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FIVE — Digital Programme Zoom & Esplanade Theatre Studio | 12–14 November 2020

Director’s Note

How readily our thoughts swarm upon a new object, lifting it a little way, as ants carry a blade of straw so feverishly, and then leave it....

- from The Mark on the Wall by Virginia Woolf

FIVE is inspired by the actors’ original works which they developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and by Virginia Woolf’s The Mark on the Wall. You will see five actors with their heart and soul, telling stories that are very closely linked to their lives and who they are.

With FIVE, we wanted to explore the experiences of solitude and separation, and ask these questions: How does it feel to be cut off from regular human contact? What happens to a mind and body which can only connect with others virtually? What does it mean to be an artist in this “new” world?

Many thanks to Chng Xin Xuan, Genevieve Peck, Guo Ningru, Lim Chin Huat, Simon Stollery, Clarisse Ng, Vivi Agustina, Marilyn Chew, Stev.e Kwek, Raymond Goei, Jeannette Chong, Tan Wei Ting, Looi Wan Ping, Chen Junbin, Elaine Chan, Yap Seok Hui and ARTFACTORY for coming on board to help shape and make this work. Thank you Sasi and ITI for inviting me to work with these committed actors. Most importantly, thank you to Kyongsu, Aki, Prajith, Ramith and Rhian for sharing your stories, inspiring new insights and breathing life into FIVE.

Thank you for watching the show! Enjoy!

- Kok Heng Leun

Credits

  • Director, Devising Playwright and Set Designer: Kok Heng Leun
  • Assistant Director: Chng Xin Xuan
  • Cast: Kyongsu Kathy Han, Li-chuan Lin (a.k.a. Aki), Prajith K Prasad, Ramith Ramesh, Rhian Hiew Khai Chin
  • Video and Lighting Designer: Genevieve Peck
  • Sound Designer: Guo Ningru
  • Costume Coordinator and Movement Coach: Lim Chin Huat
  • Voice Coach: Simon Stollery

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  • Production Manager: Clarisse Ng
  • Technical Manager: Yap Seok Hui
  • Stage Manager: Vivi Agustina
  • Assistant Stage Manager and Zoom Operator: Marilyn Chew
  • Video Operator: Stev.e Kwek
  • Sound Assistant: Raymond Goei
  • Surtitle Operator: Jeannette Chong
  • Livestream: ARTFACTORY

Production team for the video Smallness:

  • Director & Editor: Tan Wei Ting
  • Cinematographer: Looi Wan Ping
  • Colourist: Chen Junbin

For the song Mack The Knife:

  • Singing Coach and Music Arranger: Elaine Chan

Acknowledgements: Drama Box, Haryatun Suparno, Adib Kosnan, Jing Ng, GroundZ-0, ArtsWok Collaborative, Vignesh Singh

ITI students work as a professional company in their third year, and undertake ticketed public performances. These Final Year Productions are an integral part of the ITI curriculum.

Cast

Kyongsu Kathy Han

Email: kyongsu.kathy.han@gmail.com

Kyongsu Kathy Han is a versatile performer-practitioner. She is classically trained in ballet and holds a BA (Hons) in Acting from LASALLE College of the Arts.

Her body of work includes theatre for young audiences, musicals, opera, dance and film. She has worked with local companies such as Cake Theatrical Productions and The Finger Players. She made her directorial debut in 2018 with Dialogues des Carmelites, and has choreographed for New Opera Singapore. International collaborations include The Revolutionary Model Play 2.0 (Théatre du Rêve Expérimental / Singapore International Festival of the Arts 2015) directed by Wang Chong from Beijing, China.

Being multiracial and trilingual, Kyongsu has always been drawn to complexities, specifically in theatre. To further expand as a multidisciplinary artist, she trains in the martial art Ninjutsu at Bujinkan Ryuko Dojo, and in Odissi at Chowk.

