Get your cultural calendar out and start planning – Gwen Pew rounds up the theatre highlights of 2015
5 Jan 2015:
We’re a little older, a little wiser, but growing up is not always smooth sailing. The question of loyalty is explored in an original production of You Think, I Thought, Who Confirm? by Yellow Chair Production (Apr-25; Drama Centre Black Box). And The Necessary Stage’s Pioneer (Girls) Generation (Mar 26-29; National Museum of Singapore) is a witty observation of growing old in Singapore, while Wild Rice’s Public Enemy (Apr 9-25; Victoria Theatre), takes a hard look at society when the characters’ personal lives affect the decisions they make as professionals.
The themes of honour, passion and vengence will also appear in the epic wuxia tale, Legends of the Southern Arch (Mar 27-Apr 12; Drama Centre Theatre), The Theatre Practice’s 50th anniversary production.
For something a little more light-hearted, look to Asylum Theatre’s staging of The 39 Steps (Apr 23-May 10; Drama Centre Black Box). Dim Sum Dollies returns with a restaging of The History of Singapore Part 1 (Jun 4-21; Esplanade Theatre), while Pangdemonium will get you giggling about a dysfunctional family in Tribes (May 22-Jun 7; Drama Centre Theatre).
Starting the year with a bang, we’re treated to two festivals this month alone – including the M1 Fringe Festival (Jan 14-25) and KidsFest (Jan21-Mar 1). The Esplanade has a busy 12 months ahead with its array of festivals, but the one that excites us most is The Studios (Apr 2-May 10). Helmed by playwright-director Chong Tze Chien, it restages five landmark local plays, and features dramatised readings of 45 other works.
The Theatre Practice will bring back the Chinese Theatre Festival (Jul 9-Aug 2) with six shows from Singapore, Taiwan Hong Kong and China, while the Singapore International Festival of Arts (Jul 31-Sep 21) returns with the theme of ‘Post-Empire’; it features new works by local companies such as Wild Rice, Cake Theatre and Teater Ekamatra.
Besides those, Yellow Chair Production’s initiative, Tampines Theatre Festival (May 29-31), brings several schools together in a collaborative performance; Drama Box’s Scenes – Forum Theatre (Jul 3-10) celebrates the company’s 25th anniversary by paying tribute to the art form they use to engage the community; and Monologue Festival (Jul) by Teater Ekamatra invitets playwrights and directors to present monologues.
We’re all set to warble along to ‘Memory’ as Cats (Jan 9-Feb 1; MasterCard Theatres) slinks into town, and Base Entertainment will have at least two more musical offerings in the form of Singing in the Rain and Saturday Night Fever (dates TBA; MasterCard Theatres). And since this year is SG50, there are quite a few shows dedicated to our city, starting with Dream Academy’s Great World Cabaret (Feb 19-Mar 17; Resorts World Theatre).
The Capitol Theatre will reopen in April with a newly commissioned production, Singapura – The Musical (dates TBA; Capitol Theatre), which looks back at the struggles of a family during the turbulent pre-independence years. Not to be outdone, Meira Chand and Dick Lee will also stage their collaborative work, called LKY (dates and venue TBA), which is about, well, LKY. And speaking of the Mad Chinaman, we’re excited about the return of his 1998 musical, Beauty World (Nov; Victoria Theatre); too.
This year is also a big one for Toy Factory, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary with two shows: the multilingual Titoudao (Mar 5-15; Drama Centre Theatre) and December Rains (Aug 28-Sep 6; Esplanade Theatre), the latter of which is performed in Chinese. And since it’s never too early to start looking forward to Christmas, Dream Academy’s Crazy Christmas (Dec 10-19; Esplanade Theatre), will be back after taking a break in 2014.
Never mind the benefits of introducing theatre to the young ‘uns – because what’s bad about having someone else entertain the kids for once? I Theatre has four shows lined up for the year, starting with Aesop’s Fables (Feb 26-Mar 21; Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel), which features eight of the Greek storyteller’s tales. Other shows on its calendar include The Gingerbread Man (May 20-Jun 7; Jubilee Hall), Little Star (Jun 3-19; Alliance Francaise Theatre) and The Enormous Turnip (Nov 17-Dec 6; SOTA Drama Theatre).
The SRT’ junior arm, The Little Co, is bringing back the popular Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Mar 11-29; DBS Arts Centre) – except this time, it’s in Chinese. The Theatre Practice is also staging a musical in Chinese, The Wee Question Mark and the Adventurer (Jul 9-19; Flexible Performance Space, Lasalle), which follows a young man on a quest to find his father. And if your kid loves dance, then bring them along to Singapore Dance Theatre’s Peter and Blue’s Birthday Party (Jul 2-5; Esplanade Theatre Studio), which Peter and his friends go on a journey that culminates in a surprise at his birthday bash.
The Singapore Dance Theatre is bringing back two classic pieces, Sleeping Beauty (Mar 12-14; Esplanade Theatre) and Swan Lake (Dec 3-6; Esplanade Theatre), while more contemporary ones will be staged at Ballet under the Stars (Jun 12-14; Fort Canning Green), Masterpiece in Motion (Aug 21 & 22; Esplanade Theatre) and Passages (Oct 30-Nov 1; Goodman Arts CEntre). continuing its mission to examine the human condition through contemporary dance, THE Dance Company will present a Triple Bill (Apr 2-4; SOTA Drama Theatre) featuring works by three acclaimed Asian choreographers – Sun Shang-Chi (Germany/Taiwan), Xing Liang (Hong Kong/China) and Jeffrey Tan (Singapore) – as well as a restaging of the well-received 2012 da:ns Festival commission piece, Silences We are Familiar with (May 28-30; SOTA Drama Theatre).
We’ll also see the fourth instalment of Maya Dance Theatre’s RELEASE series (Mar 13 & 14; 10 Square Orchard Central), which features an array of performances by emerging choreographers from Singapore, India, South Korea, Malaysia and Isreal. Looks like 2015’s gonna be a cracker for lovers of the stage.