Living Room

The Living Room is a programme that welcomes chat and conversation. Through focused but casual dialogues and face-to-face exchanges, this programme encourages participants to re-examine trends, happenings, people (on and off-stage) and phenomena in Singapore theatre. It is quite simply a space to talk things through in an environment conducive for open discussion:

  • Anyone who steps into the Living Room will be able to look critically at a topic and evaluate it against his/her own experience and beliefs confidently;
  • Participants will be exposed to matters/topics that may not have yet been given its due recognition;
  • The Living Room fires up interest in Singapore theatre-related issues that have in various ways informed our lives.

The first Living Room series will adopt a historical perspective and focus on key work-roles in Singapore theatre, with the aim to shed light on past practices and operating conditions. These roles may include Playwrights, Directors, Arts Managers, Arts Policy-Makers and Collaborating Artists across different disciplines.

Each presentation of the Living Room is free, but pre-registration is required.

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14 DECEMBER 2017: IN THE LIVING ROOM: YEAR IN REVIEWS

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What were the performances that captivated you and what were the ones that left you cold in 2017?

As the year draws to a close, we invite you to revisit the local productions staged in 2017 with critics from Centre 42’s critical writing platform Citizens’ Reviews and online arts publication ArtsEquator.

Join us in the Living Room as the panel of seven reviewers discuss and debate the best and the most disappointing productions, performances, design, and other theatrical experiences they witnessed in the last 12 months. The session will be moderated by Robin Loon, chief editor of Citizens’ Reviews.

An accompanying exhibition featuring the 2017 productions and ephemera from our Repository archive will be held in the Front Courtyard.

Event Details:
Saturday, 14 December 2017
8pm @ Centre 42 Black Box
Admission price: Give-What-You-Can
Please register here

FROM CITIZENS’ REVIEWS:
Casidhe Ng, Christian W. Huber, Cordelia Lee, Isaac Tan, Jocelyn Chng, Myle Yan Tay

FROM ARTSEQUATOR:
Kathy Rowland (Managing Editor)

 

29 JULY 2017: IN THE LIVING ROOM: WILLIAM TEO’S ASIA-IN-THEATRE RESEARCH CIRCUS

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With ELIZABETH DE ROZA, JEREMIAH CHOY, LOK MENG CHUE, NEO KIM SENG & ROBIN LOON

Asia-in-Theatre Research Circus (ATRC) was founded in 1987 by the late William Teo. For 15 years, the theatre company, with Teo as its artistic director, created and produced some of Singapore’s most unique and visually-arresting English-language productions. ATRC was in search of a new theatrical expression, experimenting with merging various Asian performing arts traditions with English-language contemporary theatre. With Teo’s sudden passing in 2001, ATRC ceased operations soon after.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of ATRC’s founding, Robin Loon assembles a panel of past ATRC collaborators in this Living Room. Join Elizabeth de Roza, Jeremiah Choy, Lok Meng Chue, and Neo Kim Seng as they discuss the extraordinary achievements of this bygone theatre company and its founder.

Event Details:
Saturday, 29 July 2017
8pm @ Centre 42 Black Box
Admission price: Give-What-You-Can
Please register here


elizabethderozaElizabeth de Roza
is an artist-researcher/educatorperformance maker, theatre director, a multi-disciplinary performance artist, collaborator and theatre academic based in Singapore. She worked with ATRC from 1996 till the passing of William Teo’s and credits her first influence on intercultural theatre to William Teo. She is currently pursuing her PhD at Goldsmiths University on the embodied cultural memory and the contemporary body in cross-cultural performance practices. She is also a full-time lecturer at LASALLE College of the Arts, School of Dance and Theatre, and in and a co-convenor of the Embodied Research Working Group at IFTR

jeremiahchoyJeremiah Choy left the law for the arts in 1997. He founded Orangedot Productions which provides creative consultancy, curatorial and production services in the arts and entertainment industry. Since 1988, he has performed and toured extensively in many critically acclaimed productions with TheatreWorks. Jeremiah first worked with William Teo in the production of The Sword Has Two Edges (1990), and subsequently assisted directed Listen To The Dolor of Dolores (1991). He then performed The Conference of the Birds (1991) at the disused warehouse where SRT now stands, and the groundbreaking monologue Lest The Demons Get To Me (1992). He was a musician in The Tragedy of Macbeth (1993), and played the leads in The Dragon King (1994) and The Painted House (2000).

