SDEA Spotlight is a series of short interviews with SDEA members that peel back the curtain behind their practice, their beliefs about arts and drama education and their influences.
Caleb Lee has been a member of SDEA since 2010. Caleb Lee is a lecturer in the School of Dance and Theatre at LASALLE College of the Arts. Aside from pursuing his PhD at Royal Holloway, he is also a consultant, producer and dramaturg for a few theatre for young audiences projects.
1. In one word, sum up your drama education journey.
2. Why is drama important? Why should it be taught in schools?
Drama is fundamental to our lives. It is an art form that brings people together to celebrate, challenge and provoke through the sharing of stories. It is where conflict, creativity and consciousness collide. Drama provides us a safe space to reflect and to makes sense of human relationships in relation to our existence. Ultimately, this leads to context and gives us perspectives on life and the world. At the heart of it, drama helps develop empathy, tolerance and cooperation.
3. Who was the drama educator that has the most impact on you?
It’s hard to pick one. Different drama educators influenced and inspired me at different points in my personal journey. From my early speech and drama classes, to drama activities in school, to productions that I watched. Currently, my role model is my PhD supervisor, Professor Helen Nicholson. She is extremely intelligent, generous and has a big heart. She believes that drama is a gift that is in continual negotiation and reevaluation. Drama is always changing and that’s what makes it exciting. I remember her telling me, “theatre cannot change the world’. But engaging in theatre helps one discover humanity, meanings and his connection to society which is what is lacking today. My personal philosophy is to make social change one small step at a time. Hence my hashtag #politicsofsmallchange.
4. Share a drama activity that you love to do.
I believe in the power of narratives and metaphors because it is a large part of us. I like my students to share stories with one another in a safe environment. I then use these stories to open up bigger questions about the world and these leads to other creative activities depending on the context. Sometimes simplicity is key because it gives a person an imaginative canvas to wander and wonder.
5. You are part of the programming committee of the upcoming SDEA Theatre Arts Conference 2017. What can people look forward to at the conference?
I am extremely proud of this year’s conference programme. The focus is on young people and creativity- 2 very important areas close to my heart. You can expect a lot of interesting dialogues and perspectives from researchers, practitioners and educators. Be prepared to be inspired by the key notes! There will be something for everyone!
On 30 June to 1 July, learn about Caleb’s work with The Singapore Theatre for Young Audiences Researchers (stYar) at the SDEA Theatre Arts Conference 2017. The collective is committed to engaging with research, discourse and documentation of Theatre for Young Audiences in Singapore. Register for the conference here.