Meet an Artist: Alvin Pang

Meet an Artist: Alvin Pang

Alvin Pang is an award-winning poet, writer, editor, anthologist, and translator. Working primarily in English, his poetry has been translated into over fifteen languages, and he has appeared in major festivals and anthologies worldwide.

His new collection of poetry, What Gives Us Our Names made me cry over brunch, and can be purchased online.

Alvin also tweets very interesting things here.ImageI was lucky enough to have Alvin share his thoughts on Singapore, writing and food and here they are condensed in pithy excellence for you to enjoy:

What words do you think sum up the work that you make?

Restless

What drives you to make art?

Boredom, curiosity, surprise

What is your next project?

Several commissioned selections/anthologies of Singapore poetry for international journals and publishers, all at once!

What is your dream future project?

A book of fiction (either collection of short stories, or a novel.  A verse novel?!)

What is your favourite spot in Singapore? What is your least favourite spot?

Fav: It’s a secret. But it’s somewhere green and mostly uninhabited.
Least fav: anywhere crowded, really.

What is your favourite arts venue in Singapore?

BooksActually!ImageWhat is your favourite poem/play/film/artwork about Singapore?

I’m fond of Dave Chua’s Gone Case (novel), especially the killer closing paragraph.  And Yeng Pway Ngon’s startling novel, UNREST.   But no one single work does it for me, really.  Perhaps the anthologies I’ve put together: NO OTHER CITY: The Ethos Anthology of Urban Poetry (Ethos:2000), or TUMASIK: Contemporary Writing from Singapore (Autumn Hill: 2009) simply because they suggest the diversity and range that is quintessentially Singaporean.  I like not having to choose 🙂

What is your favourite hawker centre?

This is a toughie. Telok Blangah rates highly, as does Maxwell.  Kreta Ayer used to be a great choice for newbies but parking is too difficult.  Adam Road is a favourite.

What is your favourite recipe to cook at home?

I don’t do it often, but I make a killer Roast Beef at X’mas.  Also my Teriyaki Chicken is a frequent fav.

Meet an Artist: Jasmine Ann Cooray

Welcome to today’s guest artist, Jasmine Ann Cooray.Image

Jasmine Ann Cooray is a poet from London, of British and Sri Lankan heritage. She works with young people as a mentor and workshop facilitator, developing confidence through poetry and performance. She aims to create spaces for voices all of kinds to speak out. She is currently the writer in residence at the National University of Singapore, which is a yearly 6 month residency offered to international artists. She is also training as an integrative psychotherapist.ImageJasmine is known for her vivid images, inclusive performance style, and storytelling through personal experience. She is often moved to address the taboo issues through her writing, and has performed in a variety of spaces in the UK, Singapore and the Phillippines. Her debut poetry pamphlet ‘everything we don’t say’ was released with Tall Lighthouse Press in 2009 and awaits reprint with Math Paper Press in 2014. She is working on her first full collection.  She never gives a substandard hug.

(I can definitely vouch for the hug!)

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(photo by Alvin Pang)

If you want to see Jasmine’s lyricism and warm hugs in person, you have many opportunities in the next few days.

Tonight, Jasmine’s exhibition titled “The Invisibility Project” opens at The Arts House. Jasmine has curated an evening of poetry and visual art that responds to the voices and people whose voices are unheard or unasked for in Singapore.Image

This weekend, Jasmine is running a workshop called WRITESingapore and is also performing at the We Can! Arts Festival, produced by AWARE Singapore.Image Despite being a resident artist, and not someone who lives here all the time, Jasmine has been here long enough to know everybody, to walk all around the island, and to drink warm wine on a rooftop with me.

So here is her Singapore:

What words do you think sum up your writing? 

Honest, Raw, Explorative.

What drives you to write poetry?

I started to write poetry when I was an angsty teenager trying to exhume demons. Later it became a way for me to process life events, tell stories, and talk about issues that I’m drawn to.

What is your current and/or next project?

I am working on my full collection, and hope to have something pulled together some time next year. In the meantime, I need to go over my first pamphlet and make sure it is sound for reprint in Singapore early next year. I also have a loose plan to put together a storytelling piece with stories that anthropomorphise emotional processes in some way. In terms of development, I am setting up a youth poetry collective in Singapore called Burn After Reading, which is a sister branch of the same collective in London. I hope to make something where the members can support each other and grow over time.

What is your dream future project?

