young & W!LD: Dawn Teo

You’ve seen her onstage, as part of the chorus, in our production of The House Of Bernarda Alba. Now find out why Dawn Teo wanted to join the third cohort of young & W!LD, and what she’s learnt about herself and her craft in the process.

How did you get bitten by the theatre bug?

It was a total accident!

I came across Buds Youth Theatre when I was 14 and I knew my best friend was interested in performing, so I decided to bring her there. I have always been a shy kid so I never really planned to be part of the group activities but everyone there was friendly and encouraging, so I took a step out of my comfort zone to be a part of what they do. Just to give it a try.

After six months, I did my first public performance with them and it just went on like that. I started to gain more confidence in myself and realised that I enjoy telling stories about others while discovering parts of myself that I have never uncovered before.

Six years on, I am still doing theatre and absolutely loving every minute of it. It never once occurred to me to quit or leave this space of enchantment, acceptance and art.

I feel like being in theatre is the best decision I have ever made in my life!

Tell us a little about the theatre work you’ve been doing.

I first dabbled in theatre as an actor with various local theatre companies such as Buds Theatre Company and Toy Factory Productions. Occasionally, I also get opportunities to stage my writing and stage-manage for productions by other companies, which are great learning experiences for me.

I have also been working on devised theatre with Theatre:Connect – tackling social issues such as self-harm and sharing them with the public to increase awareness and get people to talk about what is going on around us.

You were part of the ensemble in our production of The House Of Bernarda Alba. What was that experience like? What did you learn in the process?

I have never been in a chorus before so it was refreshing and new for me. I learnt about how discipline and focus are extremely important, because everyone in the chorus has a part to play. Every action, every note we had to sing, and our presence on stage had to be natural yet controlled at the same time, so we look strong, neat and serve our purpose well.

There was a lot of trying to help each other, being understanding about our differences and working it out as a team to put on a good show every night.

Every individual I met in the chorus had experiences to share and, being one of the younger ones, it was inspiring listening to and working with them on the production.

Why young & W!LD?

I have always wanted to be a part of this programme and I remember attending past showcases from the previous batches. I always left the showcases feeling curious, inspired and motivated to better myself as an artist.

The idea of being able to explore who I am as an aspiring artist and what I might be able to give to the community under the guidance of professionals – that’s always interested me. So I was really happy when I saw the notice that it is back after a hiatus!

young & W!LD has been going strong for almost two months. What have you learnt thus far about your craft and yourself?

young & W!LD is a space where I feel constantly challenged and am left thinking whenever I leave a session. I like being pushed to my limit. I feel like I’m on a journey with wonderful individuals to discover what theatre can be and who I am, even as we keep pushing the boundaries.

I’ve realised that I feel quite uncomfortable sharing my personal stories in front of people, even though, at the same time, it is liberating. While trying to get over that, I also feel encouraged to try everything I want to try, which is great, so now I am aware of all the choices and decisions I can make. We’re crafting our own monologues now. That’s given me the opportunity to explore the thought processes I go through in trying to create a work that is entirely my own – from the words, to how I use the space, and how I want it to look.

I think I am learning and growing. I like that.

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