Singapore’s Toy Factory to launch theatre initiative in Chiang Dao next month

 | Tue 12 Dec 2023 19:20 ICT

Discovering New Expressions –
Southeast Asian Theatre for The World Today :
Inaugural Artist Initiative Programme, “plotSEA” by
Singapore’s Theatre Company, Toy Factory Productions
Debuts with “Sang Sinxay” in Chiang Dao, Thailand.

Singapore, November 17, 2023 – After 33 years of theatre making, Singapore’s renowned Toy Factory Productions Ltd is ready to embark on a new collaborative chapter beyond borders in Chiang Dao, Thailand, with the inaugural launch of an inter-regional artist-initiative programme, “plotSEA” in January 2024. An initiative helmed by Chief Artistic Director, Goh Boon Teck with the aspirations of breaking away from the usual theatre making conventions and steer theatre makers from the region to convene, experiment, explore, create and distil the essence of art making in the verdant refuge of Chiang Dao, Thailand. The 14-day artist-initiative aims to conclude with an intimate sharing of movement theatre work-in-progress of Thai-Laos legend, Sang Sinxay, a step forward to uncover more Southeast Asian stories for the world stage.

The term “plot” is rich with dual meaning, encompassing both storytelling and the concept of land. “plotSEA” seamlessly merges these definitions, creating a captivating narrative on sacred land nestled in the heart of “SEA” (Southeast Asia). This artist-initiative programme aspires to discover a fresh new palette through the distinct marriage of traditional and contemporary theatrical artforms to bring new life to revered Southeast Asian folklore against the backdrop of the Doi Chiang Dao limestone mountains. Emerging in response to the current void in contemporary Southeast Asian theatre within the global arts scene, “plotSEA” represents a significant stride toward a future where Southeast Asian art forms and theatre take centre stage on a global platform.

“This is an active step forward for Singapore & Southeast Asian theatre. I am deeply grateful to create “plotSEA” with other capable leaders and artists from all over. I envision it as an annual creative pilgrimage for us urbanite artists from the region away from our cities and seeking refuge in the heart of Southeast Asia – exploring new depths to our voices and crafts as artists. It is a rare opportunity for Singaporean theatre makers to have a chance to meet other like-minded artists from the region, and to have a hand in moulding the future of Southeast Asian theatre for the world stage.” shared Goh Boon Teck when asked about his vision of “plotSEA”

Set to embark from the 3rd of January to the 17th of January 2024 in Chiang Dao, Thailand – “plotSEA ” will be partnering closely with Thai collaborator, Makhampom Theatre & Artspace. Artists will be housed throughout the programme in the co-living space at the Makhampom Artspace where they will live, rehearse, have master classes in traditional Laos dance from esteemed dancer and choreographer from Laos, Noutnapha Soydala (Nout).

The 14-day “plotSEA” programme ends with the group’s devised movement theatrical interpretation of the Thai-Laos legend, Sang Sinxay – an experimentative expression weaving together the folklore with international perspectives and diverse Southeast Asian cultural traditions and artforms into the spotlight. The modest depiction of Sang Sinxay will be held on the 14th and 15th of January 2024 in the Makhampom Artspace, and due to the limited showing and seatings available, all enquiry of support and tickets will be handled privately through Toy Factory’s social media platforms.

Sang Sinxay, rooted in Lao epic tradition, narrates Sinxay’s heroic quest to rescue his aunt from the fearsome giant Nyak Koumphan. This story, exploring themes of morality, change, and the triumph of good over evil, remains highly relevant in the modern age. Artistic director Goh Boon Teck selected Sang Sinxay for the inaugural performance of “plotSEA” due to its potential to convey inclusivity and celebrate the unique inner strengths of individuals. The performance will
be a fusion of traditional Laotian dance and contemporary movement theatre accompanied by the soundscape of traditional Thai instruments.

