School of Creative

Gene Sharudyn Bin Mohamed Yahya

Gene Sharudyn Bin Mohamed Yahya

MA Arts and Cultural Leadership
2021 — 2022

Gene Sha Rudyn first gained prominence in 1998 playing 17 characters in the bilingual theatrical tour de force Anak Bulan Di Kampong Wa’ Hassan. He has since played the roles of Datuk Zainal in the Japanese-Malaysian-Singaporean multicultural production Pulau Antara: the Island In-between, Puck in Singapore Repertory Theatre’s international cast of Shakespeare in the Park: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cheng Ho’s crew in The Finger Players’ Furthest North, Deepest South (awarded Best Acting Ensemble at The Straits Times Life Theatre Awards), and Benjamin in Wild Rice’s Animal Farm.

Gene has performed sold-out shows at festivals in Wellington, Hong Kong and Hobart. He founded Keelat Theatre Ensemble in 2008 and under his directorship, the ensemble has staged over 46 performances of eight theatre productions in 15 mosques in Singapore.


Research interests

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.

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Thesis abstract

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.

Work experience

2008 – present
Keelat Theatre Ensemble
Founding artistic director and ensemble leader

1991 – present
Freelance theatremaker (actor, director, playwright, educator)