lokmengchueLok Meng Chue has been a stage actress for more than 30 years. She was most recently on stage as Habiba in Nine Years Theatre’s production of Fundamentally Happy for the 2017 season of Esplanade’s The Studios. Meng Chue also acted on television and in films. She first worked with ATRC on its very first production, The House of Bernarda Alba, in 1987, as well as the groundbreaking productions Medea (1988) and Mother Courage and Her Children (1989) which were staged outdoors in Fort Canning Park.

neokimsengNeo Kim Seng is a cross-disciplinary practitioner and has been involved in independent and large-scale projects in Singapore and overseas in different capacities. He has programmed for Esplanade – Theatres On The Bay, Singapore International Film Festival, Singapore Arts Festival and managed productions for major theatre companies and independent artists. He has produced and toured independent dance works to Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Canada. Recently, he has begun creating his own work. Kim Seng used the work with ATRC in the capacity of a stage manager. He also designed some of the company’s programmes booklets.

 

5 APRIL 2017: IN THE LIVING ROOM: FUNDAMENTALLY HAPPY

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With AIDLI ‘ALIN’ MOSBIT, NELSON CHIA, WONG CHEE MENG & SHAWN CHUA

Fundamentally Happy, a story about two former neighbours whose reunion is marred by allegations of sex abuse, was first staged by The Necessary Stage in 2006. In 2017, this award-winning English play by Haresh Sharma receives a Mandarin restaging by Nine Years Theatre.

This Living Room conversation spotlights both versions of Fundamentally Happy, with theatre practitioners and researchers in a discussion of language, changing contexts and more.

Join actress Aidli ‘Alin’ Mosbit (who played the character Habiba in 2006 and 2007), director Nelson Chia (who directed and translated the 2017 Mandarin production), independent theatre researcher Dr. Wong Chee Meng, and The Necessary Stage’s researcher Shawn Chua, as they chat about Fundamentally Happy.

In the Living Room: Fundamentally Happy is held in conjunction with The Studios 2017, presented by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.

Event Details:
Wednesday, 5 April 2017
8pm @ Centre 42 Black Box
Admission price: Give-What-You-Can
Please register here

Aidli MosbitAidli ‘Alin’ Mosbit graduated with a degree in Drama from Queensland University of Technology. Aidli writes, directs, acts, teaches, and designs lighting and costume. She has worked with local theatre companies like The Necessary Stage, W!ld Rice, Teater Ekamatra, and Drama Box. Together with Noor Effendy Ibrahim and Alfian Sa’at, Aidli published an anthology of Malay plays in BISIK. Aidli is the Founder and Director of Panggung ARTS and she is the recipient of the Young Artist Award for Theatre in 2008. Aidli is currently working in Temasek Polytechnic while pursuing her Master of Education.

NelsonNelson Chia is an actor, director and theatre educator. Trained in the Suzuki Method, he has performed on the Singapore stage for over two decades in both English and Mandarin productions. Nelson holds an MA in Directing from Goldsmiths College and has directed over 25 major productions. He is best known for his translation, adaptation and direction of old and contemporary classics in Mandarin. Nelson previously headed the Department of Theatre at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, and lectured at LASALLE College of the Arts and the Theatre Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore. In 2012, Nelson co-founded Nine Years Theatre (NYT) with his wife Mia Chee. NYT strives to raise the profile of Mandarin theatre among Singapore audiences. In 2013, Nelson created the NYT Ensemble, a first of its kind in Singapore, to have a group of actors who train and create work together over an extended period of time.

