Welcome to SCENES!
This is a special and humbling way to mark the 30th anniversary of Drama Box’s journey. Throughout the years, Drama Box has accumulated experience in creating participatory encounters in various places with diverse communities. We are familiar with participation that invites gathering, that harnesses the transformative energy of live presence and shared solidarity. However, now that physical, live gatherings have become uncertain, we find ourselves contemplating what it means for the arts to be present in times like this, and equally important, in times after this.
To us, the spirit of art is to persist in being present and walking alongside. Regardless of the times and distance, we want to continue to participate in society — to articulate and question the realities we live in, to inspire imagination and alternative possibilities.
As our recurring platform for (un/re)learning, SCENES: Participatory Practices has been reimagined as a space for us to experiment with how we can participate across physical distance, continue to activate our sense of empathy and imagination, create intimacy and solidarity and be critically engaged with society.
As “digitalisation” increasingly becomes a widely used approach around us, we want to understand more about its possibilities and limitations, and experiment with how we can still create meaningful participation using digital tools. At the same time, we recognise that “digitalisation” is not the only way to overcome physical distance. What are other methods that we can creatively adapt to support meaningful participation across physical distance?
All of these questions inform our experiment. We wish for this experiment to be relevant to both artists and audiences. This is an exercise, a rehearsal that all of us partake in to practise being involved and engaged in a critical, creative, and hopeful way. Over a period of 7 days, situated in both the online and offline worlds, local and international theatre and performance makers reimagine different formats for participatory performances and workshops. They invite the audience / public to co-create personal and social experiences through various artistic mediums. Alongside these programmes, conversations open up spaces for reflections and discourse about arts and participation.
We borrow the term "shared solitudes" that our friend JK Anicoche (from Komunidad X) used, as a way to both understand the circumstances we are in right now, as well as imagine the relationships we can try to build. We don't know for how long we will remain in the current situation of physical distancing, and we also don't know how this will change our society. While we cannot predict the future, while this entire experiment may fail, we remain hopeful that what we make of our experience now will nourish and sustain us spiritually and emotionally, and what we will (un/re)learn from this will inform our practices when we can assemble again.
SCENES: Participatory Practices is organised by Drama Box, a socially-engaged theatre company known for creating works that inspire dialogue/reflection/change. Founded in 1990, Drama Box believes in shining a spotlight on marginalised narratives and making space for the communal contemplation of complex issues – to tell stories that provide provoke a deeper understanding of Singapore's culture/history/identity.
Drama Box is a charity and Institution of Public Character (IPC) registered in Singapore, supported by the National Arts Council under the Major Company Scheme for the period of April 2020 to March 2023.
Join Drama Box’s mailing list, to be updated on the latest arts events/happenings that you can participate in.
Drama Box is 30 years old! What a privilege and a blessing it is, for a theatre company in Singapore to have come this far!
We couldn’t have done it without you – our big-hearted partners, generous donors, fabulous volunteers, and lovely audiences, for being with us every step of the way, celebrating with us during our highs and carrying us through our lows.
Here is a special shout-out to the organisations who have been here with and for us through the years:
96.3 Hao FM
Ang Chin Moh Foundation
Bukit Ho Swee Court RC
Chinatown Business Association
Chinatown Complex Hawkers' Association
Chinatown Heritage Centre
Chinese Language Culture Fund
Condec Interior Construction
Cundhi Gong Temple
Forest & Whale
Goh Seng Lai Company
Hawkers’ Association of Beo Crescent Market
Hong Leong Foundation
Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple
Ministry of Health
Pek Sin Choon
National Arts Council
Singapore Heritage Society
Singapore Tourism Board
Tai Tong Ah Company
The Printing Post
The Salvation Army – Family Support Services At Beo Crescent
The Straits Times
Tung Ling Community Services
The pandemic has affected many sectors adversely – the arts being one of the worst hit. We would be grateful if you could support Drama Box to help see us through this time, so we can continue to share our socially engaged arts with the community and beyond. Thank you!
