s, appearing mostly in soap operas and television advertisements, and found fame for his long-running role as a gay lawyer in the soap opera Number 96. In the 1980s, he moved to Malaysia where he met his wife and frequent collaborator Datuk Faridah Merican, and has since dedicated his life to championing the performing arts in the country. Together with his wife, he co-founded The Actors Studio, an actor training and theatre company, which has nurtured thousands of artists including some of the biggest names in the industry in Malaysia.

After years of staging performances in experimental theatre spaces—or anywhere they could put a set together—in 1995, they established their first privately owned and operated theatre space in Plaza Putra in Kuala Lumpur’s Merdeka Square. A string of theatre spaces later, they co-founded klpac and penangpac in the capital and Penang respectively.

Hasham has directed and produced countless award-winning productions, and has nurtured the careers of many of the country’s top performing artists, directors, producers and writers. In 2009, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his service and time-honoured career in the performing arts. Besides the arts, Hasham also founded a production company, JHA Productions, which deals in advertising.

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Hasham dabbled in music early on in his career. In Australia in 1975 he released a pop album, New World, and a single entitled New World in the Morning.   

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