Boarding Pass to Asia TOPA Episode 4 – Singapore Heng Leun’s Guide

Boarding Pass to Asia TOPA Episode 4 – Singapore Heng Leun’s Guide


Theatre history or any art history is always a history… …of a community, of a nation, of any cities. You realise that actually in Singapore… …what I really like about the community is that… …because it’s so small we are somehow connected. Especially in the theatre community I feel that, you know… …we maybe do the work very differently. But when there is a need the community will come together. And I think that’s something that’s very precious. Substation is really what Pao Kun called the home for the arts. It is the first independent arts centre in Singapore. We never really had an arts centre. So it was really a place, especially in the 90s… …where we gathered together. I was working there and everyday I’m crossing paths… …with different kinds of artists, visual artists… …and some of the very important visual artists… …now still in Singapore. People like Amanda Heng, Tang Da Wu, Zai Kuning… …musicians like John Sharpley. They all were working there… …and a lot of the current important theatre artists… …would be seen there. Actually it was like one of my most important learning ground. Drama Box is a theatre company that was formed in 1990… …and turning thirty years old next year. We have been doing a lot of socially engaged participatory work. We were very interested in how Singapore landscape changed. So we have done an amount of projects in specific sites… …excavating the history… …looking at ideas of displacement and dispossessions. So this whole idea becomes actually… …one of the major kind of thematic through line of the company… …over the last I would say ten years. Centre 42 was set up with a focus on documenting… …and allowing new works to be developed. But they also open up a space… …for a lot of young independent theatre-maker to try things. So they would rehearse their new work… …they would incubate their new work there… …and they would present a play reading. They are also currently the people who are hosting… …the Asian Dramaturgs’ Network. And I think that’s also very wonderful that they do. Bringing international people together to have conversations. We change only when we start exchanging. How do actors change the world? I think Eugenio Barba, this theatre practitioner, once said… …it’s not the work that change the world… …it’s that we make the work that change the world.

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