Theatre and Islam, theatre adab (etiquette) in Islam, using the Qur’an and Hadith in theatremaking, mosques as community spaces, theatre as a tool for Islamic dakwah (propagation), alternative performance spaces, and alternative sources of funding.
Reinstating mosques as nuclei of community activities through the arts: Towards an Islamic arts festival
Since the beginning of Islamic history in the 7th century, mosques have served as a nuclei of community activities. The mosque did not merely serve as a sacred space for Muslims to perform their salah (ritual worship) and learn about Islam (Mubarakpuri 227-228). In Singapore, a secular state where Muslims make up 14.7% of the population, mosques function as places for salah, dakwah, eid celebrations and sometimes wedding ceremonies for Muslims. Muslim artists have presented arts performances in mosques, though these remain rare events. One theatre group that has successfully done so is Keelat Theatre Ensemble, founded by the author of this research report. In the experiences of Keelat, there are lessons that can be learned by other artists or arts organisations that have an interest in producing arts events in mosques in Singapore. Similarly, in the experiences of the mosques that hosted Keelat, there are also lessons that could be learned by other mosques in Singapore with an interest in hosting arts events on their premises. By uncovering the lessons learnt by artists and mosque management, this capstone project, aims to present recommendations on how artists and mosques can work together to present the arts. These recommendations will form the basis of a proposal for an Islamic arts festival in a mosque.
2008 – present
Keelat Theatre Ensemble
Founding artistic director and ensemble leader
1991 – present
Freelance theatremaker (actor, director, playwright, educator)