Updated: Feb 15, 2021
54 Waterloo Street
The Theatre Practice (Practice), Singapore’s longest-running bilingual theatre institution, has launched PRACTICE 55, a 55-hour Facebook livestream happening today, 27 November 2020, 3pm to 29 November 2020, 10pm.
The event’s marathon of programmes will mark Practice’s milestone 55th anniversary through its achievements and community. Envisioned as a homecoming, it will collectively feature generations of artists, students and supporters, collectively known as “Jian Rens”.
Practice’s Feature wall is getting a new look
A theatre company reaching their 55th anniversary in any country, is a momentous occasion.
Mdm Goh leading a dance class in the 1970s
Founded in 1965 by theatre doyen Kuo Pao Kun and dance pioneer Goh Lay Kuan, Practice first began as a performing arts school, before transitioning into a professional theatre company. “Practice was created because our co-founders believed in creating a home that nurtures and empowers,” current Artistic Director Kuo Jian Hong notes. “This is something we still do today. The ‘how’ has changed but the ‘why’ remains consistent.”
Practice Kampung in 1960s to 1970s
Through the years, the company’s initiatives have been held up by the twin pillars of art-making and advocacy. Today, Practice has remained a cultural force. Collaborating with Singapore and international artists, it has amassed a critically-acclaimed repertoire of over 350 productions spanning a variety of genres and languages, many which have entered the canon of Southeast Asian literature. As pioneers in arts education, Practice has nurtured leaders in the Singapore arts scene, and inculcated a love for the arts in generations of youths.
Practice Kampung in 1960s to 1970s
Practice’s most valuable asset has always been its people. The seeds planted more than five decades ago have since blossomed into a massive community of Jian Rens, who themselves continue to nurture and empower others. While many have remained active in the arts, those who are no longer practising still continue to affect positive change through their work and influence.
Finding New Ways To Party
While the current COVID-19 pandemic has made large parties impossible, the Practice team remains determined to mark this milestone with an epic 55-hour Facebook livestream.
Digitalising 55 years of archives
“We’ve never been one for taking the easy way out,” Kuo jokes. “So we took this as a challenge to do something that we have never done before.” Indeed as part of the initial preparations, Practice staff undertook a massive operation of digitalising the archives — spending weeks unearthing dusty photo albums, vintage programme booklets, video tapes and even sound reels.
An equally massive operation was set in motion to contact over a hundred Jian Rens to join in. Beyond a retrospective, PRACTICE 55 presents a rare and precious convergence of incredibly different individuals, all who have passed through Practice’s doors. Comprising artists, creatives, crew, educators, administrators, supporters, and friends, this sprawling web presents a microcosm not just of theatre but the larger arts landscape.
Kuo adds, “By moving our celebrations online, more Jian Rens can join in, especially those living overseas.” As such, the line-up will feature international participants dialing in from America, Germany, Spain, China, Hong Kong, and more. It will also include interactive activities that livestream viewers can participate in, from anywhere in the world.
55 Hours: Celebrating Our Past and Envisioning the Future
The line-up will follow a rough chronological timeline of Practice’s development, with its 38 programmes divided into five main categories: Stories, Vault, Spaces, Homecoming, and Play.
Taking a closer look at Practice’s past and its impact in the present, Stories will bring together an incredibly diverse slate of arts practitioners for conversation and debate. Vault offers a deep dive into Practice’s archives with rarely-seen soundbites, pictures, videos, and interviews. Spaces will revisit the spaces where our Jian Rens worked, played and created through virtual tours of Practice’s homes. Homecoming remembers the deep bonds forged through Practice by reuniting former collaborators and old friends through a series of casual hangouts. Through games and time-honoured practices, Play showcases Jian Rens’ universal love for fun and connection.
100 of VHS tapes with Archives
STORIES: Catch a glimpse of Practice’s past and discover its impact in the present VAULT: Uncover the sights and sounds of Practice through the years SPACES: Revisit past homes and old neighbours HOMECOMING: Reconnect with fellow Jian Rens through live and virtual gatherings PLAY: Have fun through activities and games (the Practice speciality!)
We all need a party, now more than ever. So what are you waiting for?
Date/Time: 27 Nov 2020, 3pm – 29 Nov 2020, 10pm Link: www.facebook.com/thetheatrepractice (streaming on Facebook Live) Full line-up to be released For more details: http://www.practice.org.sg/practice-55