Guest Room

Guest Room is specifically created for independent playwrights and directors who are assessing/evaluating/showcasing drafts of new or reimagined works in an advanced rehearsal context. Artists will be given four days of free usage of the Centre’s facilities. The only stipulation is that the fourth day of the free usage must be utilized for a public reading, presented to producers, presenters and/or members of the public.

Interested artists should submit their proposals to

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Reading-Presentation Details:

Friday 23 December 2016
Black Box @ Centre 42
(closed-door, by-invitation only)




Leanne and Ming are a pair of physically active newlyweds who are trying for a baby, when Ming suffers an accident while biking around Pulau Ubin. They must navigate his recovery with Tammy, a no-nonsense physiotherapist, and Bee Poh, Leanne’s mother, who has never liked Ming.

Ubin is a work-in-progress. After the reading, audience members are invited to share their thoughts on how we can improve the play.

Previous versions of Ubin have been performed in New York’s Workshop Theatre, and the Tisch Asia Black Box.


About the Creative Team:
Teh Su Ching’s (playwright) work in theatre and film has been performed and screened in New York, Moscow, London, Glasgow, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Singapore. She graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Asia (Singapore) with an MFA in Dramatic Writing, and from Yale University with a BA in Literature and Theatre Studies. She is the only Singaporean student in history to have been featured in the Yale Playwrights Festival. Ubin was her MFA thesis play, which she also work-shopped with MacArthur Genius Grant recipient David Henry Hwang in a Singapore Repertory Theatre Masterclass. Since grad school, Su Ching has co-written three telemovies with Singapore filmmaker Wee Li Lin, performed with Shanghai’s oldest improv comedy troupe, Zmack, in English and Mandarin, and played wise-cracking forensics expert Jean Wu on Mediacorp Channel 5’s Code of Law. Su Ching now lives in Bangkok with her husband and son, where she writes for Mediacorp TV series Lion Moms. She is also a published fiction-writer, essayist, and poet. 

Sabina Ahmed (Director) is the founder of visual and performing arts appreciation group Artizens, and was most recently experiencing an internal feminist revolution when performing in the Vagina Monologues. Previous directing credits include Christopher Durang’s The Marriage of Bette and Boo, and María Irene Fornés’ Fefu and her Friends. She has been involved in various other creative pursuits including writing and acting. Sabina has a day job as a management consultant, which quite frequently seeps into the night. She met Su Ching on a production of Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth.



Bitten Publicity Image (Read)

Reading-Presentation Details:

Sunday 24 July 2016
Rehearsal Studio @ Centre 42
(closed-door, by-invitation only)

Bitten is an intimate conversation on personal accounts and morbid Kafkaesque imaginings of fear and death, erupting into hilarious spewings of superstitious beliefs based on traditional remedies and cures, leading to an adapted strange folklore of a man reincarnated as a blood-sucking mosquito feverishly in search of his lover. Both poignant and itch-inducing, Bitten aims to bring the audience into a world abuzz with rich Singaporean cultures, the supernatural, and multiple truths.

Inspired by the common experience of having fallen prey to the dreaded Aedes mosquito and dengue fever, Pei Qin and Shanthini share their vivid musings of the journey undertaken by the relentless virus inside their bodies, the heightened state of paranoia that came with the disease, and the love and care showered on them as the battle raged on beneath the skin, through devised text and physical movement with a spin on classical Bharata Natyam dance.

This piece borrows from the external physical effects on the body, and delves deeper beneath the skin into the inner human psyche and root of the performers, as they uncover experiences of communicating across generations, different languages, and medical terms, as well as the rich cultures, traditions and beliefs their families have to offer.

About the Creative Team:
Thong Pei Qin trained in theatre directing and physical theatre at GITIS Russian University of Theatre Arts (Moscow), and holds two theatre degrees from the University of Essex (M.A. Distinctions in Theatre Directing) and the National University of Singapore (B.A. Honours in Theatre Studies). Recently, she joined the newly formed Saga Seed Theatre as Associate Director, and is one of the directors on board The Finger Players’ “Watch This Space” programme (Directors’ Cycle, 2014-16). She most recently directed TheatreWorks’ Between Consciousness (Feb-Mar 2016). Some other directing credits include Natalie Hennedige’s Nothing, Esplanade The Studios: fifty’s Family Relations in Singapore Theatre, David Schneider’s London premiere of Making Stalin Laugh, and a fully devised site-specific work Re: Almost Left Behind on the Singapore Arts Festival 2011.

Dr Nidya Shanthini Manokara obtained her PhD in 2014 from Theatre Studies Program on the NUS Research Scholarship. She is also a classically trained Bharata Natyam practitioner who has received a Diploma and “Natya Visharad” Award for excellence in the dance from Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society in 2003. She currently teaches with the Theatre Studies Programme at National University of Singapore and the Dance Department at Lasalle College of the Arts. Her primary research interests include evolving Asian performance practices and changing affective registers. Shanthini is currently an Apprentice Dramaturg with Centre 42 and has foresight in dance dramaturgy.