Too many to choose from! I’d love to work with younger kids to develop self awareness and confidence through writing and speaking. This is the idealist in me- trying to create a world where people feel better about themselves in general. I’m also very interested in looking at how poetry can be a springboard for connecting people- sharing experiences through work that can then be discussed in a group. I’d also like to develop a space where arts facilitators can come and skillshare – often artists who work in education are learning as we go along, and having a support network like that would be great.

I’d love to work with more musicians too, it is so much fun and stimulates the musical part of me.ImageWhat are your favourite and least favourite spots in Singapore?

I like to walk in the evening- it is so cooling and calm and the sounds are amazing. I also just love the wild places- the parks, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, The Botanic Gardens though they are more organised. I love the wet markets and the food courts with birds flying all over the place. I also have a guilty pleasure of sitting in coffee shops like Artistry or Working Title or Carpenter and Cook (I know, hipster) for ages writing, the trend feels a lot like home.

I’m not so into the vast spaceship-style shopping malls. I feel like there is no escape in some of them- you have to pass through an assault of neon just to get out. I briefly visited Sentosa and found it a very surreal Disney-like place, and unfortunately an environment of forced joy does not appeal to me.

What is your favourite arts venue in town?

The Arts House has some cool spaces in it, like the Play Den. I also like the small bars and café’s that host poetry nights like Home Club and BlueJazz, and the Substation always has a lot of stuff to see..

What is your favourite hawker centre?

There is one in Clementi that does the best Pad Thai, mmm it is so tasty, I have to be careful not to inhale it. And the Lontong at the NUS campus is really good too.

What is your favourite recipe to cook at home?

I recently learned a Filipina dish called kinilaw na talong that is really flavourful and simple- smoky aubergine, tomatoes, chilli and a vinegary coconut milk sauce. I had it in Bohol in the Phillippines and had to try it out.

But when I am going for comfort food I make a load of aloo sag, fish curry, dhal and rice let the carbs do their numbing work.

What do you think Singapore looks like in 20 years time? 

No idea. It seems like it is in constant development so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was bigger, shinier, more imposing. I would be sad if it lost its natural spaces- they are a necessary respite from the rest of the island.

Thanks, Jasmine!

Meet an Artist: Tracie Pang

Meet an Artist: Tracie Pang

It’s a new week, which means a new local artist to introduce you to!

I was delighted to have Tracie Pang take part in my Q&A this week.

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Tracie is Co-Artistic Director of Pangdemonium Theatre Company with her husband Adrian. Their most recent play was a local production of the Broadway hit Gruesome Playground Injuries, playing at the Esplanade Theatre, and as we are propelled ever closer to 2014, Pangdemonium have an exciting new season to share.

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The new season is an exciting mix of dark comedy, poetic drama, and a musical love story! You can read all about it here.

Here is Tracie’s Singapore for you to enjoy:

What words do you think sum up the work that you make?

Powerful story telling. We try to be wide ranging and varied in our choices but the core of the work comes from choosing good writing and stories to tell.

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What drives you to make art?

It is just a passion, I can’t imagine doing anything else and being happy. I want my children to have access to expression, joy, heartbreak and all the fine details in-between. The theatre can be a magic space to get lost in for a couple of hours and my hope is to give people that opportunity to be a part of that magic and to learn something from that experience.

What is your next project?

My next project is a play called FAT PIG by Neil LaBute. It is a piece about self image and social conformity. Very funny and very sad.

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What is your dream future project?

Oh I have a lot of dreams! I do hope that one day I can work with a writer on developing a new piece that I haven’t dreamed of yet!

What is your favourite spot in Singapore? What is your least favourite spot?

Hard to say, I love to be around the bay near the Esplanade, the view is spectacular and I love the energy of artistes constantly being around the Esplanade. My least favourite spot is probably the Tax office, although the route going up to the 2nd link (causeway) is pretty ugly!

What is your favourite arts venue in Singapore?

I love working in the Esplanade Theatre, it is so well designed back stage and front of house and the staff support is great. I am also looking forward to Victoria Theatre reopening after its renovations, it has been closed for years now, but it was the first theatre in Singapore that I worked in and it holds good memories.

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Photo from Pangdemonium’s production of ‘Next to Normal’

What is your favourite play/film/artwork about Singapore?

I don’t think that I have one, I have enjoyed many pieces of film and theatre that has come out of Singapore but I am not sure that one stands out to me that tops the others.

What is your favourite hawker centre?

