A World Classic Reimagined
A thought-provoking twist on the murder mystery genre, J.B. Priestley’s AN INSPECTOR CALLS takes audiences into the heart of a seemingly happy, middle-class family whose lives are upended when an Inspector arrives with news of the death of a young woman.
Written in 1945, Priestley’s classic psychological thriller is one of his best-known works, and has been studied by generations of students in schools all over the world.
Directed with biting insight by Glen Goei, this production was originally slated to open Wild Rice’s 2020 season. It proved to be one of the theatre company’s first casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Returning to this endlessly fascinating play after living through the past three years has been illuminating, to say the least,” says Goei, who is also Wild Rice’s Co-Artistic Director. “The pandemic has only sharpened the inequities between the haves and the have-nots, between those who have the power and privilege in society and those who don’t. When he first wrote this play close to 80 years ago, J.B. Priestley wanted to challenge audiences to really think about what we owe one another – and I think that’s a more pressing concern than ever right now. This play hasn’t aged a day!”
A New Opera Takes Flight
In May, Singapore audiences can look forward to the world’s first English-language opera adaptation of THE BUTTERFLY LOVERS, which won critical acclaim at its world premiere in Melbourne, Australia earlier this year.
Years in the making, this spectacular new production marks the first international collaboration between Wild Rice and Victorian Opera. Ivan Heng, Wild Rice’s Founding Artistic Director, leads a team of Singapore and Australia’s finest arts practitioners to put a fresh, original spin on the beloved Chinese folktale. The Butterfly Lovers features a new score by Richard Mills and a libretto by Joel Tan.
“When Richard first invited me to direct any opera of my choosing with Victorian Opera, way back in 2015, I decided against staging an existing opera in the Western canon,” says Heng. “I thought it would be more meaningful for us to create something new together, to collaborate on a truly intercultural production that would speak to both our audiences in Singapore and in Melbourne. This Asian premiere is a dream come true.”
“Ivan Heng is, in my opinion, one of the great theatre-makers of Asia,” says Mills, who is one of Australia’s most distinguished composers, as well as the Artistic Director of Victorian Opera. “Collaborating with him on this new opera has been an invigorating, rewarding experience – we have challenged and inspired one another to make art in cross-cultural, innovative ways, and I am excited for Singapore audiences to see what we have created together.”
The Triumphant Return of a Wild Rice Masterpiece
Last, but not least, Wild Rice will bring its award-winning blockbuster production of HOTEL home to The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre. Unfolding over close to five hours and performed in nine languages, HOTEL follows the guests, staff and ghosts of an iconic hotel in Singapore through a century of social and political change.
Co-directed by Heng and Goei, from a script by Alfian Sa’at and Marcia Vanderstraaten, HOTEL made its world premiere at the 2015 Singapore International Festival of Arts, where it was proclaimed an “instant classic” by The Straits Times. It won the Straits Times Life Theatre Awards for Production of the Year, Best Direction, Best Original Script and Best Ensemble.
In 2017, HOTEL wowed audiences in Adelaide as the headline production of the OzAsia Festival.
“We have always dreamt of staging HOTEL in our very own theatre,” says Heng. “It is, after all, the quintessential Wild Rice show: a fully homegrown play that celebrates who we are as Singaporeans, telling our stories in ways that honour our history and our heritage.”
“In the intimacy of The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre, audiences will literally be in the hotel room, experiencing the grand sweep of history through this landmark theatrical event.”
Tickets to all three shows go on sale to Wild Rice Angels from 5 December, and to the general public from 12 noon on 19 December. Audiences will enjoy a 15% Early Bird discount on all Category 1 & 2 tickets purchased from 19 December 2022 to 18 January 2023.
Access performances to accommodate patrons with different needs are available for An Inspector Calls and HOTEL. (Please see here for more information.)