Basement Workshop

The Basement Workshop aims to support Singapore-based independent artists by providing a working incubation environment in which to create text-based work. Artists can look forward to space support for their developmental processes at Centre 42, where they will get extensive use of the Centre’s facilities at heavily subsidised rentals.

Interested artists should submit their proposals to

Why are we providing dedicated support for independent artists?

Centre 42 defines independent artists as those who are not formally employed by any existing arts organisations. They could have associate relationships with these organisations, but on the whole they do not receive long-term funding and organisational support. An independent artist who is commissioned by a content producer could, however, be considered for the Basement Workshop support, depending on the requirements of his project and the formal funding received.

We believe that independent artists should be given more support in their creation process. Without being restricted by company ideology or artistic directions, independent artists occupy that realm of creative space that values dreaming and experimenting. Out of this, the Centre believes that the seed of good works can be planted, and nurtured if given an environment that is conducive for incubation, trials, and experimentations.

For independent artists, the availability of a workspace is often a key cost component of their content-creation process. Without a guaranteed source of financial support, independent artists are the most hard-pressed when it comes to being able to devote themselves to this critical upstream phase of creation. We hope that with the Basement Workshop, artists can give their ideas due space and time to be meaningfully developed, and give themselves the space to reflect and review on their processes.

Centre 42 sees itself as a collaborative partner for independent artists who are willing to work with the Centre with rigour and due diligence. Through the Basement Workshop, we hope to contribute to the growth of independent artists, and the nurturing of ideas.

What type of work qualifies for the Basement Workshop support?

The type of work that Basement Workshop supports need to be aligned to the Centre’s core objectives and identity as a workspace dedicated to process. The consideration of proposals thus adhere to these principles:

1. Process-focused – the artist must use the residence period for their developmental process and any public presentations should be organic to the process.

2. Text-based works – the work being developed must meet at least one of the following conditions:

(i) Manifested on stage as spoken text
(ii) Text is used but the manifestation on stage could be other forms than spoken text
(iii) The work is clearly driven by text, but no text is spoken or used

3. “Singapore” – the artist must be Singapore-based and the work being developed must be based on or directly related to Singapore; or the approach is influenced by the artist’s practice in Singapore.

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UNDER | by Lee Shyh Jih


Under is both a new play as well as an exercise in discovering new ways of storytelling with minimal words. Written by theatre practitioner Lee Shyh Jih, Under will undergo six months of workshopping, from April to September 2017. The aim of this period is not to produce a stage-able work, but to explore and experiment with way of storytelling using as few spoken words as possible. Alongside his collaborator Elysa Wendi and a team of performers, the group will come together in workshop sessions to explore the many possibilities of delivering the texts of Under.



OPEN WATERS | by Tan Shou Chen and Jaturachai Srichanwanpen


Open Waters is a new work created through a collaboration between Singaporean artist Tan Shou Chen and Bangkok artist Jaturachai Srichanwanpen (“Chuan”).

Open Waters seeks to write a new creation myth for Singapore and Bangkok, using water myths as a starting point. Water is a recurrent trope in both Singaporean and Thai cultures. The collaborative process between Singapore and Bangkok contemporary theatre-makers involves cross-cultural creation, drawing heavily from the histories and existing traditional arts found in the artists’ respective countries to develop a new, contemporary story for theatre.

Over the course of 18 months, Shou Chen and Chuan will devise and develop Open Waters through research, workshopping and readings.

Follow the development process here.




FOR THE RECORD | by Charlene Shepherdson and Cheyenne Alexandria Phillips


For the Record is a three-part documentation project comprising a spoken-word performance, an exhibition, and a manuscript. The project explores the Eurasian identity in a time of great flux and online instances of xenophobia. How do Eurasians fit into the future of Singapore when their day-to-day experiences are met with questions such as “What’s a Eurasian?”, “Where are you from?” and “If you are Singaporean, then why do you look like that?”

The performance is envisioned as a one-hour show combining spoken word with ethno-drama techniques. Also titled For the Record, the performance is based on personal stories, historical transcripts, academic research and interviews with Eurasians living in Singapore. The narrative revolves around the contributions of pioneer Eurasians in pre-and post-independence eras and discusses the aspirations of Gen X Millennial Eurasians. The performance will take place on Feb 17 & 18 at The Arts House Play Den.

An exhibition is also planned for mid-2017, presenting the stories and the research from the project. A final manuscript of the project will also be published, to serve as a record of contemporary Eurasian identity in present-day Singapore.