Artistic DirectorHan Xuemei
Assistant Artistic DirectorsKok Heng Leun
Chng Yi Kai
Koh Hui Ling
Consulting Creative TechnologistHe Yin
Web UX DesignerTeo Yu Siang
Web DeveloperWong Hui Wen
Web CopywriterWong Wai Ling
Visual Designer (Show Platform)Peck Jing-Yi, Genevieve
Video Programmer (Show Platform)He Yin
Production CoordinatorsLam Dan Fong
Ng Siaw Hui
Technical OperatorDayton Ng
Marketing & PublicityLim Ailing
Graphic Design (Marketing)Semistudio
Telegram Ninja (Marketing)Teo Pei Si
Ticketing & Front-of-houseKhaw Han Chung (Manager)
Kok Ann, Kayden (Volunteer)
Liew Jia Yi (Volunteer)
Kho Yong Xiang, Shane (Volunteer)
Lim Ci Xuan (Volunteer)
Tang Hui Shi (Volunteer)
Biyu Ng (Volunteer)
Lu Kee Hong (Volunteer)
Chiang Yi Ping (Volunteer)
Teoh Jie Yu (Volunteer)
Lee Pei Qin (Volunteer)
And all other volunteers who have given us their time and dedication.
ExperiencesThe Lesson - An Online Experiment (Singapore)
Kok Heng Leun (Artist & Facilitator)
Chong Gua Khee (Co-Facilitator)
Chong Ja Ian (Panelist)
Lim Jingzhou (Panelist)
See Kian Wee (Photographer and Photo Story Designer)
Special thanks to The Projector, Liew Jia Yi, Padma Sagaram, Tim Nga and Timothy Wan.
The Little Old Cooking Club That Could (Australia-Singapore)
Jamie Lewis (Artist)
Woo Hsia Ling (Producer)
Ng Sze Min (Sound Artist)
Alex Walker / House of Muchness (Consultant)
Keira Lee (Producer's Assistant)
Michael Lewis (Host)
Jojo Honey Randall (Australia)
Mary-Lou Howie (Australia)
Alexis Phua (Singapore)
Michael Lewis (Singapore)
Padma Krishnan (Singapore)
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
KXMOBA (The Philippines)
JK Anicoche (Artist)
Io Balanon (Artist)
Brian Bango (Artist)
Sigmund Roy Pecho (Artist)
Adrienne Vergara (Artist)
Kirby Vicente (Artist)
Aaron Garcia (Collaborating Artist in Singapore)
anGie Seah (Artist Facilitator)
Rant with Kumar
Kumar (Artist Facilitator)
Myra Loke (Artist Facilitator)
Healing with Humour
Gwee Li Sui (Artist Facilitator)
Acts and Antidotes for Surviving Eclipses, Peculiar Habitats and Contradictory Certainties
Zarina Muhammad (Artist Facilitator)
Norhaizad Adam (Artist Facilitator)
Hasyimah Harith (Artist Facilitator)
ConversationsGathering Apart: Making Participatory Art in A Physically-distanced World
Han Xuemei (Speaker)
Jamie Lewis (Speaker)
JK Anicoche (Speaker)
Chng Yi Kai (Moderator)
Being A Part of Gathering: Reflections from SCENES Participants
Chng Yi Kai (Moderator)
Han Xuemei (Moderator)
Drama Box would like to express our utmost gratitude to every individual donor who gave whatever they could to support us, enabling us to continue bringing quality works to more people.
Official Tea Partner
Thank you for visiting us on your mobile device. We would like to invite you to switch over to a laptop/desktop to join us.
As SCENES: Participatory Practices was first conceptualised as a physical event, we had little time to adapt to the online platform. However, we did not want to give up on meeting with you through our socially engaged arts. With the constraints at hand, we decided to focus on developing our website for the laptop/desktop, so as to provide a better participatory experience.
We look forward to you joining us (on your laptop/desktop)!