Finding Your Inner Quirk

One. Week. Left!

It’s quite horrifying and unbelievable to think that I only have a week left in Singapore.

The first month has gone so incredibly fast; a whirlwind of teaching, meeting new people, going to events, learning about the culture, museum- and gallery-hopping, and eating many many egg tarts from Tiong Bahru Pau.ImageThe last week has been bittersweet, as my series of workshops have all culminated in different ways.

On Wednesday, I held my final workshop for adult writers. For the last 3 weeks, this ensemble has been coming together to share inspiration, gain support and advice, and to form a few collaborative documents that can help us with our creative process in the future. They have been a joy to work with, and I look forward to sharing some of our work with you all soon, to see if it inspires you on your own creative journeys.ImageI also wrapped up the final session of my Finding Your Voice workshops with writers aged 16-22. These young writers have been dedicated, open to new ideas, and have created a very exciting collection of monologues inspired by the setting of Tiong Bahru. These will be shared soon too!

In a stroke of perfect timing, fellow Australian writer Kim Ho, he of the much-acclaimed film The Language of Love, happened to be in Singapore.ImageKim came to share his film (watch it, here) and a Q&A with my team of young writers, and then was able to hear their final pieces of work being shared with the class.ImageFinally, yesterday was my final workshop in Singapore, a community event at Tiong Bahru Community Centre, focused on writing about the unique estate of Tiong Bahru.ImageIt was a very exciting day of sharing, storytelling and laughter, with a mixture of local residents and other people from wider Singapore. We engaged with the locations, people and stories of Tiong Bahru while sharing a few creative exercises.

I hope the workshop has inspired some people to start writing and keep writing, and share their stories with the wider world.ImageIt has been a challenging and rewarding opportunity to offer three very different masterclasses within a short period, but I have gained so much from the artists I have worked with.

This experience has brought home the realisation that everybody has a story, an inner quirkiness, a combination of odd passions, skills and loves that make them who they are. Once we tap into this inner self with dedication and rigour, we can create work that is personal, meaningful and engaging. Our unique way of seeing the world. Our own inner voice.

Thank you to the Tiong Bahru Community Centre and Grey Projects for hosting us so well.

Now back to the Pau stall.

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Well, that was fun!

We found our voice.

Farewell, lovely youth participants of the Finding Your Voice workshop series. They have made beautiful work over the last 4 weekends, and I hope to share their final pieces with you soon.

We were also delighted this final weekend when Kim Ho, the writer and star of the short film The Language of Love, popped by the workshop to show his acclaimed film and talk to us.

Ellen DeGeneres thinks Kim’s film ‘amazing’ and we all agreed.

Watch the film, below.

kim and jess

Write Way Home: a workshop about Tiong Bahru

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What makes Tiong Bahru feel like home?

The architecture? The wet market? The Monkey God Temple? The bookshop? The fishball noodle soup?

Join your neighbours and Grey Projects resident writer Jessica Bellamy for a free workshop exploring what makes Tiong Bahru so unique. For ages 16+

Jessica Bellamy is a playwright from Australia currently in residence at Grey Projects week residency, part of which involves offering this workshop for the community (and for fans of Tiong Bahru from outside of the estate).Whether you’re a budding writer, or just interested in a day of creativity, come and engage with your home and your community for a day of writing workshops

When? Sunday 8 December 2013

Where? Tiong Bahru Community Centre

How much? FREE

To express interest and reserve your place, contact jessica@jessicabellamy.com.au

The City that Eats

The City that Eats

Welcome to another week in Singapore, where again, nothing stops.

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…vroom…

Singapore really is the city that never sleeps…not only because there’s so much to do, but because 8 hours of sleeping is 8 hours where you could be eating.

Food is important here…if you haven’t already got that vibe from my previous posts and Tumblr page.

Singapore is also an incredibly vibrant city in which to be an artist, because it feels like there’s always something new and very different happening.

For example, in the last week, I went to:

  • A night of playreadings of Checkpoint Theatre‘s Huzir Sulaiman’s graduate playwriting students, where a group of peers performed each other’s new writing to a warm crowd and, oh yes, a group dinner.
  • The gala night of W!ld Rice’s Jack and the Beansprout, where instead of the normal Australian post-show event of a few nibblies and gallons of wine, the audience was treated to a swanky buffet dinner. Furthermore, the entire cast came out into the foyer in their costumes, to take photos with over-excited audience members (that is, children and visiting Australian playwrights). It was a great opportunity to see how companies like W!ld Rice facilitate post-show conversation and natural networking. (Read my interview with Jack and the Beansprout scribe Joel Tan, here).
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(the goose character makes this face when it is laying eggs. It made sense to all do the same face for this photo. IT DID)

This past week was also the beginning of my series of workshops with writers from Singapore.

