Co-Founder / Artistic Advisor: GOH Lay Kuan
Mdm Goh Lay Kuan, co-founder of The Theatre Practice, is a distinguished choreographer, arts educator and a winner of the Cultural Medallion. She started ballet training at the age of 15, joined the Victoria Ballet Company and received training in modern dance at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Her works include Nu Wa – Mender of the Heavens, Om and The Homing Fish. Mdm Goh has also developed programmes that combines different art forms into a creative learning experience for both physically able and handicapped children, through play.
Founder: KUO Pao Kun (1939 – 2002)
Kuo Pao Kun was born into a poor farming village in Hubei, China. At a tender age, he moved to classical Peiping, then to cosmopolitan Hong Kong. In 1949, he moved south again, this time to the multi-ethnic Singapore. Subsequently, he explored the vastness of Australia as a young man before returning to call Singapore his home. This is the journey of one man’s life, where the inflections of his journey are not lost upon the influence of his work. Where the varied experience of diverse cultures has shaped and inspired a unique and inimitable vision of creativity.
In 1965, Kuo Pao Kun and dancer Goh Lay Kuan founded Practice Performing Arts School, introducing the idea of performing arts education in Singapore, laying the initial foundation for a future arts scene. In 1986, Kuo Pao Kun founded Singapore’s first bilingual theatre company, The Theatre Practice. In 1990, Kuo Pao Kun received the Cultural Medallion, the highest local award bestowed upon an artist. In 1993, he received the ASEAN Culture award; and in 1997, he was knighted Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from France. In 2002, he also received the Excellence for Singapore award.
Arguably the father of Singapore Theatre, Kuo’s 40 years of dedication and kindling of local theatre has been an influence to generations of artistes and practitioners. Aside from 26 years of script writing, Kuo has also written books, adapted scripts, and directed innumerable plays. In 1982, 14 local Chinese theatre groups assembled together to present a production of Kuo’s The Little White Sailing Boat.
Among his other works, The Coffin is Too Big for the Hole is most well known. Adapted and translated into various permutations and productions by local and international theatre groups, The Coffin is Too Big for the Hole has also been incorporated by schools as teaching material. Some of Kuo’s other well-known plays include the multi-lingual Mama Looking for Her Cat, The Silly Little Girl and The Funny Old Tree, and more mature works like Lao Jiu and Descendents of the Eunuch Admiral. Kuo also wrote an original screenplay for film entitled Grandpa’s Meat Bone Tea.
Kuo Pao Kun passed away in Singapore on 10th September 2002, creating an irreplaceable absence in the theatre scene, as well as in hearts of many who loved, admired and respected the man and his legacy.
Artistic Director: KUO Jian Hong
After obtaining her Masters in Stage Design (University of Iowa) and Masters in Directing (University of Hawaii), Jian Hong took her talent in designing to various drama festivals and theatre groups in Iowa.
Back in Singapore, Jian Hong’s early efforts have gone mostly toward lighting design for theatre and dance productions, including TheatreWorks’s production of Descendents of the Eunuch Admiral. She is also credited as the set, costume, and lighting designer for The Theatre Practice’s production of A Silly Little Girl and The Funny Old Tree and Mama looking for her cat.
Trained in directing and design, she is also a film/television director and producer. She directed Wu Jun Ru and You and Me and Him and Lao Jiu: The Musical as well as the sold out hit musical, If There’re Seasons. As an independent filmmaker, her works include Agong Bak Kut Teh, Sammyville, Dog Story, and Avatar, the first sci-fi feature from Singapore. She has produced a number of mobile series for 3G phones.
Education and Outreach Adviser: WONG May Lan
Prior to joining The Theatre Practice, May Lan’s rich profile of experience includes tenures with Hong Kong Repertory Theatre and Chung Ying Theatre Company. Her directorial efforts aside, May Lan’s focus is also towards initiating the development and integration of drama instruction among the young. Her creative teaching methods have been well-received and incorporated by several schools into their various creative and drama programmes, including Raffles Girls’ School, Hwa Chong Junior College, Singapore Chinese Girls’ School, Nanyang Girls’ School, and St Andrew’s Junior College.