Reading-Presentation Details:

Saturday 18 June 2016
8.00-10.30 pm
Rehearsal Studio @ Centre 42

Registration by 6 June 2016, to

Without Reason explores the challenges of an interracial relationship in modern day Singapore. A Chinese girl and a Malay boy struggle to navigate cultural differences, reconcile different religious beliefs, and manage their family and friends’ expectations. Their story also highlights broader themes pertaining to social class, and the transition from teenage life into adulthood.

Through this play, Yan Ying hopes to contribute to the conversation between the different races in Singapore, and dissect the stereotypes that we have of each other. The intention is to bring to light the underlying racial tensions in our society, the issue of ‘Chinese privilege’, and the ethnic segregation that Special Assistance Plan (SAP) schools inevitably perpetuate. Hopefully, the play will open a discussion on how we can navigate the increasingly diverse cultural landscape of Singapore, and allow us to develop greater understanding and compassion for each other.

Without Reason was first written under the mentorship of Buds Youth Theatre (BYT) in 2014, and subsequently, a play reading of it was staged in March 2015 as part of BYT’s ‘From Scratch’ production. ArtsWok Collaborative will be presenting it as a commissioned play for the M1 Peer Pleasure Youth Theatre Festival, in collaboration with Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay in 2017.

About the Playwright:
Sim Yan Ying is currently pursuing a B.F.A. in Theatre at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She previously graduated from Hwa Chong Institution (college section), and Nanyang Girls’ High School, where she was the Club President for the school’s theatre club from 2010-2011. She took a gap year before university, during which she interned and worked with local theatre companies as such The Necessary Stage, Buds Youth Theatre, Nine Years Theatre, Wild Rice, Asylum Theatre, and Singapore Repertory Theatre. She intends to be a theatre director in future, but is open to exploring other aspects of theatre including playwriting, lighting design, and performing. She is also interested in interdisciplinary performance, and strongly believes in art as a catalyst for empathy and positive change.





Reading-Presentation Details:

Friday 24 June 2016
Black Box @ Centre 42

What truly drives human conflict? Race, religion, politics or perhaps, even love? This is the central question behind MERCHANT, a powerful re-imagining of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice by 3rd Culture Theatre.

In this provocative re-imagining, 3rd Culture Theatre is relocating the play to Shanghai 1890, using the opium trade between China and Britain as the historical backdrop. Antonio is a British opium merchant, representative of the many who made their fortunes from the illicit trade and Shylock is a Chinese pawnbroker.

The heart of the play is an examination of the similarities between the relationship of the Jews and Gentiles in the play, and the current situation with China and the west.

The Jews/Gentiles and Chinese/westerns have a very complex relationship, one that is distrustful, competitive, and occasionally outright hostile.  Yet they are bound together because of financial interdependence.

Ultimately, MERCHANT seeks to cast a fresh and provocative light on the conflict between the play’s central characters of Antonio and Shylock, using it as a prism to identify and examine the many issues that fuel our prejudices.

MERCHANT has been in development since 2013 when the Royal Shakespeare Company chose the project for its Studio programme.

About the Creative Team:
Elena Yeo, Artistic Producer
Elena has worked for the last ten years as an actor, producer and stage manager in London, Shanghai and Singapore. As a producer, Elena launched the inaugural Short + Sweet Theatre Festival in Singapore 2007. It consisted of 40 ten-minute plays staged over three weeks, and featured some of Singapore’s top actors, directors and playwrights. Other production and stage credits include Agamemnon (Berkoff), Love’s Labours Lost (Shakespeare), King Lear (Shakespeare), The Master Builder (Ibsen), Art (Reza), I Am My Own Wife (Wright), Drift (Yu) and Caucasian Chalk Circle (Brecht).

Elena founded 3rd Culture Theatre in 2011 when she was based in Shanghai. Its mission is to stage emotionally engaging, intellectually provocative and intensely creative performances that inspire a love for theatre.

Elena holds two Masters degrees in Performance Making from Goldsmiths College, London and Curating & Cultural Leadership from UNSW Art & Design, Sydney.

Nicole Stinton, Director
Nicole has worked in the performing arts industry for over two decades across Australia and Asia, specialising in Musical Theatre and other forms of stylised theatre. Her extensive experience is not only as a professional director, playwright and actor, but also as a teacher, manager and vocal coach. Nicole has taught in the West Australian arts education system, including spending several years managing the Performing Arts department of a college.  She’s lectured in musical theatre, acting, voice and management at a tertiary level and has published several textbooks on Drama, which are widely used in Western Australia. She holds an MBA in Arts and Entertainment Management, a Graduate Diploma of Education, a Bachelor in Theatre, and a Bachelor in Musical Theatre from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).  She is currently working towards a PhD in Acting at WAAPA.