East Coast Lagoon – I can cycle from my home to the beach, the food choices there are fab, and I love the sea breeze mixed with the smell of cooking Satay on the BBQ’s.

What is your favourite recipe to cook at home?

I love to cook a good roast chicken, there is never anything left over once my boys have devoured it.

What does Singapore look like in 20 years?

Assuming that we avoid any major calamity, I think Singapore will go from strength to strength as a major player in the region for business and also the arts. I think it will be at the forefront of development in many areas, it is quite a resilient little red dot.

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Thanks so much for taking part, Tracie.

You can follow Pangdemonium on Twitter, and their website holds all the details of their 2014 season.

Meet an Artist: Joel Tan

It’s time to profile another local artist, and I’m delighted to welcome Joel Tan to the Tales of Two Cities blog!Image

I was lucky enough to work with Joel on a reading of my play Shabbat Dinner, which I’ve blogged about previously here.Image

Joel is a writer and performer. He read English at the National University of Singapore and studied playwriting with Huzir Sulaiman. Since then, he has gone on to write and direct for the stage with varsity groups as well as major theatre companies in Singapore. Productions of his writing for the stage include Family Outing (2011) for the Man Singapore Theatre Festival, People (2013) for USP Productions, The House (2013) for Flamenco Sin Fronteras, Mosaic (2013) for the Lit Up Festival 2013 and W!ld Rice’s annual musical pantomime, Jack and the Beansprout! (2013). Joel is an Associate Artist with Checkpoint Theatre.Image

As mentioned, Jack and the Bean Sprout is currently playing at the Drama Centre Theatre. Once a year, the fabulous W!ld Rice Theatre Company produce a Singaporean version of a classic story to usher their audiences into the holiday spirit. Jack and the Bean Sprout, written by Joel and directed by recent Cultural Medallion winner Ivan Heng, is a boisterous, cheeky, and yet very touching adaptation of the classic story of Jack and the Beanstalk.ImageI spoke to Joel last week about his work, his relationship to his home city, and more:

What words do you think sum up your writing?

Personal, wry, loving.

What drives you to write plays?

When I dream up, witness, hear about or live through a story that I want to tell, I start to write a play.

What is your current and/or next project?

I wrote the book and lyrics for this year’s W!ldrice pantomime, Jack and the Beansprout!, and that’s currently going through tech birthing pains (it opens 21st November). Future projects include some directing work for simple presentational readings of plays– Dan Koh’s event DERACINATE on the 26th of November, and the Checkpoint Theatre Associate Artist Readings from the 8-11th of December. January sees a restaging of my play People by Creative Edge, the youth wing of I-Theatre.

 

What is your dream future project?

I’d like to have the time and brain-space to complete a play I’m working on which condenses these big, confusing feelings and ideas I have about Singapore into a series of interlocking stories about very simple, ordinary people.

What are your favourite and least favourite spots in Singapore?

Favourite spot is that impossibly quiet little stretch along the Singapore River near the Asian Civilisation museum where in the day the CBD’s reflection is caught in the water, and at night the lights from the office buildings are hauntingly beautiful. Least favourite spot is the vulgar Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

What is your favourite arts venue in town?

I love-hate the Playden at the Arts House. Love because it’s where I’ve worked with a lot of other young theatre-makers to put up our work. It’s a fairly fuss-free space, cheap and familiar. I hate it because it has a very poorly maintained lights grid, which I realise now actually gives the place some character.

What is your favourite play/film/artwork about Singapore?

Arthur Yap’s the space of city trees.

What is your favourite hawker centre?

Lavender Food Square along Jalan Besar. They’ve got everything and it’s all very good.

What is your favourite recipe to cook at home?

After I acquired a big cast iron pot I tend to just throw things into it and cook it all overnight. But I think I like making chicken soup the most. I make it from scratch, including the stock, and only on rainy days.

What do you think Singapore looks like in 20 years time? 

I think it will look alternately like someone’s dream and nightmare city. I think in 20 years time it will finally have flushed out those with pastoral dreams, and it will give inspiration to those who write the city with a pastoral vision.

Thanks so much, Joel! Make sure to catch Jack and the Beansprout before the season ends, by booking here.

Meet an Artist: Pooja Nansi

Meet an Artist: Pooja Nansi

Part of my residency in Singapore involves the opportunity to hang out with a lot of very exciting artists – playwrights, directors, poets, musicians, and more – and learn about their practice.

It works like this:

  1. I meet an artist.
  2. I ask them a bunch of questions, which they answer beautifully.
  3. I share their answers with you.

