The House Is Open

You’ve probably seen Jane Chia at many a W!LD RICE show – as an invaluable member of our front-of-house team, she’s helped you collect your tickets and find your seats. These days, she’s also a part of our third cohort of young & W!LD. We chat with Jane about getting bitten by the acting bug and the learning journey she’s undertaken thus far as an actor.
Jane working front-of-house for Aladdin (2011)

When were you bitten by the acting bug?

Quite frankly, I was never the drama class kid – I used to laugh at my cousins for having to go for speech and drama classes! It really sparked for me after I watched Mamma Mia! when it came to Singapore years and years ago. That, and Forbidden City. After watching those shows, I just thought: ‘I want to do something like that!’

How did you get started?

I started with SRT’s Young Co. In my first year, I worked with Michael Corbidge. It was quite daunting. We had to prepare two monologues and one song and I was completely lost. I had no inkling at all what a monologue was! When I went into the audition with Michael, he tried to show me how to do things. That was the start of the learning process. In my second year, Sue Tordoff took over. I went back as an alumnae in the third year, when Dan Jenkins took over. So I was quite fortunate that I got to work under three different teachers.

Subsequently, it was really just about putting pieces together on my own. I had a lot of audition opportunities with Young Co, including for film – it’s when I concluded I don’t have a film face! [laughs] I did Short And Sweet [a festival of ten-minute plays], which was my debut performance. From there, you just find leads and get to know people.

Tell us about your front-of-house work with W!LD RICE.

The thing I like about W!LD RICE is its style. Other theatre companies can be more proper when it comes to FOH duties. I’m not that kind of person – I can give you that crisp finish, if you like, but the general environment at W!LD RICE just suits me better. It’s nicer and more of a family environment, which I really appreciate. Your views are taken under consideration, and I almost don’t find that it’s work!

What do you hope to accomplish in joining young & W!LD?

I think I came in because, as an actor, you can never stop learning. young & W!LD really represented an opportunity for me to learn more and to go back into working as part of a group. I teach as well, so I want to make sure that whatever I’m passing on is the right thing, rather than just based on my experiences – which include school assembly programmes, in which you really have to exaggerate your performance to the skies! I wanted to break out of that.

It’s been a month since the programme started. What have you been doing?

We’ve been learning to craft our own monologues towards our first public performance. Other than that, we’ve been doing some group activities. Today, we had to work out a group ritual without using words – we had to really sense one another. Collectively, as a group, we’re starting to understand how each person works. Everyone in this group is very different; each of us has our own direction. It’s really about meshing all these different elements together and finding a collective direction.

What are you most looking forward to as the programme goes on?

Most definitely, the learning process. As it is, I’m learning to craft my own monologue, which I’ve never done before and is really interesting. We’re also getting so many questions asked of us that have proved to be real thinking points for me. Sometimes, when you’re doing shows, you don’t think about some of these things – you just go through the motions. The programme has helped me to think harder and look at things in a different way. I’m also looking forward to further honing my craft.

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