For the Record is created and developed by performance poetry duo Charlene Shepherdson and Cheyenne Alexandria Phillips, known collectively as CharChey.

Follow the development process here.


UNDER MY SKIN | by Alessandra Fel


Under My Skin is a new work by Alessandra Fel, a Lecoq-trained physical theatre performer, director and teacher. The work began as an exploration into depression, a subtle illness almost invisible to others and even to ourselves. It exists and creeps under our skin until it feels unbearable to wear it. Having witnessed her mother suffering from postnatal depression, as well as experienced it herself when she became a mother five years ago, Alessandra chose to focus the work on the struggles of motherhood. Using personal narratives, multimedia and physicality, Under My Skin traces the lives of three characters – two generations of women and a man – to shed light on the complexities and struggles of maternity and postnatal depression.

The development process for this work spans a full year, starting from January 2016, and will premiere at the 2017 M1 Singapore Fringe Festival (theme: Art & Skin).

Follow the development process here.


DEATH RITUALS | by Pink Gajah Theatre

A woman is dying. Her mind shifts in and out of memories and spaces. The world becomes more tactile, a place of passing. In the interwoven state of memories and time, she recollects a time spent with a monkey.

Playing with ideas of life and death rituals from both the animal kingdom and the human animal of mankind, Working Title: Death Rituals is a laboratory that explores a woman who is contemplating death and revisits the memories of a monkey who, for a small part of her life, kept her the most alive.

For this project, Pink Gajah Theatre aims to experiment with text, imagery and sound in a blend of constructed and decontructed rituals from animal and human animal. They hope to achieve a laboratory that is open and daring in entering a world that is primal , practical and mystical. The objective of having a works in progress is part of Pink Gajah Theatre’s new concept named, ‘Pink Gajah Magic Lab’ which platforms new original works paired with various artists from different backgrounds; to create space and workshops for the possibility of new approaches to art making and taking risks with new original ideas from a spectrum of artists.

The first work-in-progress showing of Working Title: Death Rituals will be held at GNOSSEM in December 2016 followed by a post show dialogue after each performance.

Read an interview with the artists Sharda Harrison and Deborah Carmen Hoon here.




Micromanage Overwork Exasperate (M.O.E.) is based on interviews done with teachers regarding their teaching experiences in the Singapore education system. It will be staged in September 2016 by the theatre collective Dark Matter Theatrics, which aims to engage people from all walks of life with honest and impactful storytelling. The collective consists of playwright-director Christopher Fok, actor Lian Sutton and playwright Marcia Vanderstraaten. When they aren’t working together on plays they love, they are variously engaged in library work, report writing and drinking beer.

M.O.E. is a reworking of an earlier play written in 2014 on the same topic, called Micromanage Overwork Exaggerate. It is not considered a ‘restaging’, because about half of it is new material, based on new interviews and developments in the education scene. The process through which the new scenes will be written is directly connected to the physical spaces of Centre 42. It does, however, use most of the 2014 script, albeit in a different sequence. The scenes are roughly divided into

  1. monologues, and
  2. hyper-real imaginings of situations which teachers face regularly.

M.O.E. will be staged using the physical spaces of Centre 42, and not simply a black box as per the 2014 production; for this new script the collective is looking at a more site-specific experience, and how the physical spaces can be incorporated into the script.

Follow the development process here.

Read more about the production and purchase tickets to M.O.E. here.

Dark Matter Theatrics is hoping to crowdsource for funds to support the making of this production. Help them by donating online here.


SLEEPING NAKED | by Beverly Yuen

Sleeping Naked looks into the conflicts between spirituality and physical indulgence; control and freedom; acceptance and denial, through three characters in the household. These are issues that are highly relevant to today’s society as every urban person is seeking spirituality and inner peace in each unique way, but at the same time pursuing material comforts, wants and needs. While many people in the society desire for freedom and transformation, they are also fearful of drastic change and call for control. This is thus, a play that anyone living in a city can relate to.

The initial thought of working with the materials was formed in October 2014. Playwright Beverly Yuen put together the first creative team (Eng Kai Er, Doreen Toh, Vincent Chia and herself) to develop the script. The first draft of the script was developed by Beverly Yuen together with the performers over three months from November 2014 to January 2015. A reading of the initial version of the script took place at Centre 42 on 10 February 2015, supported by the Guest Room programme. Documentation of the process could be found here.

Sleeping Naked will be staged by In Source Theatre as part of the 15th Anniversary season, from 1 – 3 September 2016. Read more about the production and purchase tickets to Sleeping Naked here.


