Lauren Yeo is barely ten years old. Already, her soaring, beautiful voice has been heard in Carnegie Hall. Jack & The Bean-Sprout! will be her third pantomime with W!LD RICE. She talks to us about discovering her voice, making friends and learning the craft of theatre.
Lauren performing at the 2013 RICE BALL

How many pantomimes have you done?

I’ve done two. In 2011, I did Aladdin, directed by Uncle Glen Goei, and in 2012, I did Hansel & Gretel, which was directed by Auntie Pam Oei. This year, I’m going to do another pantomime, Jack & The Bean-Sprout! and it’s directed by Uncle Ivan Heng. I love the W!LD RICE pantomimes – they’re so fun, ’cause I get to make a lot of friends and perform onstage. Sometimes the rehearsals are really tedious but they’re still really fun.

In the first pantomime, it’s really scary because you don’t know anyone. But you make friends. If you see them again the next year, you get closer and you make better friends. You can also make more friends because new people come in.

How did you get interested in performing?

I had been training in voice before the pantomime, for just three months. My parents always play classical songs in the car. I really like those songs, so I tried to sing them. My mom sent me for vocal lessons because she couldn’t stand it anymore!

W!LD RICE was one of my first few performances. My school had staged a musical directed by Ms Karen Lim. She had acted in the previous year’s pantomime, Cinderel-LAH!. She introduced me and my sister to W!LD RICE. She asked if we wanted to audition, and we did and we got in. After that, we had so much fun that we auditioned the next year.

Tell us about performing at this year’s R!CE BALL!

It was really really fun – it’s really cool because I got to perform alongside Uncle Ivan and Auntie Pam and Uncle Glen, who are all the recent directors of the pantomimes. They always encourage me and tell me to have fun, and it’s just really fun being onstage.

What was it like to perform at Carnegie Hall?

My mum asked if I wanted to join this singing competition her friend told her about. She didn’t actually tell me much about it and I thought, ‘Okay, let’s just do it for fun.’ When we got the results, we were all so shocked and surprised. I was jumping around and I asked my mum, ‘What’s the prize?’ And she said, ‘You’re going to perform at Carnegie Hall!’ I asked her, ‘What’s Carnegie Hall?’ ’cause I didn’t know, and she said it was this hall in New York. When we went there, I asked my mum why the building was so old if it’s so prestigious. I felt really privileged to perform there! When I first stepped onstage, I was really nervous, wondering if I would mess up. When I started singing, it got better – I wasn’t so nervous.

Do you think this is the career for you?

I would love it! Because it’s so fun – you get to be onstage and you meet so many different people.

What is it you like about being onstage?

When you’re singing, you feel so good. When you get the applause, you feel really proud of yourself – and that’s a really nice feeling.

What have you learnt from being in a W!LD RICE pantomime?

I’ve learnt to be more confident, to be more sociable and not to be so shy. I’ve learnt to be patient because we always have to wait long hours between the rehearsals. I’ve learnt to be humble too: because if you’re not humble, people won’t like it!

What are you most looking forward to with Jack?

I’m really looking forward to the performances. And we get to have really long rehearsals! Although I hate waiting, we get to socialise and talk with our friends. During the performance, it’s always a lot of fun because you get to be with all the other actors and the band and all that. It’s so cool!

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