:: Writers' Lab::

Celebration of A Decade of Writers' Lab

In December 1990, Artistic Director of TheatreWorks, Ong Keng Sen, conceived the Writers' Laboratory, a programme to nurture young budding creative talents in playwriting.

Why a need for Writers' Lab? There were few plays that we could really call our own then. Although there was an interest to write, there was no impetus, no catalyst.

New and well-written plays are the lifeblood of developing good theatre. The process of writing a full-length and creative play is never an easy one. Yet, it can be fulfilling and challenging. However, it requires intensive investment of time, talent and resources. Playwrights need nurturing and support from their mentors, peers and sponsors.

Thus, the Writers' Lab was born. And for the last 10 years, Singapore Press Holdings has been its fervent supporter, single-handedly sponsoring the laboratory.

The Writers' Lab allows new and emerging playwrights opportunities through workshops, mentoring and readings to hone their creative writing skills. It also provides an artistic platform for mature and established playwrights to contribute new plays to the Lab. In turn, the Lab serves as an avenue for writers who desire to develop their concepts, themes and characterisation through interaction with an informed and critical audience at various stages of development.

The Lab has seen new works developed and produced by playwrights such as Russell Heng, Eleanor Wong, Tan Tarn How, Ovidia Yu, Desmond Sim, Robin Loon, Mary Loh, Dana Lam, Pavarthi Nayar, Tan Mei Ching, Jean Tay, Ng Yi-Sheng, Chong Tze Chien and Christian Huber.

Many an audience have been entertained, educated and stimulated by plays like 'Three Fat Virgins Unassembled', 'Undercover', 'Mergers and Accusations', 'Lest the Demon Gets to Me', 'PIE', 'Watching the Clouds go by' and 'Hungry'.

Theatre and drama students have also used the Writers' Lab plays for discussion, improvisation and performance.

In 1998, the successful 'Got to go…… play till dawn' Singapore's First Overnight Theatre Carnival provided yet another showcase that highlighted winning plays from the Writers Labs 24-hour Playwriting Competition, namely 'Hungry', by 18 year old Ng Yi Sheng. The focus in that showcase was on new talents, one of the consistent aims of the Writers' Lab, be it in writing, directing or performing.

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