“I’m thrilled to unite with Southeast Asian artists in “plotSEA” and I’m grateful for this opportunity with Toy Factory Productions, Singapore. Teaching Laos dance beyond borders is an honour, and the act of sharing our cultural legacy and folklore is deeply profound to me. I take it with pride to teach, share and exchange artistic wisdom, foster collaborative learning, and forge lasting paths and connections for Lao artists in the future.” shared Laos Dancer and Choreographer Noutnapha Soydala, who will serve as a Master Trainer in “plotSEA”.

The inaugural launch of “plotSEA” will be led by an interdisciplinary team of 13 theatre makers hailing from Singapore, Thailand, and Laos. This dynamic group, handpicked by Goh Boon Teck, features eight emerging Singaporean actors: Aricia Ng, Clement Yeo, Johanna Van, Misha Paule Tan, Lim Shien Hian, Shahid Nasheer, Wilfred Lee, and Wan Ahmad. Helming the production is Goh Boon Teck as the director, with the script crafted by playwright Titus Yim, set design by Thai architect and designer Sant Suwatcharapinun, choreography by Laotian dancer Noutnapha Soydala (Nout), and music led by Singaporean sound designer Vick Low.

Supported by the National Arts Council through the Market and Audience Development (MAD) Grant, “plotSEA” aspires to eventually become an annual programme located in Chiang Dao, Thailand. Goh Boon Teck hopes to explore, develop, and create new iterations of classic folklore from Southeast Asia in the future with “plotSEA”. For now, the primary goal is to successfully launch “plotSEA” in 2024 and then proceed to develop it further regionally. At heart, it will
serve as a launchpad for Toy Factory Productions and Singaporean theatre makers to develop and garner more support from audiences and creators beyond borders.

Show Details
plotSEA presents Sang Sinxay
Dates: 14 & 15 January 2024
Timings: 5.30 PM
Venue: Makhampom Artspace
Address: Makhampom Art Space 477 Moo 7, Chiang Dao Subdistrict, Chiang Dao District,
Chiang Mai Province 50170
Duration: 1 hour
All ticketing enquiry are strictly only available via Toy Factory Social Media Platforms

About Makhampom Theatre

Established in 1980, Makhampom Drama Group has grown into a dynamic organisation with over 200 members and volunteers. Originally focused on promoting democracy through media, Makhampom has evolved into a multifaceted entity, addressing various social issues through diverse performances and activism.

In 2004, Makhampom Art Space was founded in Chiang Dao, expanding into a learning exchange space for theatre and performance art locally and internationally. This hub,accessible to people of all ages, fosters mindful and sustainable artmaking experiences.

Since 2020, as a small social change organisation, Makhampom envisions sustaining its legacy as a bridge between people, art, and communities.

About Chiang Dao, Thailand

Nestled in the northern reaches of Thailand, Chiang Dao is a picturesque district celebrated for its breathtaking geography and cultural richness. The area is dominated by the imposing Doi Chiang Dao, the third-highest mountain in Thailand, providing a stunning backdrop to the landscape.

Lush greenery envelops the region, with dense forests, rice paddies, and vibrant flora contributing to its natural allure. Chiang Dao’s beauty extends beyond its physical features; it
boasts a cultural tapestry woven with the traditions of the local hill tribes, offering a unique and authentic experience for visitors.

Amidst this untouched land, Chiang Dao stands as a testament to Thailand’s diverse and captivating heritage, inviting exploration and appreciation of its unspoiled charm.

About Toy Factory Productions Ltd

Founded in 1990, Toy Factory has had a rich history being a part of Singapore’s arts scene,generating a body of original and unique stories for Asia and beyond.

Priding itself on its all-inclusive approach, Toy Factory is an advocate of creating a legacy of original Asian stories and quality adaptations on stage – toggling between vastly different languages, dialects and styles in order to present the purest form of theatrical storytelling onto Singapore’s main stage.

Toy Factory often ventures beyond Singapore to share its stories to the rest of the region. Between its inception and today, Toy Factory has collaborated with and worked with numerous different associations and festivals in major cities all around the world.

Above all other worldly factors, Toy Factory believes in creating an experience for the audience that will bring the world together: to share, to love and to be.