Seeing performances live may be on hold, but theatre certainly isn’t dead. After a stellar new staging of Four Horse Road earlier this year, The Theatre Practice (TTP) is back this July with a brand new edition of M1 Patch! A (Live) Theatre Festival of Play.
Taking place from 18th July to 30th August 2020, M1 Patch! continues to champion the power of play, showcasing a series of programmes where unexpected collaborations and high quality art-making collide to create meaningful exchanges. Out of the eight works, seven will be presented online, allowing the festival to no longer be constrained by physical or geographical boundaries as TTP tackles the digital realm.
Especially during a crisis, theatre serves as a form of community, providing moments of joy through the magic of the arts and collective expression, bringing people together to stave off loneliness with connection and play. Not only does going digital help increase accessibility, but also helps TTP reach a wider pool of international audiences, with live performances and real-time engagement. “Practice has always been guided by a desire to respond to the changing world we currently live in,” explains Artistic Director Kuo Jian Hong. “In times like this, changes are larger, faster and more amplified. Why do we create? What do we want to say? Who are we speaking to? These are all important questions we have been asking ourselves.”
Headlining the festival this year is a brand new work aimed at younger audiences, with Here Comes Kaya and Roti! “Where are our friends?” – a three-episode interactive show series with audience participation and live interactions.
Meanwhile, following on from previous years, M1 Patch! will also present the Play With… series makes staying at home fun through one-of-a-kind experiences. Play with…Skins features costume designer Max Tan leading viewers on an experience with clothing.
Meanwhile Play with…Flavours features mixologist Johnny Rosle (Oriental Elixirs) showcasing his creations and even letting audiences try crafting them.
Finally, Play with…Power is a land-use simulation game allowing audiences to roleplay as Singapore Ministry Officers on Discord/Zoom.
Meanwhile, the Practice Tuckshop takes their signature Recess Time experience online, as they host a lunch party on a chat platform, inviting audiences to “travel” to a different country by chatting with Singaporeans living overseas.
Plus, M1 Patch! will continue encouraging the creation of new work, this time with the intent of experimenting with digital platforms with the return of TTP’s Playwrights’ Bootcamp and Artist Farm. Playwrights’ Bootcamp challenges playwrights to consider how the new medium can affect rehearsals and performance as they craft their works, while the international artists in Artist Farm must find ways to create and communicate effectively in a collaboration process that takes place entirely online.
Finally, the festival’s sole physical programme c o o p is an interactive multi-level outdoor installation located at Practice’s building on 54 Waterloo Street, available from July to play with if you happen to be passing by. “This is new territory so we are still experimenting and learning,” Kuo acknowledges. “So we do what kids do when they play! We go back to the fundamentals and distill everything down to our curiosities.”
M1 Patch! A (Live) Theatre Festival of Play runs from 18th July to 30th August 2020. For more information and full list of programmes, visit their website here