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December 2015 || Issue No. 31

Season's Greetings and a Happy New Year from the W!LD RICE Family!

Dear friends of W!LD RICE,

On behalf of everyone at W!LD RICE, allow me to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 2015 has been a landmark year for W!LD RICE – one in which we celebrated Singapore’s Golden Jubilee, as well as the company’s 15th anniversary. Our imagiNATION season has produced some of our boldest, most challenging and groundbreaking theatre ever, and we couldn’t have pulled it off without your support and encouragement. At this special time of celebration and reflection, we’d like to thank each and every one of you for your belief in the company, and for coming to the theatre to make memories with us.

Keep your friends close and your Enemies closer!
The cast and ensemble of Public Enemy take a bow

We kicked off our imagiNATION season in April with Public Enemy. Masterfully directed by our Associate Artistic Director, Glen Goei, this exhilarating production successfully relocated Henrik Ibsen’s enduring classic (from an adaptation by David Harrower) to contemporary Singapore. It was my great honour to have played Dr Thomas Stockmann, one of the theatre’s most complex roles – and I would like to salute an amazing company of actors and creative artists who inspired everyone involved to bring their ‘A-game’. Public Enemy challenged the basic assumptions and exposed the flaws of democracy, confronting audiences with the stark reality that played itself out in the nation-wide elections that followed.

A dance of love and literature between two countries separated at birth!

In June, we premiered Another Country, an international collaboration with our closest neighbour, Malaysia. With two directors, two playwrights, 10 actors and 50 literary texts from both sides of the Causeway, this production was performed in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to sold-out houses and rave reviews. At a time of nationalistic fervour, when it would be easier to dwell on our divorce from Malaysia, this production was a love letter reminding us of the ties that still bind us together.

Checking into HOTEL with our incredible cast
and directors Ivan Heng and Glen Goei!

In August, we threw open the doors of HOTEL. Commissioned and co-presented by the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA), this was W!LD RICE’s riskiest and most ambitious production to date. Lasting five hours and performed in nine languages, HOTEL took audiences through one hundred years of Singapore’s history. It was unanimously acclaimed as a five-star experience and an instant classic.

Earnest-ly storming Brisbane!

A fortnight later, in September, W!LD RICE proudly flew the Singapore flag at the Brisbane Festival with the Australian premiere of The Importance of Being Earnest. Critics proclaimed it the best production they had ever seen of Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy. This experience served as an affirmation of the universal appeal of our shows, and reminded us of how important it is to tour and create an international awareness of W!LD RICE’s world-class productions.

Ivan and Glen take a stroll down Orchid Road in 1965!

In early October, our guests took a trip back in time to 1965: SWINGING SEXY SINGAPURA – the 14th edition of our annual charity gala. Presented by Hublot for the fourth year in a row, the RICE BALL was a raucous affair that celebrated Singapore’s rich musical traditions and history – while raising money to help secure the future of the company!

Fifty – the city’s turning fifty!
Some colourful, magical holiday cheer courtesy of The Emperor’s New Clothes!

Most recently, the curtain fell on The Emperor’s New Clothes after 27 side-splitting, heartrending performances. This year, W!LD RICE’s annual holiday pantomime set a new benchmark for musical theatre in Singapore, with its quadruple-threat cast acting, singing, dancing and playing musical instruments on stage. Director Pam Oei’s singular vision inspired wit and wisdom from playwright Joel Tan, and some of the finest music ever composed for the Singapore stage by Julian Wong. What a fitting, fabulous finale to a year that was SO50!

young & W!LD take us down the sexy, neon-lit lorongs of Geylang

In addition to our main season, young & W!LD, our education and youth division, wrapped up their 18-month journey of discovery with two electrifying showcases. In collaboration with programme directors Rodney Ho and Serena Oliveiro, this 15-strong ensemble staged Geylang – a wildly original brew of history and fiction inspired by Singapore’s most colourful district – and a magical production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s been such a privilege to watch these 15 young talents grow and develop as artists. Look out for them – they’re young & W!LD, and they’re going to rock our world!

But, even as 2015 draws to a close, we are already hard at work for next year. Preparations are well underway for the fourth edition of the Singapore Theatre Festival, an initiative designed by W!LD RICE to develop and showcase new and original works by Singapore’s most exciting playwrights. I’m thrilled to announce that you can all start making plans to check into HOTEL next year, which will be refurbished just in time to serve as the cornerstone production of the Festival. Eight new and original home-grown works will also be staged as part of the month-long festivities. Meanwhile, we have a very special treat for fans of our annual pantomime in the Year of the Monkey – Monkey Goes West, the completely sold-out smash-hit of the 2014 holiday season, returns by popular demand for an extended run!

We’re raring to welcome you into the theatre for a season of inspiring, thought-provoking and entertaining theatre. Until we meet again, here’s wishing you love, laughter, peace, joy and a little magic for the holiday season – and the year to come!

Sincerely yours,

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