EPIC JOURNEYS – Announcing the Next Four Shows in Our 2021 Season

Wild Rice, Singapore’s leading theatre company, today announced a new slate of shows as part of its 2021 season. Crafted around deeply personal stories, each production promises to take audiences on thought-provoking journeys of growth and self-discovery.

From April to August, Wild Rice will present the following productions at The Ngee Ann Kong Si Theatre:

  •   Agathi / Refugee   Conceptualised and directed by Aravinth Kumarasamy of Apsaras Arts Dance Company, in collaboration with Wild Rice (2 – 4 April 2021)
  •   You Are Here   Written and performed by Pooja Nansi, and directed by Edith Podesta (22 April – 2 May 2021)
  •   Faghag   Written and performed by Pam Oei, and directed by Ivan Heng (From 3 June 2021)
  •   Don’t Call Him Mr. Mari Kita   Written and performed by Julian Wong, and directed by Ivan Heng (22 July – 9 August 2021)

“At a time when we’ve all been grounded in Singapore by the pandemic, there is one place you can go that can take you on journeys which are at once epic and intimate – the theatre,” says Ivan Heng, the company’s Founding Artistic Director.

“In the company of some of Singapore‘s finest storytellers, venture with Wild Rice to places you’ve never been before – geographically, emotionally and spiritually.”


The first port of call for audiences is Agathi / Refugee, a groundbreaking collaboration between Wild Rice and Apsaras Arts Dance Company that will bring the classical Indian dance tradition of Bharatanatyam to the intimate stage of The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre for the first time.

Through a unique fusion of dance, theatre and poetry, Agathi / Refugee movingly examines the lives and plights of refugees – people who have been displaced from their homes since time immemorial because of political turmoil or natural calamity.

This reimagined production draws inspiration from Apsaras Arts Artistic Director Aravinth Kumarasamy’s own experience as a refugee in his youth.

“We want to give voice to refugee children all over the world – to chronicle and explore their shared experience of fleeing from their homes and rebuilding lives in new lands,” says Kumarasamy. “I am personally honoured to collaborate with Ivan and Wild Rice – who are important role models in Singapore on how art can transform, teach and heal – to make this show a memorable experience for all.”

Mapping A Life

In You Are Here, which runs from 22 April, poet Pooja Nansi movingly shines a spotlight on the migrant experience – examining the ways in which new histories and identities are forged when people move away from the countries where they were born.

You Are Here is a project that came out of me trying to make sense of who I am and where I feel like I belong,” explains Nansi, who moved to Singapore from India with her parents before the age of two.

“I hope this show expands people’s ideas of belonging and home,” says Nansi. “Most of us have a history of migration to this country, however forgotten or far in the past. We should explore the rich stories available to us within our own families.”

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

From 3 June, Pam Oei – one of Singapore’s funniest, most beloved performers – makes her life-long journey as a LGBTQ+ ally and activist a point of pride in Faghag.

Written in the run-up to the tenth anniversary of Pink Dot in 2018, Oei’s frank, funny and fabulous cabaret celebrates the gay men who have impacted her life. At the same time, it takes an unflinching look at the ongoing fight to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises sex between consenting male adults in Singapore.

“So many of my dear friends in the LGBTQ+ community are very far from having the same rights as me,” says Oei. “Faghag will make you laugh and lift your spirits, but it also doesn’t shy away from exploring the discrimination that my friends continue to suffer in Singapore – the place we call home.”

“I hope that curious audiences come to the show with open minds and leave with open hearts.”

A Musical Voyage

The power of music and mentorship takes centre stage from July 2021 in Don’t Call Him Mr. Mari Kita. In this intimate biographical concert, Julian Wong – one of Singapore’s premier composers and music directors – honours the life and legacy of the late Zubir Said, who is today best known for composing Majulah Singapura,Singapore’s national anthem.

Wong owes his career as a musician to a fateful journey Zubir Said made close to a century ago. Intent on pursuing his dreams of becoming a musician, Zubir left his village in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, for the bright lights and big bands of Singapore.

Over the years, Zubir made his home here, becoming a pioneer of Singapore’s music industry. He taught some of its leading lights, including the late Iskandar Ismail. Zubir encouraged a young Iskandar to further his music studies – advice that Iskandar wound up sharing with his protégé, Wong, three decades later.

“I created this show to share my appreciation for – and fascination with – my teacher’s teacher,” says Wong.

“Zubir Said was so much more than ‘Mr. Mari Kita’. I hope audiences will come away from this show with a better understanding of who he is as a man – his courage, his convictions, his sacrifices – while also gaining an appreciation of his beautiful music. In my mind, there is no better composer whose music can unite us in a time of uncertainty and division.”

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