PROJECT MEN | by Neo Hai Bin & Chong Woon Yong

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Project Men (working title) is a new work exploration that came out of a collaboration between two independent artists Neo Hai Bin and Chong Woon Yong. This work will explore the Singaporean male identity, using the National service as a premise, and discover how we deal with the many possibilities (good and bad) that the human nature encompass inherently.

During the development process, they will explore a series of questions: What makes us the way we are? What determines how we behave? Why do we become who we are? Where do our set of beliefs and value systems come from? Why do we sometimes act against our beliefs and value systems? How do we reconcile with the many faces in our very beings?

The project will undergo an incubation period from January to September 2016, which will comprise of research, writing and works-in-progress showcases at each milestone to collect critique and feedback. The duo aim to have a ready play-reading shown in August before deciding on the production direction.

In May, the duo held their first closed-door sharing session with invited audience from the theatre community. They presented a read of their draft script, followed by a detailed discussion with the audience on the writing, the frame of the narrative, the devices used and the development of the characters in the play. Thereafter, the duo will embark on the next phase of rewrites and performance-rehearsals.

In September, they will present dramatised readings of the revised script. The updated title of the play is 《招》When The Cold Wind Blows.

Read about Hai Bin’s reflections early on in the journey of starting this creation here.

Follow the development process here.


DARK ROOM | by Edith Podesta

Photo credit: Esplanade Co Ltd

Dark Room follows the lives of men housed together in a five-by-five-metre cell, 23 hours a day, every day, until their release. This original work, based on true accounts, explores the codes and regulations of society “on the inside”. It charts the prison experience from pre-trial to imprisonment, and the reintegration into society as “returning citizens”.

If “prison is the punishment that keeps on taking”, Dark Room gives voice to the incarcerated by staging their stories and making their experiences visible to a wider audience.

Directed and written by Edith Podesta, this play was first developed under the Esplanade Presents The Studios RAW in 2014 as a work-in-progress reading. It went on to clinch the Best Ensemble Award at the 15th M1-The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards in 2015. Read more about the development of the first iteration titled Dark Room x 8 here.

This second iteration of the play, re-titled as Dark Room, is a commission by Esplanade Presents The Studios 2016 and will premiere on 28 April 2016 at the Esplanade Theatre Studio. Centre 42 supports the development of this second iteration from February to April 2016.

Follow the development process here.

Purchase tickets to Dark Room here.


THE SHAPE OF A BIRD | by Jean Tay & Saga Seed Theatre

The Shape of A Bird (credit Wee Li Lin)

Photo credit: Wee Li Lin

The Shape of A Bird is a new work by Singaporean playwright Jean Tay that will premiere at the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2016 on 15 January 2016.

Within an isolated cell, a writer tries to retain her imagination and freedom by writing stories and letters to her daughter, even as she resists attempts by her jailor to force a written confession out of her. Meanwhile, within the magical world that the writer creates, her young heroine, Ann, similarly defies the authorities to put her stories on the page and bring her brother back to life. However, as the pressures on the Writer intensify in the real world, she is forced to choose between her stories and her own daughter. Before long, the boundaries between the two worlds dissolve, and events go spinning out of the writer’s control, in both her real and imagined life.

Written by Jean Tay (Everything but the Brain, Boom) and co-directed by US-based Singaporean theatre/film-maker Mei Ann Teo (Lyrics from Lockdown) and Benjamin Ho (Paper Monkey Theatre), The Shape of a Bird evokes a magical world of warring birds and cicadas through the creative use of puppetry brought to life by performers Tan Kheng Hua, Brandon Fernandez, Jean Toh and Thomas Pang.

The play was supported under the Centre’s Guest Room programme earlier in 2015 where the text was presented in a read to an invited group of audience members comprising of playwrights, producers and theatre practitioners.

More information about the artists and the creation process are documented on the production’s Facebook Page.

Purchase tickets to the premiere, and check out the other performances at the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2016 here.


BI(CARA) | by Pink Gajah Theatre


Photo credit: Ryanpeters Photography

BI(CARA) is a new work commissioned by the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2016, and will premiere in the Centre 42 Black Box on 20 January 2016.

BI(CARA) will be performed by Sharda Harrison and is based on the talk “Why Do We Do What We Do?” by zoologist and ex-CEO of the Singapore Zoological Gardens Bernard Harrison. His controversial talk questioned the ethics of man in the ways we treat animals as meat for consumption, entertainment and commodity.