When not on stage, Kyongsu teaches. She has coached dance and theatre in various schools such as Soul of Art Academy, and most recently the theatre club of Temasek Hall at National University of Singapore.

Kyongsu is a recipient of the Tan Chay Bing Education Fund Scholarship and a beneficiary of the Möbius Fund, which provides loans for actor-students.

"The most important thing I learned is that difference isn’t just an inconvenience, but an exciting opportunity for deeper understanding, creativity and change."

Li-chuan Lin (a.k.a. Aki)

Email: lichuan.aki@gmail.com

Aki is from Pingtung, Taiwan. Her theatre experience includes the role of Jill in Equus (Spring Wind Theatre), Min-min in A World that is Ignored《看不見的視界》(68 Theatre), and theatre for children with Happy Bird Story Theatre. She also worked as a primary school art and theatre teacher before coming to ITI.

Aki’s artistic journey began at a young age when she learned to play the piano and paint, inspired by the artistic interests of her grandmothers and her mother. She holds a Bachelor of Social Science in Multicultural and Linguistic Studies from Tamkang University.

In the future, Aki hopes to work as an actor and arts educator, and bring the arts to every corner of the country.

"If we can survive and overcome the ordeals we faced, then I believe we can be like phoenixes that are reborn from the fire."

Prajith K Prasad

Email: prajithkprasad@gmail.com

Prajith K Prasad is from Trivandrum, Kerala. He began doing theatre, music and dance while in school, and has worked as an actor with Abhinaya Theatre Research Centre (India), Moon Fool (UK) and MA Company (Germany). He has also participated in several theatre festivals in India, including the International Theatre Festival of Kerala and Soorya Theatre Festival.

Prajith trained under Anna-Helena McLean (Gardzienice, Poland) and Ando Tomoko (ARICA, Japan), and was a participant in Play Practice international dance residency (Bangalore, India). He holds a BA in English Literature from Kerala University.

Prajith is a beneficiary of the Möbius Fund.

"Be ready to be broken into smithereens, and if you are open to that, you will have a lot of fun."

Ramith Ramesh

Email: ramithkalamandalam@gmail.com

Ramith Ramesh is a Kutiyattam practitioner, theatre actor, drummer and poet from Kerala. He has been active in the arts for 17 years.

From 2008 to 2016, Ramith trained at Kerala Kalamandalam, studying up to undergraduate level in Kutiyattam, Chakyarkoothu and Sanskrit under renowned master teachers such as Padmasree Sivan Namboodiri and Guru Rama Chakyar.

His theatre experience includes work with Ariane Mnouchkine in 2016. He has also worked on two short films as assistant director. To hone his skills as a performer and further his training in traditional and contemporary theatre, Ramith decided to come to ITI.

As a Kutiyattam and Chakyarkoothu performer, Ramith has presented over 250 performances across India, France and Singapore, including at major national festivals such as Nila Dance and Music Festival, Shimoga Festival, Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy Festival, Parinithy Festival and Yoga Parv. He has taught Kutiyattam in several theatre companies in India, and has been a judge on the panel for Kerala’s state arts festivals for five years.

Ramith’s awards include the Achutha Kurup Endowment for being the top Kutiyattam student at Kerala Kalamandalam (2012–2013) and the title of Natyasri for his dedication in promoting Kutiyattam (2017), as well as national awards Natya Sreshta Puraskar and Natwar Gopalakrishna (2017).

Ramith is a recipient of a scholarship sponsored by a private philanthropist and a beneficiary of the Möbius Fund.

"If you are willing to be open to your own hidden possibilities, if you are ready to explore, if you wish to be exposed to different perspectives, just go for it."

Rhian Hiew Khai Chin

Email: rhianme123@gmail.com

Rhian Hiew Khai Chin is an actor from Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. She performed in Pitapat Theatre’s production An Enemy of the People.At the Moment in 2015, and collaborated with ITI alumni on Pitapat Theatre’s site-specific production Theatre in Hotel in 2019, where she performed her original work, The One When He Was Late.