Who better to kick off the series than a very talented poet and teacher, Pooja Nansi.

Pooja has just released a new book of poetry, which makes you either cry in the cafe where you’re reading it, or feel things that are inappropriate for feeling in a cafe (by which I mean: this is some passionate poetry), and we spoke about her practice, her relationship to Singapore, and more, below!

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Pooja Nansi is a teacher and poet, and also one half of a spoken word and music duo, The Mango Dollies. Her first collection of poetry, Stiletto Scars, was launched at Singapore Writers Festival 2007. She has performed and conducted workshops extensively in several educational institutes both locally and abroad. She has also participated in poetry projects such as Speechless (with the British Council), where she worked with poets from UK, Ireland, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam, and engaged in a month-long tour of the UK to explore issues surrounding freedom of speech. She curates a monthly spoken word event at Artistry called Speakeasy  which has attracted poets from places as diverse as Burma and Botswana, and her second collection of poems Love is an Empty Barstool was published by Math Paper Press in November 2013.

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1. What words do you think sum up your writing?

Honest. Personal. Vulnerable. Fearless.

2. What drives you to write poetry?

I like the compact nature of poetry, how it forces you to think hard about what makes a moment significant or meaningful. How something which is a very personal moment to you, actually tends to speak universally to people who have had similar experiences. There’s always a challenge to articulate things that are hard to articulate, it’s a bit of a dance with words, exchanging partners till you find just the right one. I enjoy the puzzle solving. Also, one of my favourite poets, Anne Sexton said it the best. “The beautiful feeling after writing a poem is on the whole better even than after sex, and that’s saying a lot.

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3. What is your current and/or next project?

I just launched my second collection, but that was a sort of a ‘best of’ the poems I had written between 2006 and 2013. Currently, I am working on a series of letters to people, places,things, feelings, thoughts. That’s the best way I know how to describe it. It feels a little different from the poems I have written, and its a real labour of love which I want to take my time with. What I am looking forward to in the very immediate future is a small launch of Love is An Empty Barstool in London with my best friend singing the blues to the poems in the collection.

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4. What is your dream future project?

I fantasise about putting up a spoken word show with some elements of theatre and sound design, maybe even multimedia, with a star cast of my favourite contemporary poets who I think are amazing readers, getting a director to put it together and having it do a full run in a theatre space. I feel very strongly about making poetry accessible and debunking the myth that it is unapproachable or only for a certain type of intellectual. Poetry can make things happen. I also want to do something kick ass with you, Jess!

(BACK ATCHA!- Jess)

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5. What are your favourite and least favourite spots in Singapore?

Some of my favourite spots on this island are Haji Lane at night because it kind of organically sprouts into this mad, eclectic street party, Parkway Parade which is a mall in Marine Parade, but one that I’ve been going to as a child and very much feels like home, The MacDonalds at Liang Court because it’s where I’ve ended up with my friends after every amazing drunken night and of course BooksActually in Tiong Bahru which is the most amazing bookshop you’ll ever find.

My least favourite spot is Orchard Road on a weekend because it feels soulless and manic. I also hate the Marina Bay Sands building and the Shoppes at Marina Bay, mainly because they are called “shoppes” but also because nothing about it says anything about who we are as a country, it’s clearly catered to creating an idealised, sterilised luxury mirage of what Singapore is about to tourists.

6. What is your favourite arts venue in town?

Artistry Cafe at Jalan Pinang. I curate a monthly spoken word night there called Speakeasy, but besides that they are a lovely space with an amazing sound system, killer coffee, draft beers and a diabolical tiramisu. And Marcel and Prashant who run the place are the coolest most easy going, helpful and generous people you will ever encounter. They also host art exhibitions, singer-songwriter nights and play readings.

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7. What is your favourite play/film/artwork about Singapore?

I love Haresh Sharma’s “Those who can’t teach” which is a really honest take on the Education system and what it means to teach in Singapore. I also love Alvin Pang’s poem “What it means to be landless” which says so much about how our physical environment shapes us. There’s too many to mention, but these two stick out.

8. What is your favourite hawker centre?

Tekka Market! And also the little shop right next to it called KamalaVillas which sells the most divine ghee paper thosai and masala chicken.

9. What is your favourite recipe to cook at home?

I’m a pretty decent cook and I like experimenting a lot with food, I make a pretty mean risotto, but my all time favourite thing to make myself when I am in need of comfort and rest is Maggi Mee Curry Noodles. I am Singaporean after all.