Chee MengWong Chee Meng is an independent researcher and theatre reviewer with particular interest in intercultural theatre. He has previously worked as a translator, a bilingual journalist and an arts manager in the performing arts. Apart from a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and Chinese studies from the National University of Singapore, he holds a Masters and a PhD degree in heritage studies from the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus in Germany. His doctoral thesis was on performance and intercultural dialogue. He has lectured in Chinese film studies as a postdoctoral fellow in literary and cultural studies with the Nanyang Technological University.

Moderator:

ShawnShawn Chua is a researcher at The Necessary Stage. He holds an MA in Performance Studies from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and is a recipient of the National Arts Council’s Art Scholarship (Postgraduate).

30 MARCH 2017: IN THE LIVING ROOM WITH JULIANA LIM

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Tracing Cultural Policy in Singapore

What is the role of cultural policy in Singapore? How does cultural policy translate into, and impact practice? What are the origins, functions and limitations of cultural policy in Singapore?

Join Juliana Lim as she chats with students from Singapore Management University’s (SMU) ACM301 Cultural Policy and Practice class, about cultural policy in Singapore. Juliana is a veteran arts manager with over 30 years’ experience in arts management, policy-planning and grant-making in the Singapore Government and other organisations.

Juliana and the students will discuss the early years of cultural policy formulation and implementation in Singapore, with focus on three areas: Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, the Arts Housing Scheme and the Grants Scheme. There will also be a mini-exhibition showcasing the students’ research on the evolution and influence of these policies on present-day practices.

In the Living Room with Juliana Lim is presented in partnership with Assistant Professor Hoe Su Fern, as part of the SMU School of Social Sciences’ Arts and Culture Management Program.

Event Details:
Thursday, 30 March 2017
8pm @ Centre 42 Black Box
(The exhibition starts at 7pm.)

Admission price: Give-What-You-Can
Please register here

  • Juliana started her career in the Singapore Government Administrative Service in 1973. Since then, she has had over 30 years’ experience working in Government and Government-linked organisations, including 17 years in arts management positions and 18 years in arts, sports, charity and community grant-making positions. Some of her notable cultural policy-related projects include the formulation of several arts assistance and arts granting schemes including the Arts Housing Scheme and the Theatre-in-Residency Scheme, the development of The Esplanade: Theatres on the Bay, and the devising of the Heritage Link Project which resulted in the conservation of heritage buildings into several museums. Today, she continues to have an active interest in the arts and volunteers for various arts projects. As current President of the Richard Wagner Association (Singapore), she was most recently involved in the production of The Flying Dutchman (2016), the first Wagnerian opera to be produced and staged in Singapore.

  • ACM301 is a new course offered by Assistant Professor Hoe Su Fern as part of SMU’s Arts and Culture Management Program, with almost 40 students for the 2017 intake. For their final assignment, they are required to work in groups to produce an investigative project on the role, evolution and influence of some of the policies that Juliana Lim has been involved in. Questions that they have been exploring include: what is the relationship between the state, arts and society? How does cultural policy translate into, and impact practice? What are the origins, functions and limitations of some of the existing cultural policies in Singapore? For most of them, this will be the first assignment with a public-facing component and they have been working extremely hard to fulfil the assignment components, which include conducting live interviews, sourcing and piecing together archival research, and exhibition design.  They are also grateful to Centre 42 for the kind opportunity and look forward to meeting everyone on 30 March!