In 2019, Rhian facilitated improvisation workshops with Kasing Sining theatre group in the Philippines and Aaakar theatre group in Allahabad, India.

After graduation, Rhian plans to work in community theatre in Sabah and collaborate regionally with her cohort and other ITI alumni. She also plans to continue her own training and research as a performer and theatre-maker.

Rhian is a recipient of the Tan Chay Bing Education Fund Scholarship and a beneficiary of the Möbius Fund.

"This is the place where you can fully peel off yourself, a golden place that allows you to fail — fail beautifully, to dig into your roots, look deeper into yourself and your work."

Cast portrait photos by Bernie Ng.

FIVE Rehearsals

Creative Team

Kok Heng Leun — Director, Devising Playwright and Set Designer

Kok Heng Leun is a prominent figure in the Singapore arts scene, having built his artistic career as a theatre director, playwright, dramaturg and educator. He is the Artistic Director of Drama Box and is known for engaging the community on various issues through the arts, championing civic discourse across different segments of society.

Having begun his work in theatre almost 30 years ago, some notable directorial works include Drift, Trick or Threat, Manifesto and Underclass. His explorations with multi-disciplinary engaged arts has produced works like Project Mending Sky (2008, 2009 and 2012), a series on environmental issues, Both Sides, Now (2013, 2014 and 2017-2019), a project that seeks to normalise end-of-life conversations, and It Won't Be Too Long, which touched on the dynamics of space in Singapore. His most recent work Tanah•Air 水•土:A Play In Two Parts was about the dispossession of the indigenous Malays and Orang Seletar of Singapore.

Heng Leun's contributions to the arts have landed him awards from the National Arts Council — the Young Artist Award in 2000 and a Cultural Fellowship in 2014.

Chng Xin Xuan — Assistant Director

Xin Xuan is a theatre practitioner, having first received her professional training from the BA(Hons) Acting programme at LASALLE in 2014. Her various roles include actress, mover, assistant, collaborator, director, educator and surtitle operator.

She last performed onstage in Tanah•Air 水•土:A Play In Two Parts by Drama Box and is currently working on Inak Fly as part of Esplanade’s PLAYlab series. Xin Xuan is also a founding member of the collective Go-Go Girls, which uses devising as a framework for creating new works.

She is grateful and humbled to be part of FIVE and hopes the show will bring about some sort of understanding that moves us all in these difficult times.

Genevieve Peck — Video and Lighting Designer

Genevieve graduated from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London in 2012 with a BA(Hons) in Theatre Practice, specialising in Lighting and Projection/Video Design.

Design credits include Tango, The Effect (Pangdemonium), Four Horse Road, I came at last to the seas, Lao Jiu in 2017, Liao Zhai Rocks! in 2016, If There’re Seasons in 2014 (The Theatre Practice), Lear is Dead, Art Studio (Nine Years Theatre), Both Sides Now in 2019, Missing, sixpointnine, The Silly Little Girl and the Funny Old Tree (Drama Box), Prism (Toy Factory), A $ingapore Carol (Wild Rice), The Lifespan of a Fact, Red Riding Hood (Singapore Repertory Theatre), I am trying to say something true (Esplanade), Forever Young, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (Sing’Theatre), ASEAN Para Games 2015 Opening and Closing Ceremonies (Philbeat Pte Ltd), Kit Chan Spellbound Concert (Banshee Empire), Sides in 2016 (Frontier Danceland), from: The Platform (Chowk Productions), The Musical Canvas (Ding Yi Music Company) and You Are Here (Pooja Nansi).

genpeck.myportfolio.com

Guo Ningru — Sound Designer

Guo Ningru (Ning) recently returned to Singapore after graduating with an MFA in Sound Design from the University of California, Irvine (UCI). She was a recipient of the NAC Arts Scholarship from the National Arts Council in 2016. Over the past decade, Ning has designed sound for numerous plays and musicals in Singapore and the local region. She especially enjoys exploring immersive spatial audio for theatrical performances. Her Masters thesis, "Going Immersive — Spatial Audio for Theatre", details the current technologies and methods in spatial audio for sound designers to utilise in theatrical performances. She is looking forward to bringing immersive sound closer to audiences with this performance.