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10. What do you think Singapore looks like in 20 years time? 

I couldn’t tell you. In my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have thought it would look the way it does now this 20 years ago. But my wish is that we don’t become one giant mall and that we pay attention to the spaces that speak of our heritage, no matter how small or how inconveniently placed they are. An example is when they demolished the old National Library building to make way for a tunnel. Near broke my heart. So fingers crossed that my generation and the next have loud enough voices to make sure the places that matter, stay.

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Thanks Pooja!

See you guys next week for your next artist!

Photo on 17-11-13 at 3.11 PM

Meet Jessica Bellamy

Meet Jessica Bellamy

Playwright Jessica Bellamy has just arrived in Singapore, to take part in a program for the Singapore Writers Festival, and to begin a six week residency in the neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru, where she will be working with Singaporean playwrights Joel Tan and Faith Ng. Her piece SHABBAT DINNER, exploring ideas of food, memory and family history, is presented this weekend (Sun 10th November) at LASALLE College of the Arts as part of Singapore Writers Festival (To register, free of charge, click here.)

Tiong Bahru Day 1!

Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a Sydney based writer who has been working as a freelance playwright for a few years now. In the last 3 years I’ve had opportunities to write my own plays, my first short screenplay, and to participate in some devised productions. My work is heavily inspired by the environment and by poetry, and I am also trying to write more about my own history and cultural background.

And what are have you been working recently?

I have just wrapped up two devised projects: The Grief Parlour with Clockfire Theatre at Parramatta Riverside Theatre in Sydney, and a multi-playwright show LoveNOT with Philippines-based performance company Sipat Lawin Ensemble. I was the winner of the atyp Foundation Commission for 2013, and my play  for children, Compass, premiered in October of this year.

You have written both plays and short films. Which do you prefer?

Theatre is still my first love and always will be – there is something so special about the community that is formed in a room of strangers sharing a story together that I can’t deny.

I am still very new to screenwriting and am seeking more opportunities and experience in that area. I was lucky to be paired with director Damien Power and producer Bec Cubitt for my first film, BAT EYES, two very exciting filmmakers who have helped me through the experience of making a film, and then promoting and screening it.

So, why Singapore? Have you been here before? If so, what were you first impressions?

Singapore is the first overseas country I ever visited, when my parents took my sister and I there for a holiday as children. I remember the tropical heat and regular downpours being so exotic, the excitement of so many cultural districts within one city, and the interesting blend between constructed and natural beauty. I was able to tour Tiong Bahru on my 2012 trip to Singapore, and found it to be such an exciting area rich in art, literature, historical architecture and of course food. I can’t wait to learn even more about it.

I’ve enjoyed visiting a host of South and South East Asian countries in the last few years, including doing some devising work in Manila. I am excited by the prospect of collaborating with Singaporean theatremakers and immersing myself in a different country’s theatrical culture. For so long, Australia has taken its cultural inspiration from European and American models, despite Asia being our neighbour, and it is high time to develop strong links between our two countries, for the future.

Tb tumblrWhat will you be doing there?

There will be a few facets to my residency ( at Grey Projects in Tiong Bahru, made possible through the generous support of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore ). The first is a performance of a new work I have written, Shabbat Dinner, that was first mounted at the Bondi Feast Festival with Tamarama Rock Surfers, directed by Anthony Skuse, in July 2013 (details of the performance, here). I will be working with Joel Tan to bring this to fruition in Singapore. It is a piece of dinner theatre that explores the role of food, family and history in our secular lives. It is a very specific piece, grounded in a particular cultural context, and I look forward to seeing how it translates into a Singaporean context. (Read more, here)

I’ll also be talking about the representation of cities on stage at Singapore Writers Festival, alongside Joel, Huzir Sulaiman and Faith Ng (two leading Singaporean playwrights), and Australian playwright Lachlan Philpott, whose play SILENT DISCO is also being read at the Festival (details of the panel discussion, here.)

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I will also be working with young writers to develop new writing inspired by significant foods in their lives, and a few masterclasses with older writers. By the end of the residency, I will have created the beginnings of a new devised work with Joel Tan and Faith Ng, and hope to further pursue developmental opportunities for the project.

Why the focus on food?

Food is essential to our survival, but it is also meaningful. Food ties us into our culture, our ethnicity, our religion, our family, and our history. When I wrote Shabbat Dinner, I wanted to use food as a way of bringing a community together over the act of “breaking bread”, even if only for the length of the show.

