These theatre-makers – Victoria Chen, Hazel Ho, Sim Yan Ying ‘YY’ and Thong Pei Qin – will helm four new productions under the auspices of Wild Rice’s Directors’ Residency Programme.
This residency programme for directors marks a new initiative for the company, which has long offered training opportunities for actors.
“When COVID-19 compelled the closure of our theatre, we made a decision to pivot from presenting shows to incubating projects –we took the opportunity to invest in the future of Singapore theatre,” says Ivan Heng, Founding Artistic Director of Wild Rice.
The four directors were selected from an open call in April, which garnered more than 60 submissions. Over the past six months, they have been honing their craft in collaboration with Heng to bring their creative visions to life.
“We are always on the lookout for new voices, new stories and new ways of thinking and talking about who we are,” Heng adds. “With these remarkable young artists, we were able to create a space to learn, experiment and innovate.”
Each director was given the opportunity to choose and develop their script, cast and rehearse with their actors, assemble and lead a design team and more.
Originally slated to be staged in a black-box setting, all four productions will now be presented in Wild Rice’s main venue –The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre –giving each director the challenge of directing a thrust-stage production.
Over the next few months, audiences will have the opportunity to watch the following exciting new productions, which cover topics as diverse as hoarding, living in modern-day Singapore, office politics and grief.
- MINE (directed by Thong Pei Qin) from 26 to 28 November 2020
- CAFÉ (directed by Hazel Ho) from 3 to 5 December 2020
- BULL (directed by Victoria Chen) from 7 to 9 January 2021
- WHERE ARE YOU? (directed by Sim Yan Ying ‘YY’) from 4 to 6 February 2021
For full details on all four shows: https://www.wildrice.com.sg/director-residencies/
Empowering Future Generations of Theatre-Makers
Working with Wild Rice has also been a challenging and rewarding learning experience for the four directors.
“Under Ivan’s mentorship, I am stretched in all the right ways so as to make me confident enough to take control of my creative ideas and commit to them wholeheartedly,” says Chen.
As part of the company’s commitment to celebrating and uplifting new voices, Heng took care to select directors who were willing to push the envelope and try different things.
“I was pleasantly surprised when my application was accepted by Wild Rice, as it seemed to deviate from their existing body of work,” admits Sim. “In addition to the trust that they have placed in me, I thoroughly appreciate the leap of faith that the company is taking in programming a devised physical theatre production.”
Each director also received full financial, marketing and production support from Wild Rice’s entire team, for which they are grateful.
“The Wild Rice team and Ivan are all very, very experienced and knowledgeable in what they do, so being part of this residency has given me the invaluable opportunity to learn from them by osmosis,” says Ho.
Significantly, all four directors under this programme are women –who remain underrepresented in this capacity in the arts industry.
“I do get a kick out of everyone being female,” Thong observes. “It really speaks to a new kind of leadership and new ways of creation in our local theatre scene. I am excited for what the future of our industry holds, and am proud to be in the company of these bold, young women, who I know will be making changes right here in Singapore!”