Local theatre company W!ld Rice has just concluded a whirlwind 2019 season at their brand new theatre, and are already gearing up for their 20th anniversary celebrations in 2020. Building on the success of their new performing arts complex in Funan Mall and to commemorate this milestone, the company will present a thrilling season of theatre, as well as launch three new education initiatives to nurture future generations of artists and audiences.
W!ld Rice’s 2020 season kicks off with a series of restagings, including their Life! Theatre Award-winning all-male adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest. This will be followed by Thomas Lim’s Grandmother Tongue and Alfian Sa’at and Marcia Vanderstraaten’s Hotel, a sweeping epic spanning a hundred years as audience members follows the lives of those who come in and out of an age-old hotel in Singapore.
“These internationally acclaimed, award-winning productions represent the pinnacle of what Singapore theatre can achieve,” says Ivan Heng, Founding Artistic Director of W!ld Rice. “We’re thrilled to be bringing these classics home and reimagining them for our intimate new theatre in Funan, where audiences can encounter them anew.”
The company’s year-long programming also features a line-up of premieres that will shine a spotlight on the remarkable art and craft of Singapore’s finest theatre-makers. Under the leadership of director Glen Goei, WILD RICE will boldly re-imagine J.B. Priestley’s iconic psychological thriller, An Inspector Calls – a chilling, thought-provoking twist on the murder mystery genre that explores how power and privilege can corrupt and destroy. In August 2020, the company will also be presenting a series of new plays by
Singapore’s emerging writers, including Lim and other playwrights whose works were selected from an open call issued in early 2019.
“Even as we celebrate the visionary work WILD RICE has done over the years, we are always looking to the future – identifying, developing and nurturing the new voices who we believe will create the theatre of tomorrow,” says Heng. “We are so proud to provide these young talents with the opportunity to learn and grow.”
W!ld Rice’s plans for the future go beyond its artistic programming. With its new performing arts complex situated in a prime location in the heart of Singapore’s civic and cultural district, the company will exponentially expand its education initiatives for children and young people.
Three new initiatives to be set in motion include: Theatre For Young People, an immersive programme that brings students out of school halls and into the theatre with productions created especially for them. This initiative was recently launched with Fair Play, which enabled students to think and talk about gender stereotypes and disparity in their own lives.
In February 2020, the company will launch the W!ld Rice Academy to offer drama classes, workshops and learning opportunities for children from the ages of 5 to 12. This initiative will encourage and enable children to learn through play and theatre-making techniques.
W!ld Rice’s new Singapore Youth Theatre will empower secondary-school students and young people aged 13 to 17 to make and present theatre that speaks to and for their own generation. Participants will gain first-hand experience of how to make theatre – from writing and directing to performing, designing and stage-managing – through master classes and workshops conducted by Singapore’s top theatre-makers.
“I found my own voice as an artist, a playwright and a human being through watching and making theatre,” says Lim, who is also WILD RICE’s Associate Artistic Director for Youth & Education. “Through these hands-on programmes, we aim to give children and young people the same opportunities to look into and outside of themselves – while also finding inspiration, joy in learning, and different perspectives about the world we live in.”