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Take Flight: A Transformative Arts Programme (2017)


Organised by the National Arts Council and supported by the President’s Challenge, Take Flight is a pilot programme conceptualised to introduce music and drama to at-risk youths. From August to September 2017, a team of artists held 10-12 workshop sessions for 15 girls at the Singapore Girls’ Home. Consisting of Music Instructor Lionel Tan from the T’ang Quartet, Assistant Music Instructors Rachel Ho and Mervin Wong, Drama Instructor Jasmin Wong and Assistant Drama Instructor Yelyn Yeo, the team coached the girls in a variety of artistic skills including scriptwriting, songwriting, acting, singing, and even creating sound effects and stage management. The girls worked towards a showcase of their own creation – everything from the script to the sounds was their own work – presented to their family and staff at the Home.

The programme’s emphasis on the autonomy of the girls was pivotal to its transformative impact. By empowering them to make their own creative decisions, it provided them a safe and creative outlet for them to express their emotions and identities, especially in relation to their circumstances. The rigour of the process also built their confidence and relationships with one another, as they committed to new, challenging tasks such as memorising the script, even while studying for exams. Notably, the performance itself was full of character as it showcased the energy, quirks, and personal narratives of the girls. On completion of the programme, their joy and pride at their work was evident. They have also shared that this sense of achievement and realisation of their own ability has motivated them pursue their goals.

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