Her recent works include composition for The Importance of Being Earnest (UCI) and sound design for The Gingerbread Man (Singapore Repertory Theatre), The Pajama Game (UCI) and Mrs Packard (UCI).

Ning is also committed to educating and influencing the younger generation of sound designers in Singapore, as well as developing the awareness of and appreciation for sound design in the local community.

Ningsounddesign.com

Lim Chin Huat — Costume Coordinator and Movement Coach

Lim Chin Huat is a cross-disciplinary artist who has over two decades of experience as a visual artist, performer, dancer, choreographer, costume designer, facilitator and educator. In particular, he is known for his stunning visual creative works which are cross-disciplinary, site-specific, outreach and non-conventional in nature. Chin Huat has worked with Toy Factory Theatre Ensemble (1990-1996), and later, as co-founder and artistic director of ECNAD (1996-2013). He is a faculty member teaching Movement at ITI.

A prolific creator, he has more than 70 works to his credit, mainly full-length dance, since 1993. Some of his signature and collaborative works were seen and presented at the Singapore Arts Festival, Belgrade International Theatre Festival, Vienna Arts Festival’s Asia Village, Festival of Asia (New Zealand), Asia Interaction (Indonesia), Actor Studio (Kuala Lumpur), Chaoyang Cultural Centre (Beijing), Esplanade Raw Series, Gardens by The Bay Opening, Mercedes-Benz Asia Fashion Award, Artwine Festival, Singapore River Festival, MediaCorp Star Awards and the Asian Civilisations Museum. Chin Huat is a recipient of the Young Artist Award (2000) and a nominee for the Spirit of Enterprise Award (2004).

Simon Stollery — Voice Coach

Simon is a vocational trainer of actors in the field of Voice and Speech with over 2​0​ years of experience. He is a faculty member at ITI for Voice and Speech, and a certified Master Trainer of Estill Voice Training, an internationally recognised training qualification.

Simon has taught at many of the major actor training organisations in Australia, among them the National Institute of Dramatic Art, the Actors College of Theatre & Television (now AFTT) and the Australian Academy of Dramatic Art (now AIM). Prior to ITI, he was the Lecturer for Voice and Speech at Adelaide College of the Arts. Simon has also served as a Voice and Dialect coach for the State Theatre Company of South Australia and the Australian film industry. In 2017, Simon was the resident Voice and Dialect Coach for the Adelaide and Auckland seasons of Matilda the Musical by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Tan Wei Ting — Filmmaker

Tan Wei Ting was first trained in storytelling in theatre under the youth wing of Drama Box. It was in film school that she discovered the wonders of filmmaking. Her directorial debut short film CA$H was selected for International Competition at the 41st Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France, and has since travelled to different parts of the world, including Italy, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Some other shorts she has worked on in other capacities include Passenger (writer and editor) and The Longest-Distance Relationship (producer), which won Best Jury Award and Best Documentary respectively at the 6th Singapore Short Films Award, My Father After Dinner (editor), which won Best Singapore Short Film at the 26th Singapore International Film Festival’s Silver Screen Awards, VOTE (screenwriter) which won Best Screenplay at the 3rd cINE65 short film competition, and Still Is Time (editor), which was selected for competition at the 37th Uppsala International Short Film Festival in Sweden. She also edited Drive, a web series that was selected for Series Mania International Festival 2019, one of the biggest international festivals dedicated to series storytelling.

About ITI

Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI), based in Singapore, is a three-year, practice-based, professional actor training programme founded on a rigorous, intercultural learning methodology with a view to producing original, contemporary theatre.