  • Su Fern is Assistant Professor and Assistant Program Lead of the Arts and Culture Management Program at SMU. She holds a PhD in Culture and Communication from The University of Melbourne. Her current research areas include arts and cultural policy studies, urban cultural economies, arts spaces and creative placemaking.  She is exploring diverse ways to pursue practice-oriented and engaged research on the arts, and is also passionate about catalysing robust and collegiate discourse on issues related to the arts and culture in Singapore.  Recent projects include principal investigator for “Breaking Ground: The Impact of the Arts Housing Policy on Arts Development in Singapore: 1985 – 2015”, researcher for The Co-Op Experiment by The Substation, convenor-producer of the Singapore Biennale 2016 Symposium, and researcher for Between the Lines: Rant & Rave II, a verbatim theatre on the evolution of Singapore’s literary scene.  Prior to her current position, she held appointments at The Institute of Policy Studies, the Ministry of Communications and Information, and the Supreme Court.

 

 

 

 

24 NOVEMBER 2016: ALFIAN SA’AT IN THE LIVING ROOM: NEW DIRECTIONS IN MALAY THEATRE

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Over the past decade, a new crop of Malay playwrights has emerged, making their mark on Malay Theatre. Works from these theatremakers raise interesting questions about the state of Malay Theatre in Singapore.

Is Malay Theatre defined purely by language? What are the politics and aesthetics of Malay Theatre? Is it situated at a margin to mainstream English Theatre, and how does this marginality shape production? Given the widespread use of surtitling, are those works still primarily written to address a Malay audience? And are there certain taboos that exist because of religious sensitivities and ‘community standards’?

Join Alfian Sa’at and a panel of fellow Malay playwrights – Aidli ‘Alin’ Mosbit, Irfan Kasban, Nabilah Said, and Nessa Anwar – in our Living Room as they explore the issues they grapple with in their works.

Event Details:
Thursday, 24 November 2016
8pm @ Centre 42 Black Box

Admission is free by registration

The Living Room is conducted in Malay and English.

Alfian Sa'atAlfian Sa’at is well-known for frank, insightful, and provocative literary and dramatic works, written in English and Malay. As the Resident Playwright of W!ld Rice, he has written acclaimed plays such as the Asian Boys trilogy (2000, 2004, 2007), Cooling-Off Day (2011), and the historical epic Hotel (2015, co-writer). Alfian is also an author with published collections of short stories and poems. He is a four-time winner of Best Original Script at the annual M1-The Straits Times Life Theatre Awards and a 2001 recipient of the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award for Literature.

Aidli MosbitAidli ‘Alin’ Mosbit graduated with a degree in Drama from Queensland University of Technology. Aidli writes, directs, acts, teaches, and designs lighting and costume. She has worked with local theatre companies like The Necessary Stage, W!ld Rice, Teater Ekamatra, and Drama Box. Together with Noor Effendy Ibrahim and Alfian Sa’at, Aidli published an anthology of Malay plays in BISIK. Aidli is the Founder and Director of Panggung ARTS and she is the recipient of the Young Artist Award for Theatre in 2008. Aidli is currently working in Temasek Polytechnic while pursuing her Master of Education.

Irfan KasbanIrfan Kasban is a freelance theatre maker who writes, directs, designs and, at times, performs. The former Associate Artistic Director of Teater Ekamatra attended the prestigious La MaMa Umbria International Symposium for Directors 2012, and have written and directed several works. These include Hantaran Buat Mangsa Lupa (M1 Fringe Festival 2012), 94:05 (Kakiseni Festival 2013), ANA (Projek Suitcase 2015), and Trees a Crowd (Twenty Something Festival 2016). Last year Irfan’s play TAHAN (2012), was selected for Esplanade’s Fifty – a celebration of Singapore’s seminal works.

Nabilah SaidNabilah Said discovered the world of theatre in 2010. She is currently in Boiler Room, a programme for playwrights by Centre 42, and is this year’s resident artist for contemporary Malay theatre company Teater Ekamatra. She presented the short plays Tart (2015), Next Station (2014) and Lost (2012) as part of Teater Ekamatra’s playwright mentorship programme after undergoing a year’s training in its youth wing, Mereka. She is an arts and lifestyle journalist with The Straits Times, and also a freelance writer, editor and poet with works published in anthologies by Math Paper Press.

