The Next Generation: Ian Lee

At the tender age of eight, Ian Lee is well on his way to becoming a three-time veteran of our annual year-end pantomime. He was talent-spotted in Hansel & Gretel last year, and has since became heir apparent to reigning Broadway Beng Sebastian Tan. Ian tells us how he went from W!LD RICE pantomime to National Day Parade.

How did you first find out about the W!LD RICE pantomime?

I think my mum went online and she saw something about it – she asked me to take part since there’s nothing for us to do in the holidays. So she asked me to join the pantomime for fun. Jack & The Bean-Sprout! is my third pantomime, after Aladdin and Hansel & Gretel.

How did you discover your love for performing?

I joined the pantomime and I realised that I like singing and acting and drama!

You’ve been quite a sensation as mini Broadway Beng. How did that come about?

I met Sebastian Tan during last year’s pantomime, Hansel & Gretel. I learnt Hokkien from my grandparents at home, so I spoke a few words of Hokkien backstage. The hairstylist, Auntie Jane, told Sebastian about me! He asked me to do this year’s NDP and then, after that, Sebastian and Auntie Selena decided to put me into Broadway Beng.

What was it like being in NDP and Broadway Beng?

Well, NDP was a little bit scary as it was the whole country watching me. And Broadway Beng is a little scarier than pantomime because I’m doing it solo. Usually, when the main cast is acting and I’m a FIRST STAGE Kid, the attention is not really on us. But, on Broadway Beng, I was thinking, “Oh crap, why is everyone looking at me?!” I really enjoyed it though!

What do you like about being in a W!LD RICE pantomime?

I like being with my friends, while acting. Sometimes we play games together, talk to each other – we always chat on WhatsApp. We’re really good friends, some of us, and it’s not so boring being with my friends! On Broadway Beng, when I first started, I only knew Denise and Sebastian and Siti from Hansel & Gretel. We started rehearsals a very short time before the show, and every night I was studying because my exams were at the same time. So I could only practice my lines when I poo!

What have you learnt?

I learnt not to be so scared in front of so many people. Next time, if I grow up (sic), I won’t be so scared when I stand onstage. It’s an experience of a lifetime to be backstage! I really enjoyed working with Auntie Pam, Auntie Selena, Uncle Glen and Uncle Ivan. They tell us what to do – without them, this whole show would be ‘gone’!

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