The three shows reflect Wild Rice’s commitment to empowering young people to make and watch theatre that speaks to and for their generation.
Each one grapples with the issues that matter to young people growing up in Singapore today – from mental health and gender roles, to the pressures of surviving the punishing school system.
“If you want to understand what young people think, feel and care about these days, come join them at the theatre. Their bravery, insights and talent will blow you away!” says Ivan Heng, Founding Artistic Director of Wild Rice.
Young & Wild Takes On Mental Illness
In May, Young & Wild will take the stage in a boldly inventive production of Anthony Neilson’s The Wonderful World of Dissocia – a funny, surreal exploration of mental health through the journey of one woman looking for a lost hour of time.
“Young people are increasingly challenging the ways in which we think and talk about mental health issues here in Singapore. They are so brave about facing up to them and not sweeping them under the proverbial rug,” says programme director Edith Podesta, who is also an award-winning playwright, director and educator.
“I’m excited to see how the ensemble comes to grips with the no-holds-barred depiction of mental illness in The Wonderful World of Dissocia; I hope it will help them grow in their understanding of the world and themselves.”
This production is the graduating showcase for the eighth cohort of Young & Wild, Wild Rice’s dedicated training programme for aspiring actors from the ages of 18 to 35. Under Podesta’s guidance, the 12 members of this ensemble have spent the past year learning the art and craft of acting for the stage.
“Young & Wild is the most comprehensive acting course I’ve ever attended,” says Tiara Yap, 28, who writes and performs for SGAG and joined Young & Wild to hone her skills as an actor. “You really get well-rounded training in all aspects of theatre from industry professionals – apart from acting, we also learn about voice work, industry practices, and even the importance of self-care!”
Singapore Youth Theatre Gets Into The Head of the Singapore Student
Coming up next in June is Singapore Youth Theatre’s Every Student Is A Good Student / In My Head, a double bill devised and performed by a young company of artists in their teens.
The two plays explore what it is like to be a teenager growing up in Singapore today – the former exploring the challenges of surviving our regimented education system; and the latter inviting audiences to experience the chaotic inner life of a teenager from inside their head.
“I hope that, through watching our show, audiences will be able to empathise with us and really hear what we have to say about our lives and our experiences,” says Por Kate Yi, 16.
First launched in 2020, the Singapore Youth Theatre programme teaches young people from the ages of 13 to 17 how to write, direct and act for the stage.
“Everything you see on stage comes from these brilliant young artists,” says director Thomas Lim, Wild Rice’s Associate Artistic Director for Youth & Education. “That’s what Singapore Youth Theatre has always stood for – the freedom for young people to express themselves and make sense of their place in the world through their own stories.”
Re-Thinking Gender Roles and Societal Expectations
In October, Wild Rice will be presenting Fair Play, a piece written and directed by Lim that was first staged during Wild Rice’s Grand Opening season in 2019. The play aims to start conversations among its young audiences about gender roles, societal expectations and how fair they really are.
“Gender roles and the societal expectations that come with them are very much in the consciousness of teenagers today,” Lim elaborates. “With Fair Play, we want to spark thoughtful conversations amongst young people who are starting to think about the roles they play in their families and in society at large.”
Fair Play returns to The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre for a strictly limited run of daytime performances in October. Tickets are currently on priority hold for schools, and will be released for public sale subject to availability.
Tickets for The Wonderful World of Dissocia and Every Student Is A Good Student / In My Head go on sale from 12 noon on 27 March. School bookings for Fair Play can be made by emailing email@example.com.