Centre 42 officially opens with inaugural assembly of aspiring playwrights
Minister Lawrence Wong launches the official opening of the centre
Singapore, 7 July 2014 – The National Arts Council (NAC) is pleased to announce the official opening of Centre 42, Singapore’s first centre dedicated to the documentation, promotion and creation of creative talents and works for Singapore theatre. Developed in collaboration with NAC, the centre commences its operations officially today with the announcement of its first batch of playwrights for its Boiler Room programme, and a suite of exciting public programmes and industry partnerships. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Lawrence Wong, is the Guest-of-Honour for the opening ceremony on 7 July.
2 Says Ms Kathy Lai, NAC’s Chief Executive Officer, “The future of Singapore’s theatre scene depends on our ability to create quality original texts that can be developed into the next landmark production. This is crucial to the growth of the scene, which is consistent with feedback we received from theatre professionals over the past few years. Hence, NAC collaborated with this team on Centre 42, a unique and dedicated centre that looks into the research, documentation and development of such creative talent and works. We hope this new centre and its targeted suite of programmes will not only grow the capabilities of our practitioners, but to also build a stronger appreciation for local theatre amongst all Singaporeans.”
3 Centre 42 has selected 3 playwrights – Daniel Chan, Suzanne Choo and Bryan Tan, for its inaugural run of the Boiler Room programme, following an open call for script in April this year. This is the centre’s main platform to develop new works. A total of 28 applications were received, with more than half of those applications from aspiring playwrights. The selection was made by the Centre 42 team and industry heavyweights such as theatre veteran, Dr KK Seet and Nine Years Theatre’s Nelson Chia. Selected scripts are put through an incubation process of about 7 months, comprising research, construction and writing, and another 3 months of test-reads and trial presentations. The final list of selected playwrights and their bios are included in Annex A.
4 Says Dr Robin Loon, full time senior lecturer at the National University of Singapore and Centre 42’s Chief Consultant overseeing documentation, discourse, and dramaturgical matters, “The Boiler Room is a writing incubation platform that has no purpose other than to produce writing – it is not geared towards production but it is focused on craft, research and imagination. I feel this is a critical factor that should underline content creation.”
Initiatives to engage public and involve industry
5 In addition to the Boiler Room programme, Centre 42 has introduced initiatives that provide other forms of support to artists, to facilitate content creation. For example, the Basement Workshop and Guest Room are initiatives designed to provide independent artists with space to work or conduct sessions and readings with test-audiences. The first Basement Workshop project will be Lim Yu-Beng’s 2 Houses, which is a work commissioned by the 2014 Georgetown Festival to be presented in Penang in August 2014.
6 Centre 42 has also rolled out an innovative range of public outreach programmes. For example, the centre’s Vault programme will document, and feature contemporary responses to a range of past Singaporean works, such as canonical Singapore classics, lesser known pieces, adaptations, cross-cultural and cross-genres works. Its first Vault session will take place in September 2014, showcasing two works by well known Singaporean playwrights, Lim Chor Pee and Goh Poh Seng. In addition, the centre has selected its first batch of Citizens’ Reviews, Centre 42’s broad-based critical writing programme to teach participants how to document their opinions, thoughts and pen their perspectives on the performances or productions they have watched. These programmes aim to help raise public awareness and enhance their participation in Singapore theatre.
7 To further support the industry, the centre actively seeks collaboration and partnership opportunities with practitioners in the arts industry. One of its first partnerships is with The Finger Players’ Watch This Space (Directors’ Cycle), an ongoing developmental platform to groom playwrights and directors. Centre 42 has also established a synergistic partnership with Select Books to create a resource platform for the centre. Select Books can showcase its performing arts-related publications through book sales and public programmes.
8 Details of Centre 42’s full range of programmes can be found in Annex B.