Firstly, a workshop for slightly older writers with the aim of forming a support network to create work and learn new generative techniques together. We had a very fun workshop in the Grey Projects library, where the writers were asked to respond to the current exhibition of works in the Grey Projects gallery space.Image

I realised what a special opportunity it is to be a resident writer in an arts space; to find the links between visual art and text, and to see if different forms can complement each other.

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Yang Jie’s “Mechanical Arm” in Grey Projects

To continue my story, I’ll need you to follow me down Kim Tian Road, past the art deco apartments, wind your way along the fringe of the green space, and pass Hua Bee Coffee Shop on your way to my next appointment.Image

Hua Bee has been around since the 1950s, but closed recently due a combination of factors. The spiralling rent in these areas as the hipster value of this suburb hikes up is a major concern for the elderly store owners. But with these challenges has come a strain of creative thinking from the entrepreneurs of Tiong Bahru – the idea of a “two-faced” restaurant has emerged.

By day, Hua Bee is a traditional fishball soup cafe, and by night, a swanky yakitori restaurant named Bincho. Another café down the road, TwoFace, has done just the same: noodles by day, pizza by night. It’s inspiring and a nice human compromise in the face of inevitable development here. The old and the new can live side-by-side.

Keep walking, passing the Resident Centre where I got to watch some senior citizens cut loose to Chinese karaoke songs last week, and make your way to the Tiong Bahru Community Centre, a buzzing open space full of ping pong championships, basketball playoffs, and a community of people sharing a table and that morning’s breaking news. Here is where I’m hosting a workshop for teenage writers called ‘Finding Your Voice’.Image

This workshop is an introduction to dramatic writing with the aim of creating a monologue by the end of the 4 sessions together. Situating the workshop in my current base, Tiong Bahru, has offered us the unique opportunity to respond to our surroundings. For example, a casual “scavenger hunt” in the Tiong Bahru hawker centre has generated some great material for next week’s workshop.

It has been a lot of fun to work with smart and creative people of a variety of ages and to see what sort of work we can create together. I look forward to seeing what our final project looks like.ImageSee you next time to update you on things seen, things written, and obviously, things eaten.

Finding Your Voice

Australian playwright Jessica Bellamy will be leading a 4-session workshop  for young writers  (14-19) exploring writing for the stage in Tiong Bahru this month and next, as part of Tales of Two Cities. (You can read about Jessica’s first impressions of Singapore, here).

What makes you so special? No, really!

The difference between good playwriting and great playwriting often comes down to an authentic voice.

All human beings are so very different, and our writing needs to reflect that. What is unique about the way that you see the world? Are there certain perspectives and ideas that only you are expert in? How do you share this with others?

shabbat

Finding Your Voice is a workshop for young writers led Grey Projects‘ writer in residence by Jessica Bellamy. Over the course of 4 sessions, you will be offered a toolkit to develop your skills in dramatic writing and for tapping into your authentic voice. By the end of this month of workshops, each participant will have written a short monologue for the stage.

The workshop will run from 10.00am – 4.00pm on Saturday 23 November, Sunday 24 November, Saturday 30 November, and Saturday 7 December, culminating in a final sharing of the new work at 5.00pm on Saturday 7 December.

The workshops will take place at Tiong Bahru Community Centre.

We will explore questions like: What is a complex character? How do I structure my story? How do I write a setting that acts like another character? How can I use silence and movement to tell a story? Most importantly, we will be asking the question: why is this the story that only I could write?

The workshop is $40 per participant for all 4 sessions in total.  For more information, contact jessica@jessicabellamy.com.au

Watch Jessica’s short films and an interview with Jess, below:

ABOUT JESSICA

jessJessica Bellamy is a Sydney-based playwright. She holds a Graduate Diploma of Dramatic Art in Playwriting (NIDA) and Bachelor of Arts (Hons)(UNSW) and has been a Griffin Theatre Playwriting Australia Associate Playwright (2011/12). She is the recipient of the 2013 atyp Foundation Commission, writing Compass, and is winner of the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award 2011 for Sprout (Pedro Collective and Tamarama Rock Surfers).

Other plays include: Shabbat Dinner (Tamarama Rock Surfers); Fight or Flight (Canberra Youth Theatre); devised work The Grief Parlour (Clockfire Theatre, True West); devised work LoveNOT (Sipat Lawin Ensemble, Manila); devised work Lovely Ugly (Griffin Theatre); A Fourth of Nature (ACT Department of Education’s School Spectacular, nominated for 2011 Canberra Area Theatre award); as well as short plays for NIDA Open Programme, True West and Bondi Feast Festival.

Jessica’s monologue Little Love is published by Currency Press, and was adapted to a short film Bat Eyes (dir. Damien Power)(Top 10 finalist of YouTube Your Film competition, Venice Film Festival, Zebra Poetry Film Festival (Berlin), Tread Softly Festival (Sligo), Cockatoo Island Film Festival, Dungog Film Festival, Vimeo Staff Pick, Short of the Week).

Jessica has tutored playwriting for atyp, Beyond the Square, and in high schools.