Back in February, when the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning, leading Singaporean theatre companies Pangdemonium!, W!ld Rice and Singapore Repertory Theatre banded together in a show of solidarity by offering discounts to each other’s shows, if audience members held tickets to any one of them. Now, with theatres still shut and the performing arts in difficulty, the three are coming together once again, this time in the form of a new short film – The Pitch.
Starring each theatre company’s artistic directors – Adrian Pang (Pangdemonium!), Ivan Heng (W!ld Rice) and Gaurav Kripalani (Singapore Repertory Theatre), The Pitch is directed by Ken Kwek, and will premiere on 31st August 2020. Aimed to entertain audiences while shining a light on the complex challenges facing arts companies in Singapore during the COVID-19 pandemic; The Pitch sees the three artistic directors playing fictionalised versions of themselves as they navigate creative differences and ego clashes as they try to make art – and make peace – with one another.
Positioning itself as a ‘sharply irreverent satirical comedy’, those familiar with the local theatre scene can also look forward to seeing Charlotte Nors, Tracie Pang and Tony Trickett co-starring in the film; a rare opportunity considering how their usual roles are managerial or directorial, rather than as actors. Marking itself as the first collaboration between all three companies, the effort grew from how they’ve continued to support one another over the months, offering support and advice to one another in managing the fallout from COVID-19.
“This project is a demonstration of solidarity between our three companies,” says Adrian Pang, who co-wrote the script alongside Ken Kwek. “The Pitch may have its tongue firmly in cheek, but its heart reflects the resilience of our theatre community. If there’s one good thing that comes out of all this, it’s our shared determination to work together to keep engaging and inspiring people.”
“We are three very different theatre companies, but the pandemic has brought us together in our first co-production,” says Ivan Heng. “We had enormous fun making The Pitch together. We hope it will lift our audiences’ spirits, while raising awareness of what our theatre industry is going through at this time.”
Audiences are also invited to join the three artistic director for a live, in-depth virtual conversation on 7th September (Monday) at 9pm. Moderated by actor and former Arts NMP Janice Koh, this no-holds-barred dialogue session will touch on the creative process behind The Pitch, as well as bigger issues such as the future of live theatre and the performing arts in Singapore.
All three companies are also keen to raise awareness of the financial challenges currently facing artists and arts organisations across Singapore. While The Pitch can be enjoyed online for free, the three companies are appealing to audiences to help them survive the COVID-19 crisis.
“Our entire industry is suffering, on a scale unlike anything we’ve experienced before,” says Kripalani, Artistic Director of SRT. “We have had practically no income since theatres closed at the beginning of the year. This has critically impaired our ability to keep paying our staff, to offer employment opportunities to our freelance colleagues in the theatre community, and to plan for the future.”
Watch The Pitch for free when it premieres online on 31st August 2020 here. Donations of any amount can be made through Ray Of Hope. All proceeds will be split equally between the three companies, and will go directly towards supporting the work, education programmes and outreach initiatives of Pangdemonium!, SRT and W!ld Rice.