There has to be a reason why humans still sit together and obsess over spice and herbs instead of eating space-food from packets to save time. Good food reminds us that there is more to life than just survival, just nutrition. In the act of eating and tasting, we remember that we are part of a long line of other humans, and that this act of coming together to eat will stretch on for as long as we exist.

And how did you meet Joel and Faith?

I met Joel and Faith at National Studio at Bundanon,organised by the Australian Theatre for Young People, where I did a reading of Shabbat Dinner. Later that week, I was lucky enough to host Joel at election party, where he got a bit of an insight into how emotional Australian left wing artists can be when politics aren’t going their way. I learnt that all three of us have in common a pretty major love of food – and a tendency to photograph what we eat because the world simply must see it.
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What are you looking forward to and what are you hoping to get out of your time in Singapore?

I can’t wait to become a fixture in Tiong Bahru – to suddenly stop being that random girl with the notebook, but a member of a community. I can’t wait to meet other artists and find out what ideas and passions drive them, and see what we have in common. I can’t wait to eat Singaporean carrot cake.

I am hoping that I will leave Singapore with a bunch of new collaborators and friends, and that I will then be able to embark on many years of cross-cultural theatre-making between our countries. I hope that the writing program I set up for teenagers can become self-seeding, so that new work is constantly being generated.

And I hope that my residency paves the way for many more such residencies in the future, and a robust engagement of our two countries for a long time to come.

How can people be involved?

I will be sharing details of all of the programs through the Tales of Two Cities Facebook page, on Twitter, on Instagram, and on our Tumblr. I’ll be regularly updating with stories from Singapore, interviews with fellow artists, pictures of food, and more!

Find out more details about the Tales of Two Cities event at the Singapore Writers Festival, here. You can find out more about the full program for Jessica, here.

The Tales of Two Cities

Tales of Two Cities is an ongoing conversation and creative exchange between Singaporean and Australian playwrights and theatremakers.

Kicking off with Singaporean theatre artists visiting Playwriting Australia’s National Play Festivals – playwright Huzir Sulaiman (Joint Artistic Director, Checkpoint Theatre) in 2012 and director Tracie Pang (Pangdemonium Productions) in 2013 – the program is now ramping up with emerging playwrights Joel Tan and Faith Ng having just spent a week at atyp’s Fresh Ink National Studio in Bundanon, NSW, with 16 young Australian writers and leading playwrights Declan Greene, Angela Betzien and Jane Bodie.

Australian Playwrights @ the Singapore Writers Festival

We next head to Singapore for the 2013 Singapore Writers Festival in November, where Lachlan Philpott, Jessica Bellamy and Playwriting Australia’s Artistic Director Tim Roseman will be joining Huzir, Faith and Joel to talk about the challenges and pleasures of putting the cities of Singapore and Sydney on stage (Venue: National Museum of Singapore, Saturday 9th November, 8.30 to 10 pm).

Singaporean audiences will also get the opportunity to attend a reading of Silent Disco as leading Singaporean director Claire Wong directs a reading of Lachlan’s acclaimed AWGIE winning play.

Playwright Residency: Jessica Bellamy

From the National Museum of Singapore, we head to Tiong Bahru, where Jessica Bellamy begins a six-week residency in one of Singapore’s most beloved housing estates. Jessica will be working with playwright/ director Joel (Family Outing) Tan and a group of young performers to present, as part of the Singapore Writers Festival, Shabbat Dinner, a work exploring the role of food, females and family in contemporary Jewish identity. Jessica will then spend six weeks in Tiong Bahru working with Joel and Faith to explore the extraordinary relationship Singaporeans have with the food that they eat, and working with community groups, schools and Singaporean artists to create a response to Shabbat Dinner, which will take place in Tiong Bahru in December.

Follow the project on Facebook for first word of workshops for young writers, events and tickets for the readings.

Jessica will be blogging for us regularly from Singapore, and you can follow Tales of Two Cities over on Tumblr, on Twitter at @sydneysingapore and on instagram.

Sharing memories, stories and new work: these are the Tales of Two Cities.

Industry & Project Partners
Tales of Two Cities is made possible through the support of the City of Sydney, National Arts Council (Singapore), Australian Chamber of Commerce (Singapore), Grey Projects (Singapore), the Singapore Writers Festival, Tiong Bahru Community Centre and the Australian Theatre for Young People (Sydney).