May Lan’s local directing credits include The Legend of Giant, The Soldier and His Virtuous Wife, Where Love Abides, Love a la Zen, and Lights Up. She is currently spearheading Theatre Practice’s Street Theatre initiative.
Company Manager: Jo LIM
Jo graduated from NUS majoring in Theatre Studies and after too many years fumbling unnecessarily with numbers and Bloomberg keyboards, returns. She loves the smell of new books, adores the writings of Murakami and Kundera, and daydreams between chapters. She believes in fairness and hard work and the rights of cats.
Resident Director: WU Xi
Theatre Director, Acting Teacher. Wu Xi went on to be The Theatre Practice’s Resident Director and is currently teaching acting at Shenzhen University. He has directed over 20 productions in Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tokyo, Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong and Taipei. His Singapore productions include Liao Zhai Rocks! (2010), Thunderstorm (2006), Tosca (2007), and I am Queen (2008).
Resident Artist: HUNG Chit Wah
Wahwah graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, School of Drama. In 2003, she was awarded the Hong Kong Theatre Association’s Hong Kong Drama Scholarship to further her studies in Theatre Training and Research Programme (Singapore).
She has worked with different theatre companies and created solo pieces in Hong Kong and the other countries after her graduation. Her recent works as a performer and creator include “Wo A Ma Bi Wo @Fall Apart. Build Again” (Hong Kong), “May I Ask…”, (Singapore & Malaysia), “Flowers for Algernon” (Hong Kong), and “The Mother Hen Next Door!” (Taiwan), where she was awarded the ‘Da Jia Dou Man Yi Jiang’ by the 3rd Taipei Fringe Festival. She was also nominated for the 9th Taishin Arts Award (Performing Arts).
Resident Artist: LV Lin Xuan
Born in Zibo, Shandong in 1988 , Lin Xuan has been innately eccentric since he was a child. This troublemaker enrolled into Shenzhen University in 2007, majoring in performing arts but was almost kicked out for his unruly behaviours. That marked the turning point of his life and he started to channel his peculiarity to better use, on stage. His acting credits include Seeking For Birds (2009), The Lesson and The Eye of the Universe. His mantra? May the birds of a feather flock together.
Programme Manager: CHONG Woon Yong
Assistant Programme Manager: YEO Fu Bi
In the eyes of Fu Bi, a certificate isn’t everything, but it is definitely something. Hence she fought her way through kindergarten, primary and secondary school, before finally completing her diploma in Chinese Studies at Ngee Ann Polytechnic (And back then, she was lucky enough to have fulfilled the dream of being an author by publishing a book named A Taste of China). It was also there and then that fate brought her into the world of theatre.
Education Researcher: WEI Shimin
Shimin is one who would throw herself head first into the lovely pools of Education, Theatre and Yoga. With these seemingly disparate areas as her passions, she has somehow found a way to integrate all three right here at The Theatre Practice. What a feat! It feels like being able to do a headstand and free-fall backbend without breaking a sweat. Now if only she is able to do such yoga poses in reality…
Education and Outreach Executive: Christine LIM
From playing the piano to listening to music, to music compositions and teaching, from attending and performing at music concerts, as well as working in the administration for visual arts to performing arts education, finally, I have completed my education research programme. Life is just like that, if you happen to see a rainbow, remember to feel happy and enlightened. Life is just a drama, therefore, Long Live The Theatre!
Sales and Marketing Executive: Karen BOO
Karen loves theatre and enjoys other forms of performing arts as well. She joined The Theatre Practice in 2009 and since then, much of her salary has been generously “invested” in watching theatre productions and all forms of arts performances. “Theatre rocks!” she exclaims.
Marketing and Communications Executive: Jeanne TAN
Publicist: Guo Xiong
Graphic Design: HUI Shi Li
On 22 jun 1990, a baby girl was born to a loving family. As tiny Shi Li grew up, she swore that she will rule her own life. Little did she know, life isn’t that easy. Despite many adversaries, Shi Li’s young heart that was overflowing with dreams and ambitions urged herself forward and she told herself, “I’m gonna make myself a designer”. And true to her words, she entered NYP’s Visual Communication course. From there, she began her very own life journey with an unflinching passionate mind.
Office Administrator: Rena LEW