WEEKEND PANEL: Classrooms & Black Boxes: Theatre Education & Future of Singapore Theatre

Date: 4 April 2015, 2pm Saturday
Venue: Screening room at The Arts House

In just over 25 years, Singapore has seen the increase of theatre studies programmes, alongside the establishment of different accredited theatre arts qualifications from various institutions. How has this contributed to Singapore’s theatre scene? Do the different curriculums prepare graduates for real practice and is the state of our current industry able to support future practitioners?

An open discussion about the aims and challenges of Singapore’s local theatre scene. The panel is chaired by Charlene Rajendran (NIE), with Kenneth Kwok, Director of Arts and Youth (NAC), Sean Tobin, Head, Faculty of Theatre, School of the Arts, Singapore, Edith Podesta, Faculty of Performing Arts, LASALLE College of the Arts, Tan Liting, Director and Theatre Educator, and Chong Tze Chien, Director and Playwright of The Finger Players 十指帮 and Curator of the Esplanade Presents The Studios: fifty.

Admission is free but due to limited seating, booking is essential. Please register here.



Chong Tze Chien is an award-winning and published playwright/director in Singapore. Some of the awards he has won include the Singapore Dramatist Award and The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards. He has two play collections published, containing critically acclaimed plays such as Charged (Best Script, Life! Theatre Awards) and PIE (Singapore Dramatist Awards). Other notable plays directed and written by Tze Chien include Turn By Turn We Turn (Life! Theatre Awards: Production of the Year & Best Director), Poop!, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Life! Theatre Awards: Best Director), The Book of Living and Dying (Singapore Arts Festival 2012), Rant & Rave (as part of Esplanade’s 10th anniversary), and SEED (Asian Performing Arts Festival, Tokyo). For his contributions to Singapore Theatre, he was awarded the Young Artist Award by the Singapore’s National Arts Council in 2006.


Kenneth has served with the Ministry of Education as a school teacher, Vice-Principal and Assistant Director of Curriculum Policy and Planning, receiving the national Outstanding Youth in Education Award as a young teacher in 2002 for his efforts in promoting drama education. He completed his Ed.M. in Arts in Education in 2007 and is currently Director of Arts & Youth at the National Arts Council of Singapore. He has taught Educational Drama at the National Institute of Education and has also been involved in various community arts programmes over the years with groups such as the Singapore Drama Educators Association.


Edith Podesta is an actor, theatre maker and performance lecturer based in Singapore. In 2014 she was awarded Best Actress at the Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards for her role in Cake Theatrical Productions ILLOGIC, directed by Natalie Hennedige.

Edith is currently Programme Leader of the BA (Hons) Acting programme at LASALLE College of the Arts. She has also lectured at School of the Arts (SOTA), Theatre Training and Research Programme (​TTRP), National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Sydney Conservatorium of Music and University of Technology Sydney (UTS). She has facilitated workshops for Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay , Celebrate Drama! @The Arts House, Singapore Drama Educators Association, and Australian Theatre of the Deaf (ATOD). In 2012 she collaborated with the National Arts Council (NAC) to deliver the Artist Special Education (SPED) School Partnership Programme at St Andrew’s Autism School.


Liting works full time as a theatre practitioner with an interest in devising performance from personal stories. Liting’s past directorial credits include the devised works Taking The Subs (The Substation Director’s Lab), The Eulogy Project I: Muah Chee Mei and I (Potluck Productions), (When I’m) Sixty Four (Ageless Theatre), Re: Almost Left Behind (Singapore Arts Festival 2011), Almost Left Behind (NUS Thespis). Liting teaches drama in schools, and has trained her students in both performance and backstage work, in the hopes of providing a more balanced theatre and drama experience. Liting is also a founding member of Theatre Cell, a collective that was started to provide platforms for theatre jamming and training without the pressure of putting on a production.


Sean Tobin is a Singapore-based Theatre-Maker, Festival Director and Educator from Australia. He directs, writes, and performs for the stage, and is a speaker and consultant in theatre and education.

Since 2009, Sean has been Head of the Theatre Faculty at School of the Arts, Singapore and he is also currently the Artistic Director of M1 Singapore Fringe Festival.

Sean’s more recent Directing credits include Marco Polo with Theatreworks (2014), and independent work such as The Perfection of 10 (2012), Tongues (2012) and What Did You Learn Today? (2011). Sean also directed a range of works with The Necessary Stage between 2001 and 2004, when he was their Associate Artistic Director.

Sean performs here and there, sometimes even appearing in his own directorial work. He recently performed in Eleanor Wong’s Initial Conditions, directed by Natalie Hennedige (2015) and in Decimal Points : First Station (2013), directed by Phillip Tan (2013), both by Cake Theatrical Productions. Sean also acted in Anya Reiss’ The Acid Test by Buds Theatre (2012) and has dabbled in the odd bit of film and television work, time to time.


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