Celebrate Drama! 2016 was featured in Berita Harian’s Gah! column which features Lifestyle, Arts and Entertainment news.
Drama helps youths shift their perspectives and evoke emotions
Celebrate Drama! 2016 festival features a variety of youth produced performances
by Nurmaya Alias
During a conversation with a youth suffering from mental illness, student Lidya Kamila Radzaly, 17 years old, learnt about the challenges patients face in getting medical treatment.
This discussion became the inspiration for a community theatre project titled Stigma, which explores the challenges and stigma that youths living with mental illness face.
A group of eight youths, including Lydia and her friends from Singapore Polytechnic’s Diploma in Applied Drama and Psychology Programme, will be performing in the performance in conjunction with youth and community festival, Celebrate Drama! 2016.
The event is a biennale community drama festival, produced by youths for youths, organised by Singapore Drama Educators Association (SDEA).
Happening on 15 to 16 July at The Arts House, it aims to attract youths between the ages of 13 to 21 who have experience in drama and those new to it.
In its ninth year, the community drama festival features 10 workshops and performances.
The performances and drama projects are created, performed and managed by youths along the theme of ‘Celebrating Diversity’.
For the first time, the festival will be organising an open house featuring Singapore theatre – Theatre Open House.
The open house is free admission and offers youths the chance to discover new opportunities and a career in the arts and theatre. Various workshop with theatre practitioners will also take place.
Commenting on this year’s festival, the Programming Head of the Celebrate Drama! 2016 festival, Miss Mia Tiara Nurhidayah, 31 years old, also a teacher, said:
“We want youths to discover themselves through drama with this festival. Youths today are busy almost everyday. We hope the workshops offered at the festival would give them the change to think and do some self-reflection.”
She continued: ” Drama is thought of as a powerful tool which can help youths shift their perspectives and evoke emotions.”
ForLydia, the performance of Stigma is based on true stories.
“Through the process of script writing and rehearsals, it gave youths that are involved the chance to share their feelings about the challenges that people living with mental illness face,” said Lydia.
Stigma will be staged this coming 15 July.
Muhammad Irsyad Dawood, 17 years old, a student in the International Baccalaureate (IBCP) Career track at School of the Arts (SOTA) also created a drama project for Celebrate Drama! 2016.
Muhammad Irsyad will be performing in Per Rabbit Heart together with his friend Tejas Hirah, who is also from SOTA.
Per Rabbit Heart will be performed together with two other performances – Penguin and Good Morning, Ms Chan – this 16th July.
Muhammad Irsyad said that the performance will feature 3 stories which explore interactions between two humans, one of which is between a homeless guy and an office worker.
“We will be performing physical theatre. The idea came about because we wanted to explore how two people from different backgrounds will relate to one another, ” revealed Muhammad Irsyad.
Exposing youths to folktales
Casual conversation with youths made a teacher, Ms. Mia Tiara Nurhidayah, 31 years old, become aware that many of today’s youth do not know the folktales of Singapore and are more familiar with Western fairytales.
Thus, this compelled members of MOE’s Community of Practice for Drama to stage the performance of #Legendretold about the folklore The Legend of Red Hill about two years ago to raise awareness about local folktales.
Now, the performance of #Legendretold returns for the community and youth festival Celebrate Drama! 2016.
Organised by the Singapore Drama Educators Association (SDEA) with support form MOE, a group of teachers from primary and secondary schools got together five folktales from five countries in this second version of the drama.
“We wanted to expose youths to different folktales which are rarely heard,” said Miss Mia who teaches at Palm View Primary School.
“As an ensemble, we wanted to challenge ourselves by integrating all these stories to create one new story because folktales are typically passed down through the generations.”
“While some parts are preserved, folktales develop to become a new story.”
“With that, we want the folktales to develop in different narratives in the second version of #Legendretold,” she explained.
The five folktales which will be featured in the performance are Legend of Red Hill from Singapore; Ma Liang and the Magic Paintbrush from China; The Wild Rose from Ireland; Hindu Flood Legend from India and Greek fable The Ants from Greece.
The combination of the five folklores also reflect the theme of the youth and community festival that celebrates diversity.
“Through the performance, we want to convey a message to youths that they can be in control of every situation they face and they have the power over their own lives,” said Ms Mia about the message that they wish to convey to the audience through the drama.
To encourage family bonding, SDEA will be giving away one free ticket to mums, dads, grandmothers and grandfathers of a youth for the performance of ‘You Never Knew I Was…” with every ticket purchase.
Youths can email your full name, IC number of the accompanying guardian to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is based on a first come first served basis, while tickets are still available. Got to www.bytes.sg to buy tickets.