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Centre 42 presents a new page for playwriting in Singapore

Emerging playwrights will get a leg up at the new Centre 42, a hothouse for the craft

Published on Apr 22, 2014 12:40 PM

As the new Centre 42 eases into its home - the former Action Theatre premises along Waterloo Street painted a bright cerulean blue - it has become a touchpoint for a renewed focus on playwriting in Singapore.

The centre aims to document, promote and create writing for the Singapore stage.

Its name comes partly from its address - 42 Waterloo Street - but is also a riff on the historic, long-defunct Centre 65, Singapore's first multi-disciplinary arts centre set up by the late pioneer playwright Goh Poh Seng and his friends in the early years of independence. The dearth of original English-language scripts, which troubled Goh and his compatriots, remains a sticking point to this day.

Theatre practitioners note that Centre 42, an initiative of the National Arts Council but run by an independent team of theatre practitioners, is a cog in a larger and more concerted movement to not only inject fresh content into local theatre, but also cultivate playwrights.

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Background story

“It makes all the difference when a company is able to pull resources together to workshop new writing, since a play is never meant to just sit on paper and the best way to tell what works and what doesn’t is to lift lines off the page.”

Playwright Michelle Tan