“Bicara” is the word for “talk/discuss” in Malay and Indonesian, while “cara” means “how”. BI(CARA) reflects Pink Gajah Theatre’s wish to have a conversation with you about the individual relationships we have with animals and how we are journeying alongside them in the 21st century.

Directed by Alessandra Fel, this visceral physical work questions society as much as it reflects upon and unravels human behaviour and our relationship to animals through history, myths, and examining the rituals and culture of the Orang Asli (First People).

More information about the artists and the creation process can be read here.

Purchase tickets to the premiere, and check out the other performances at the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2016 here.


HUJUM (working title) | by The Space Between

The space between is made up of four international Singapore-based performers – Alessandra Fel, Chelsea Crothers, Maiya Murphy and Laura Hayes – brought together by a shared interest in the visual and physical space between text and performance. They all teach here in Singapore based on their physical theatre expertise (at NUS, LaSalle, SOTA and NAFA) and aim to develop their teaching and performance practice with this project.

Hujum (working title) is a play about a pregnant young woman researching in an archive in Moscow. It takes place a little in the future. She wants the world to know about a massacre of women that everyone has forgotten about. Somewhere in the archives she knows she can find the piece of paper that will help her change the world. Outside the world is trying to change. This play is about the dangers of one group imposing its values on another, even in the name of freedom and human rights.

Hujum stages the complexities of a cross-cultural encounter, a cacophony of multiple narratives about oppression and freedom, and the perils of taking action on behalf of another culture. It is currently in its first phase of exploration and development (August to November 2015).


LEAVE, STAY, OR TO DIE | by playcircle


playcircle is a young theatre collective made up of members of the pioneer batch of ARTivate, the youth wing of Drama Box Ltd (a platform for youths who want to explore and gain all-rounded insight into theatre).

Leave, Stay, or To Die is playcircle’s debut performance, exploring the relationship between a child and father. Through this, rethinking our role in the family unit. Leave, Stay, or To Die is also a crystallisation of its members’ learning in the arts. The process will be divided into three main phases: research, devising and performance. The devising phase is supported by Centre 42’s Basement Workshop and takes place in the Centre’s Rehearsal Studio during the month of May, leading to a closed-door presentation of the script-read in June 2015. The final production is slated to be staged at the end of the year.

Read more about playcircle’s creation process here.


SINGAPORE: INSIDE OUT | by Tan Kheng Hua and Joel Tan

Playwright Joel Tan and director Tan Kheng Hua, together with Singapore actors Noorlinah Mohamed, Jo Tan, Jean Toh, John Cheah and Kay Kay Nizam, are developing a verbatim theatre piece based on interviews and workshops with Singaporean artists, designers, and creative practitioners. The work will draw on the stories of these Singaporean creative talents, their approaches to their work, and their experiences of art-making in Singapore.

The piece is being developed with the support of Centre 42, and will be staged as a site-specific, promenade performance within Singapore: Inside Out, an SG50 initiative led by Singapore Tourism Board. Singapore: Inside Out is a travelling showcase of Singapore’s contemporary creative talent, heading to Beijing (22-26 April), London (24-28 June), and New York City (23-27 September), before returning to Singapore for its finale from 27 November to 6 December 2015. Read more about the project here.

These photos feature the artists of Singapore: Inside Out. Photography by Crispian Chan (


WITH/OUT | by Loo Zihan

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With/Out by Loo Zihan is a new work commissioned by the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2015. For the second half of November 2014, the performance and moving-image artist and educator Loo Zihan will be in residence at Centre 42 to develop With/Out. At the end of this first phase development, Zihan will be presenting a work-in-progress preview to a select group of audience. Zihan will then resume his work at the Centre in January 2015, before the premiere of With/Out at the Festival from 14-18 January 2015 at the Centre’s Black Box and Rehearsal Studio.

Read more about With/Out and follow Zihan’s progress here.

Purchase tickets to the premiere, and check out the other performances at the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2015.


2 HOUSES | by Lim Yu-Beng

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Our first Basement Workshop project is 2 Houses, a new work written and directed by local artist Lim Yu-Beng. This work is commissioned by the 2014 Georgetown Festival and will be presented in Penang, 28 -31 August 2014. The Centre supports Yu-Beng in the development of the work through the provision of subsidised space usage within our premises for rehearsals and readings from 25 June to 13 July 2014. As part of its development process, 2 Houses presented a play read on 8 July 2014 to a select group of audience in the Centre’s Black Box.

Read more about 2 Houses, and support the production at the 2014 Georgetown Festival.