Wild Rice today announced the first three shows in its 2022 season: The Good Citizen (8 – 9 January 2022), The Amazing Celestial Race (from 10 February 2022) and Schooled (17 – 20 March 2022).
“We’re so excited to start the new year right by presenting three shows that so clearly align with Wild Rice’s mission as a theatre company,” says Ivan Heng, Founding Artistic Director of Wild Rice. “Our priority has always been to produce theatre that not only entertains our audiences, but also challenges and empowers our artists, especially the young rising stars of tomorrow.”
All three shows will be performed in The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre, Wild Rice’s main-stage venue in its performing arts complex in Funan.
Championing Young Theatre-Makers
Two of the upcoming shows – The Good Citizen and Schooled – are original plays created by the participants of Singapore Youth Theatre, a newly launched youth division of Wild Rice.
First launched in 2020, this theatre-making programme teaches young people from the ages of 13 to 17 how to write, direct and act for the stage. Over the course of a year, participants are encouraged to make and present theatre that tells the stories they want to tell.
“The driving force behind Singapore Youth Theatre is that this is theatre-making led by our youth,” says Heng. “Wild Rice is proud to give them a platform through which they can express themselves, as well as their concerns, hopes and aspirations.”
First up, in January 2022, is The Good Citizen, which reimagines living and growing up in Singapore as a board game. Devised and conceptualised by the current batch of Singapore Youth Theatre participants, the play takes an unflinching look at what players have to do and sacrifice in order to become ‘good citizens’.
“Our play looks beyond the fun and games to examine the many expectations we are supposed to live up to in Singapore,” says Dharshan Nathan, age 16. “But how can you remain true to yourself when it often feels like achieving success requires you to get rid of what’s different about you?”
In March, Schooled, the inaugural Singapore Youth Theatre production, returns to Wild Rice’s stage for a limited run.
Presented in a series of vignettes, Schooled incisively and humorously explores a wide range of topics about the state of the world today – from gender politics to climate change. The show, which premiered to completely sold-out houses in December 2020, won rave reviews from audiences and will be updated for this run.
“We want to be a voice for young people – to share our views on the problems we face, the topics we are passionate about, and the need for change in our society,” says Madeline Yeo, age 19. “We hope that the young people in the audience will relate to this show, and that it will spark conversations among everybody, young and old.”
Both shows have been created under the guidance and mentorship of award-winning playwright Thomas Lim, who is also Wild Rice’s Associate Artistic Director for Youth & Education.
“All parents, teachers and anyone who has a young person in their lives should come and see the show,” Lim recommends. “So that we may all understand their hopes, fears and aspirations and be better adults to them as they make their way in the world.”
Tickets for The Good Citizen and Schooled go on sale from 10am on 13 December 2021.
Racing to Amaze Audiences During the Lunar New Year
Come February 2022, Wild Rice will be reviving The Amazing Celestial Race – an exhilarating musical comedy that first entertained audiences during last year’s Lunar New Year festive season.
An epic reimagining of the ancient Chinese folk tale, The Amazing Celestial Race invites audiences to be at the starting line of the fierce competition that ultimately determined the order of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac calendar.
Joyously directed by Glen Goei, this family-friendly production features a cheeky, charming script by Dwayne Lau, toe-tappingly hummable original tunes by Julian Wong and a new young cast of actors.
“Working with some of the best artists in Singapore to create the eye-popping world of The Amazing Celestial Race has been a career highlight for me,” says theatre veteran Goei. “We could only reach a limited audience last year due to COVID-19 seating restrictions, so we decided to bring this show back in 2022 with a bang. We can’t wait to dazzle and delight audiences of all ages and from all walks of life.”
“This show has such a powerful universal appeal,” adds Heng. “Here in Singapore, everyone – regardless of age, race or nationality – knows their Chinese Zodiac sign. Furthermore, the show’s themes of helping one another and the importance of the greater good are timeless. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the Lunar New Year with your friends and family!”
The Amazing Celestial Race makes its festive return to The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre from 10 February 2022. Tickets go on sale to Wild Rice Angels from 16 December, and to the general public from 12 noon on 21 December.