The school began as the Theatre Training & Research Programme (TTRP), founded in 2000 by renowned dramatist Kuo Pao Kun (1939–2002) and current Director T. Sasitharan — both Cultural Medallion recipients. It is shaped by Kuo Pao Kun’s vision of intercultural learning that draws from a matrix of traditional theatre systems and modern theatre-making.

ITI’s distinguished alumni include Yeo Yann Yann, winner of two Golden Horse Awards for her performances in Wet Season and Ilo Ilo and International Emmy Award nominee for her role in Invisible Stories; Peter Sau, recipient of the 2011 Young Artist Award and several Life! Theatre Awards; Felimon Blanco, recipient of the 2013 Most Outstanding Zambosurian Award (Philippines); and Sankar Venkateswaran, recipient of the 2019 Shankar Nag Theatre Award, presented to theatre all-rounders under the age of 40 who embody the spirit of service to theatre in India.

Intercultural Theatre Institute is a recipient of the National Arts Council's Major Grant for the period from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2021.

Board of Directors

Chairman

  • Mr Arun Mahizhnan (Special Research Adviser, Institute of Policy Studies)

Members

  • Dr Kwok Kian Woon (Associate Provost (Student Life), Nanyang Technological University)
  • Mr Chew Kheng Chuan (Independent consultant in philanthropy)
  • Mr Tan Tarn How (Playwright; Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Policy Studies)
  • Ms Winifred Loh (Director, LeadForte Consulting)
  • Dr Nazry Bahrawi (Senior Lecturer, Singapore University of Technology and Design)

Academic Board 2020–2023

  • Prof Erik Ehn (Visiting Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance, University of New Mexico)
  • Dr Quah Sy Ren (Associate Professor, School of Humanities, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
  • Dr Frances Barbe (Senior Lecturer & Course Coordinator — Bachelor of Performing Arts, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts)

Examination Board 2020–2023

  • Mr Aarne Neeme, AM Order of Australia (Director and educator)
  • Dr Paul Rae (Associate Professor, Head of English and Theatre Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne)
  • Mr Noushad Mohamed Kunju (Director, actor and educator; Associate Professor, Department of Theatre Arts, Sarojini Naidu School of Arts & Communication, University of Hyderabad)
  • Mr Peter Sau (Director, actor and educator)
  • Mr Nelson Chia (Artistic Director, Nine Years Theatre, Singapore)

...

Final Year Productions 2014–2020

Support ITI

I was trained to be not only a good actor but also a better person. So to those who want to make a difference, please consider supporting a student in ITI and we will make this world a better place using the arts.

- Denise Mordeno Aguilar ‘14, Secretary, National Committee on Dramatic Arts (Philippines) and recipient of the Lambago Art Award

...

ITI is an independent theatre school founded on the belief that theatre has little meaning if it is not connected to life and society. Through the years, ITI has developed critically and socially engaged artists who are capable of working across cultural, linguistic, social and national boundaries, and who have contributed meaningfully to their cultures and communities.

ITI is a registered charity and an approved Institution of Public Character (IPC), and more than 60% of its income has to come from fundraising. Donations to ITI are eligible for 250% tax exemption and dollar-to-dollar matching by the government’s Cultural Matching Fund.

Your donations will make a critical difference and support ITI in its seminal work.

Friends of ITI

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Principal Donor

  • Stephen Riady

Grant-makers

  • Lee Foundation
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Corporate Supporters

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ITI Angels Initiative

  • Tommy Koh
  • Alan Chan
  • Alvin Lin
  • Annabelle Yip
  • Arun Mahizhnan
  • Benson Puah
  • Charlotte & Yew Lin Goh
  • Chew Kheng Chuan
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  • William & Judith Bollinger
  • And other Angels who wish to remain anonymous

ITI Angels Initiative has also received contributions from Nicholas Goh and Wang Gungwu

FIVE is presented as part of #SGCultureAnywhere, supported through the Digital Presentation Grant by the National Arts Council.