Time Out Singapore: Backstage Heroes

Want to know what happens behind the scenes? Here, we head backstage to talk to some of Singapore’s best crew members who make the magic work on stage.

Backstage Heros

22 Jun 2014:

Tan Ngiap Heng

Performance photographer

‘The biggest challenge of photographing performances is the lighting. It’s usually dark, so we need fast lenses and a camera system with good autofocus. It’s also good to have seen a run of the production before shooting it, so that one can take note of good moments to take photographs and what angle to take those photographs.’

Janice Koh

Nominated Member of Parliament for the arts‘I see myself as a bridge between Parliament, policy-makers and the creative sector – mobilising the artistic community to engage and work with the government to make our arts scene and industry better, but also asking for clarity, accountability and transparency on policy issues that the community wants better answers on.’


Robin Loon

Dramaturge and senior lecturer at NUS Theatre Studies programme‘A dramaturge is a script or text doctor: we are engaged mainly to help shape the text by offering advice on research, structure, “stagibility”, pacing and plot of the text. We often balance the artistic impulses of the playwright with the artistic vision of the director when offering criticism.’


Mohamed Shaifulbahri

Producer at Yellow Chair‘In a nutshell, the producer is the main person who ensures that the show happens! We have to manage pretty much almost all aspects of a show, from finances to seeking and securing sponsorships, getting and managing the people in the show to marketing strategies and being on top of timelines (and that’s only part of it).’


Frederick Lee

Costume designer‘I start by digging into the characters’ personal traits and social standing, looking into my costume books and discussing with the director to establish how he would like to place the production. I then come up with the shapes, fabrics and design. I have worked hard to master the technical side, so I have an idea of how to do it right. Quality is everything.’


Kok Heng Leun

Director at Drama Box‘As a director, my job is to create conditions for the actors and creative team to help furnish the play. I ask basic questions like what issues the work is tackling, though there’s usually no easy answer. I also try to play both the first and third person to get a better perspective. The final vision depends on the people I work with; I have to ensure that it’s all achievable.’


Jeffrey Yue

Sound designer‘I would say that 50% of my job is creative, and the other 50% is engineering. It requires elements like composing, underscoring, mixing, etc; none of my materials are ever fully ready-made. I also take on a managerial role and sort out the technical side of things. My job finishes after the third or fourth performance, after I make sure the sound operators know what to do.’


Ashley Lim

Hair designer‘My role as a hair designer is to create different hairstyles to suit a role for an actor. I’ve done one whereby an actor needed to transform himself from a man into a fox on stage; that’s was one of the most challenging shows I have done. And in shows where actors have a lot of quick changes from one character into another, that is also very challenging and fun for me.’


Andy Lim

Lighting designer‘I first work out how light can be integrated into the set design, and then generate the plan, sort out the rental and paperwork. But being in the theatre is the real creation moment. It’s where I test out ideas and solve any issues. When the stars align, I will just create the lighting states and touch up before opening; otherwise I’ll have to think of ways to bring it back on course.’


Wong Chee Wai

Set designer‘I start working out the first draft of the design plans after meeting the team, and rework them until the sketches are approved. After that, I make more detailed plans and build a scaled model of the set. I then meet with contractors to start building it, making trips to the workshops to check on the progress. And when that’s done, we set up and fix details until opening night!’


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