In 2018, local theatre company Drama Box has created some of the most poignant productions both in and out of the conventional theatre space. From reflections on death to a self-directed return to one’s past, a collaboration with The Necessary Stage to a surprisingly powerful theatrical tour of Chinatown, 2019 will see the company continue to develop some of the themes raised in 2018 through brand new works and even restagings of their past, critically acclaimed pieces.
FLOWERS (May 2019)
Performed in English, FLOWERS is an all new participatory experience from by Drama Box’s Resident Artist Han Xuemei (responsible for last year’s MISSING: The City of Lost Things), FLOWERS looks at the body as a site of control, violence, dignity, protest and hope. Through accounts of gender-based violence, the experience will challenge existing perceptions about gender, and provide a reflective space for dialogue and imaginations of the future.
The Lesson (May 2019)
Drama Box restages their critically acclaimed participatory theatre show as part of the Esplanade’s Feed Your Imagination series next May, targeted at youths and students. Premiering a the Singapore International Festival of the Arts in 2015, The Lesson imagines a new MRT station planned for the estate, but with little space left, something from the past has to be demolished to make way for it. Facilitators then take audiences through a series of activities as they learn about the costs, risks, stakes and sacrifices that come with creating a community, and giving students a chance to vote for themselves, understand that power, and decide for themselves what’s truly worth holding on to.
Chinatown Crossings (June 2019)
Receiving a sold out run of 30 shows in 2018, promenade theatre show Chinatown Crossings (one of our personal favourites of the year) returns in 2019 for a second round. We highly recommend you catch this immersive theatrical tour following the story of Kunalan, an Indian man who grew up in a Chinatown shophouse during the 1960s and 1970s, while we bear witness to the story of his friendship with his childhood friend Ting Ting, his landlady’s feisty daughter, and his relationship with Fong Cheh, a majie who became a surrogate mother to him during his formative years. Through a series of flashbacks and memories brought to life, audiences will get a powerful, evocative performance as they wander through the streets of Kreta Ayer with Kunalan – there’s nothing quite like it.
Both Sides Now, featuring GoLi – The Moving Theatre (July 2019)
Started in 2013, Both Sides, Now is a community engagement project asking questions about what it means to live well, and leave well. The current edition from 2017 will receive a wrap up come 2019, with an art installation in Telok Blangah, where local artists Alecia Neo, Jasmine Ng, Angie Seah and Shirley Soh will showcase works that result from working with the residents. This will be followed by a carnival where Drama Box bring back some of the most impactful works created for the project since 2013, in addition to new performances, talks, activities and the use of the moving theatre GoLi!
Jauh (October 2019)
For the final production of the year, Drama Box is set to premiere a brand new production titled Jauh. Epic in scale, Jauh will be a two part performance co-directed by Drama Box’s Artistic Director Kok Heng Leun alongside theatre practitioners Koh Wan Ching and Adib Kosnan, and examine the themes of dispossession and loss of the indigenous Malays and Orang Seletar of Singapore, where centuries on, the deep sense of loss continues to be felt. The first part will be adapted from Isa Kamari’s novel Duka Tuan Bertakhta by actor/playwright Neo Hai Bin while the second part will be a verbatim play written by prolific Malay playwright Zulfadli ‘Big’ Rashid, with the performance being done in both Mandarin and Malay.
Tickets for various Drama Box productions to be released in due time. For more information and updates, follow their Facebook page here