A Malay Boria troupe performing at a kampong

Boria is a form of Malay theatre that originated from Penang Island and subsequently spread to other parts of Malaya (now Peninsular Malaysia) and eventually to Singapore during the 19th century. In Penang, Boria troupes consisting of 20 or more Malay men would traditionally perform during the first ten days of the Muharram (the Islamic New Year). Each troupe would be led by a composer-manager, who was usually also the lead singer, and would travel from place to place giving performances in exchange for money. Boria troupes would select a particular theme each year to base their costumes and performances on. A typical Boria performance would consist of a comic skit followed by a song and dance routine. The skits would often involve rural characters and are based on local events. The song and dance numbers are usually accompanied by Western orchestral and popular music, with the Latin rhumba and cha-cha dances commonly used to start the performance.