Cultural identity, physical theatre in Singapore
Legacy of physical theatre in Singapore: challenges to a sustainable practice
The term 'physical theatre' was first used in the mid-twentieth century, but the definition of it has been much debated. In Singapore it remains a rather obscure practice and is commonly referred to as ‘experimental’ or ‘fringe’ theatre. The researcher uses the term ‘training-based theatre’ to describe this form and practice. The researcher’s experience in leading a training-based theatre company in Singapore and as a practitioner led to this dissertation research, as she had observed how practitioners and companies dedicated to training-based theatre struggle to find resources, space and time for training and production. This raises the question of whether training-based theatre – not just theatre companies but the form itself – can be sustained in Singapore over time, and what it would entail to do so.
Despite the fact that there have been well-known practitioners committed to this specific performance style since the 1980s, there is a research gap on the development of training-based theatre in Singapore and little published about the development of the practice and even less about the management aspects of training-based theatre companies. The aim of this research dissertation is to have a better understanding about Singapore's training-based theatre practice and what stands in the way of its thriving in the Singapore theatre eco-system. Through qualitative in-depth interviews with practitioners who represent training-based theatre practice in Singapore past and present, the research sought to gather rich details of practitioners’ experiences in order to define what constitutes ‘physical theatre’ in Singapore’s context through identifying the core features of the practice and the various schools of training-based theatre practice in Singapore. The research found that the features of training-based theatre were part of its sustainability challenge, and that theatre companies were considering the re-modelling of their operations in order to continue. The research also found there was a legacy of ‘physical theatre’ in Singapore but there are practical challenges to keeping the spirit of the legacy alive.
2020 - present
Norwegian Cultural Center
Artistic Director (Arts & Programming)
2017 - 2020
Natural Way Experimental School (Taiwan)
Resident Performing Arts Teacher (Curriculum development & cultural events)