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Once upon a time, there was a Ringmaster who wanted his Little Circus to be the best in the world. After observing the chaos caused by the bad habits in other circuses he told his vet to blind his animals to prevent them from copying these bad habits.

Despite their blindness, his animals performer better! But they were sad. To make them happy, Ringmaster allowed them to blind their own children. But this made them furious and caused a rebellion.

If the animals didn’t incite each other, there wouldn’t have been a rebellion! So Ringmaster decided to slice their tongues off. Look what happened to the circus where the animals could say whatever they liked? They were murdered! He was only thinking of the community. Everything he did was for his animals.

One day a Child came along. To cheer up the blind and dumb animals, she sang a song. However it reminded them of what they used to be. Tiger’s misery escalated during a rehearsal and she lost her temper and killed the Trainer!

Why did they listen to outsiders? Ringmaster really had no choice. He decided to slice their ears off as well. But their remaining senses compensated and the animals performed the best they ever did!

When the Child came again, she asked the blind, dumb and deaf animals if they were happy? They couldn’t hear her or see her tears but it didn’t matter. They nodded and smiled, doing what they had been trained to do. And the world saw how the animals in the little circus were oh so happy! Finally, just as the Ringmaster had dreamed of, his Little Circus became the best little circus in the world!

The Blind Circus is playwright Dora Tan’s latest endeavour that she begun writing for in 2014. Compared to her other plays, The Blind Circus went through a relatively short gestation period – just one year. Dora and her creative team spent 4 days in the Centre testing the script, and presented a dramatized reading to an invited audience on 5 October 2015 in the Centre’s Rehearsal Studio.

About the Playwright:
Versatile in various writing genres, Dora is most known for her stage plays including 41 hours (2006), Just Late (2007, 2008), I think I do (200), Why I don’t take ma on holiday (2011) and The Race, a public reading (New York 2014). Her most recent play A Wedding, A Funeral and Lucky the Fish was staged by The Singapore Repertory Theatre in 2014. She has also written short stories, screenplays and poetry. Her short stories include Selling your daughter for a pig and a carton of cigarettes (2nd prize, NAC Golden Point Award 2007), Seven views of Redhill (Balik Kampong 2012) and The only time I wished I could read (Junoesq Nov 2014).




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Inspired by Antigone as well as stories from the Cultural Revolution, The Shape of a Bird evokes a magical world of warring birds and cicadas through the creative use of puppetry. Within an isolated cell, a Writer tries to retain her imagination and freedom by writing stories and letters to her daughter. She forges a tentative friendship with her jailor, even as she resists his attempts to force a confession out of her. In the meantime, she creates a magical world of birds and cicadas in her mind, which features a young heroine, Ann, who 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. Gradually, the boundaries between the two worlds dissolve, and events go spinning out of the Writer’s control, in both her real and imagined life.

The Shape of a Bird is playwright Jean Tay’s latest creation. With the support of the Centre’s Guest Room programme, Jean, together with director Mei Ann Teo and a team of actors, works towards presenting a work-in-progress play-read on 12 July 2015 in the Rehearsal Studio. Thereafter, input from invited audiences will feed into refining the play for a future staging in 2016.

About the Playwright:
Graduated in 1997 with a double-degree in creative writing and economics from Brown University, USA, Jean Tay has under her belt a number of award-winning plays. In 2006, Everything But the Brain was awarded Best Original Script for the Life! Theatre Awards. Boom was conceptualised at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2007, and developed and staged by the Singapore Repertory Theatre in September 2008. It was nominated for Best Original Script for The Straits Times’ Life! Theatre Awards in 2009 and is now an ‘O’ and ‘N’ Level Literature text in Singapore schools.

Following the Guest Room work-in-progress showing, The Shape of A Bird will be premiering at the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2016 in January 2016. The Centre continues to support the play’s development under its Basement Workshop programme. Jean Tay and her collaborators in the newly formed collective Saga Seed Theatre will be rehearsing at Centre 42 in the first half of January leading up to the production’s premiere.





The play After Gandhi – Sleeping Naked is set in a dysfunctional family, where the father, who has always been in pursuit of spirituality, decides to model himself after Gandhi. He took a vow of celibacy after having his first child, and started to sleep naked with the daughter when she turned 10. Conceptualised by Beverly Yuen, the play is inspired by a lesser-known aspect of the spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi— his “Sex Experiments” in which he slept with young girls to master his sexual drive. Beverly and her three collaborators – Eng Kai Er, Vincent Chia and Doreen Toh – will be presenting a dramatized reading to an invited audience on 10 February 2015 in the Centre’s Rehearsal Studio.

Read about the development process of After Gandhi – Sleeping Naked here.