Nessa AnwarNessa Anwar has written, acted, produced and directed for theatre, television, digital content and short films. Currently a multimedia journalist by day, she believes wholeheartedly in the content she creates. Nessa began acting first, under companies like Singapore Repertory Theatre’s Young Company and Teater Ekamatra. Nessa also wrote and acted in a play commissioned for a Singapore Writer’s Festival Checkpoint Theatre 2015 event entitled Riders Know When It’s Going to Rain, which was restaged for the 2016 Singapore Theatre Festival under W!ld Rice.

 

Missed out on the live session on 24 November 2016? Watch the video recording of the talk here.

 

 

17 AUGUST 2016: CORRIE TAN IN THE LIVING ROOM WITH ALFIAN SA’AT

Arts writer and theatre critic Corrie Tan invites Singaporean playwright Alfian Bin Sa’at into the Living Room for an evening’s conversation about his life and work.

Alfian is well-known for frank, insightful and provocative literary and dramatic works, written in English and Malay. As the Resident Playwright of W!LD RICE, he has written acclaimed plays such as the Asian Boys trilogy (2000, 2004, 2007), Cooling-Off Day (2011), and the historical epic Hotel (2015, co-writer). Alfian is also an author with published collections of short stories and poems such as Corridor (1999) and The Invisible Manuscript (2012). He is a four-time winner of Best Original Script at the annual M1-The Straits Times Life Theatre Awards and a 2001 recipient of the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award for Literature.

Corrie was a journalist with The Straits Times covering the arts and theatre scene in Singapore for the past six years. She was also on the judging panel for the Life Theatre Awards.

Join Corrie and Alfian as they talk about his growth as a writer, the issues he explores in his work, and writing for English and Malay theatre.

Event Details:
Wednesday, 17 August 2016
8pm @ Centre 42 Black Box

Admission is free by registration

Missed out on the live session on 17 August 2016? Watch the video recording of the talk here.

 

 

23 JULY 2016: FOCUS – FLEET FROM THE TEXT 剧焦点 – 《水是枯竭》的追本溯源

FOCUS: fleet from the Text

A programme presented by the M1 Chinese Theatre Festival 2016, in collaboration with Centre 42 as part of our Living Room programme.

One of the performances in this year’s M1 Chinese Theatre Festival is fleet, a monologue about life and death performed by Melissa Leung Hiu Tuen. FOCUS: fleet from the Text is a talk that is held in partnership with Centre 42’s Living Room programme, where Liu Xiaoyi and Janice Sze Wan Poon – fleet’s director and playwright respectively – will share their experience in creating this devised work, particularly how a written text is deconstructed for the stage performance.

Event Details:
23 July, Saturday
11am, Centre 42 Black Box

Admission is free by registration

 

7 DECEMBER 2015: IN THE LIVING ROOM WITH TAN TARN HOW

In this continuing series of Living Room dialogues with Singaporean playwrights, Dr Robin Loon chats with Tan Tarn How about the creation of his plays.

In a span of two decades, Tarn How has written nine plays, several of which have won numerous awards. Collectively, his work examines the socio-political environment and machinations of the Singapore state.

Robin invites Tarn How to chart and reflect on his play-writing journey through a selection of his works – including his first In Praise of Dentist (1986) and his most recent Fear of Writing (2011) – and discuss the relevance of writing for the stage now.

Event Details:
Monday, 7 December 2015
8pm @ Centre 42 Black Box

Missed out on the live session on 7 December 2015? Watch the repackaged video recording of the talk here.

 

 

11 JULY 2015: INTERACT – IN THE LIVING ROOM 《“客厅”里的小剧会》

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INTERACT – In the Living Room

A programme presented by the M1 Chinese Theatre Festival 2015, in collaboration with Centre 42 as part of our Living Room programme.

