#1 – What’s on? The (unofficial) theatre guide in 1964.

Here’s a sampling of what a theatre-goer could possibly watch back in 1964:

Mar 18: Rowcroft Theatre Club, Akin to Love by Peggy Simmons. View.

Apr 8: Alexandra Secondary Modern School, Salad Days by Julian Slade & Dorothy Reynolds. View.

Apr 22: Catholic Teachers’ Movement, I’m Bewitched by Friar T.J. Sheridan. View.

Apr 22: The Stage Club, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. View.

Jun 2: The Stage Club, Trial and Error by Kenneth Horne. View.

Jun 10: Rowcroft Theatre Club, Distinguished Gathering by James Parish. View.

Jun 18: Experimental Theatre Club, A White Rose at Midnight by Lim Chor Pee. View.

Jul 2: The Stage Club, The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder. View.

Jul 7: Seletar Theatre Club, The Brides of March by John Chapman. View.

Jul 21: St. Joseph’s Institution Dramatic Society, Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring. View.

Oct 14: Theatre World Association, Moon on a Rainbow Shawl by Errol John. View.

Oct 15: RAF Changi Theatre Club, Naked Island by Russell Braddon. View.

Sep 4: The Stage Club, The Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giraudoux. View.

Sep 23: Rowcroft Theatre Club, Outward Bound by Sutton Vane. View.

Nov 4: The Theatre Club, The Tunnel of Love by De Vries and Joseph Fields. View.

Nov 19: University of Singapore Society, Chicken Soup With Barley by Arnold Wesker. View.

Dec 12: The Stage Club, Cinderella [pantomime]. View.


There were many English-language plays staged by various theatre clubs in the 1960s. But English-language plays written by local playwrights were few, and far between:

1962: Mimi Fan, by Lim Chor Pee, Experimental Theatre Club

“The play reflects faithfully a segment of life and living in Singapore, and throughout one is conscious of a mind that has something original to say to an audience which is sympathetic to the growth of Malayan theatre.” ~ An extract from a report on Mimi Fan’s premiere (20 July 1962). View.

1964: The Moon is Less Bright, by Goh Poh Seng, Centre 65

“”Moon” is a political play set against the background of the Japanese occupation in Malaya and the Malayan Emergency which ended in 1960.” ~ An extract from a report on The Moon is Less Bright (25 Oct 1964). View.

1964:  A White Rose at Midnight, by Lim Chor Pee, Experimental Theatre Club

“Miss Joanna Woo, the business manager, said: “This is an ‘angry young man’ type of comedy which should appeal to the theatre enthusiasts who have been complaining about the lack of Malaysian drama.” ~ An extract from a report about a well-known soprano singing in A White Rose at Midnight (9 June 1964). View.

1965: When Smiles Are Done, by Goh Poh Seng, Centre 65

“See Local Comedy, “When Smiles Are Done” By Goh Poh Seng, Presented by Centre 65. At Cultural Centre, Fort Canning, S’pore Tonight – 8.30 p.m. Tickets at $2, 3, 4.” ~ An advertisement for When Smiles Are Done (18 Dec 1965). View.

“A play about family life in Queenstown “When Smiles Are Done,” written by Dr. Goh Poh Seng, will be staged at the New Town Secondary School at 8.30 p.m. on Friday… On Dec. 16 at 8.30 p.m. the Yang di-Pertuan Negara, Inche Yusof bin Iskhak, will attend the play at the Cultural Centre.” ~ An extract from a report on When Smiles Are Done (8 Dec 1965). View.

“Dr. Goh Poh Seng, the President [of Centre 65], may be an amateur playwright who has still a lot to learn about the construction of a play, but this did not mar my enjoyment of “When Smiles Are Done,” which this enthusiastic group presented recently at the Cultural Centre Theatre…… The theme was not original, but the play was interesting throughout, well acted and maintained a brisk pace. Above all, it was audible.” ~ Extracts from a review of When Smiles Are Done (2 January 1966). View.



Vault Event Logo

The Vault 1.1 – Nineteen Sixty-Four revisits When Smiles Are Done and A White Rose at Midnight, refreshes and retells the stories in them through the eyes of four artist-collaborators on 22 September 2014, 8pm at Centre 42 Black Box. Admission is free.

Find out more here.