Is censorship necessary? How does it affect theatre making? Is it possible to find a balance between restrictions and creativity?

In partnership with Centre 42’s Living Room programme, this year’s INTERACT invites you to a dialogue between Kok Heng Leun (Artistic Director of Drama Box), director of Chronology on Death Koh Choon Eiow (Co-Artistic Director of approaching theatre) and director of The Struggle: Years Later Liu Xiaoyi (Director of The Theatre Practice’s The Practice Lab). They will explore the relationship between censorship and theatre-making, using their respective creative journeys and personal experience as a lens, to critically discuss and evaluate through casual and open dialogues.

Event Details:
11 July, Saturday
10am, Centre 42 Black Box

Missed out on the live session on 11 July 2015? Watch the repackaged video recording of the talk here.

 

 

10 & 17 APRIL 2015: KOH BOON PIN IN THE LIVING ROOM WITH RUSSELL HENG AND DESMOND SIM

 

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Koh Boon Pin chats with Russell Heng and Desmond Sim

Veteran journalist and actor Koh Boon Pin invites into the Living Room groundbreaking playwrights for two evenings of conversations and revelations behind their works.

On 10 April, activist, controversial playwright and scholar Russell Heng talks about his work in rejuvenating civil society on the stage and beyond.

On 17 April, playwright, artist and poet Desmond Sim discusses his body of work and offers insights on the confluence of writing, branding and marketing.

Event Details:
10 & 17 April, Fridays
8pm, Centre 42 Black Box
Admission for both evenings are free, by registration.

Missed out on the live sessions? Watch the repackaged video recordings of the talks with Russell Heng (10 April 2015) and Desmond Sim (17 April 2015). And, get a glimpse of what happened in pictures here.

 

 

22 NOVEMBER 2014: REIMAGINING SINGAPORE THEATRE

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Reimagining Singapore Theatre

A Fringe Activity presented by the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2015, in collaboration with Centre 42 as part of our Living Room programme.

Four of the performances in Fringe ’15 will be developments or reimaginings of works previously staged, from as early as 1999 to as recent as 2013. This talk, hosted and moderated by Artistic Director Sean Tobin, will gather Fringe ’15 artists Loo Zihan (With/Out), Pat Toh (Terra Incognita), Joel Tan (Mosaic) and Alvin Tan (untitled women) to discuss the development and exposure of local work and artistry, as well as reimaginings towards their 2015 restagings. The discussion touches on the artists’ inspirations, challenges and strategies, and aims to invite you for a closer look into their processes of art-making.

Event Details:
22 November, Thursday
3pm, Centre 42 Black Box

Find out more and register for free here.

Missed out on the live session on 22 November 2014? Watch the repackaged video recording of the talk here.

 

 

30 OCTOBER 2014: IN THE LIVING ROOM WITH MICHAEL CHIANG

In the Living Room with Michael Chiang

In the Living Room with Michael Chiang

Michael Chiang. The playwright who began his writing-for-the-stage journey in 1984. 30 years and 10 plays later, he is one of the most familiar names in Singapore and Singapore theatre. Lesser known was his role as editorial director at Mediacorp Publishing (1990 to 2009).

With casual chit-chat and open conversations, we go beyond the playwright and his plays to uncover and re-frame themes, obvious and obscure, in his body of work. We invite you to join Michael in our Living Room for a time of reflection and rethinking, to relate what is discussed to yourselves and the environment we live in, and to evaluate it against your own experiences and beliefs.

Event Details:
Thursday, 30 October 2014
8pm @ Centre 42 Black Box
Admission is free by registration.

Missed out on the live session on 30 October 2014? We believe in long-term public web access of our programmes, hence the Living Room session with a live audience is only one aspect of this programme series. As part of our documentation and resources for the public, a repackaged video recording of the chat can be view here.

Alternatively, visit our event album for a brief peek into what it was like on that day.