Wild Rice to reopen doors at Funan next month

Local theatre company Wild Rice will be reopening the doors of its Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre at Funan mall on Nov 4, after a closure of nearly eight months.

It returns with one-woman show An Actress Prepares, starring Siti Khalijah Zainal, from Nov 4 to 22. Written by Alfian Sa'at and directed by Aidli "Alin" Mosbit, the play follows Siti's journey through theatre.

Priority booking for Wild Rice Angels, the company's donors, began yesterday while public sales will open on Monday.

Seating will be limited to 50 people for each show due to Covid-19 safety restrictions.

The show will proceed depending on safety advisories for the resumption of live performances next month. Wild Rice will offer new performance dates or full refunds to patrons if this resumption is further delayed.

Wild Rice founding artistic director Ivan Heng said he felt "nervous, excited and full of anticipation" about reopening the theatre.

"Although it's not sustainable and we're not going to break even, this is a very important step in taking audiences on a journey to come back to the theatre."

He added that An Actress Prepares, which had originally been intended to open the theatre's inaugural season last year, was a "poetic and slightly ironic choice" for this occasion.

He said: "The play is about what it means to dedicate your life to acting, the theatre and playing before a live audience.

"Alfian, Alin, Siti and the company are reworking it to think about what it means now. We've gone through a very tough period, when actors have not been performing.

"How does an actor prepare for each role and for a life in the theatre? What does this mean in these tumultuous times, when jobs are scarce and the future is so uncertain? It will be a special show."

Wild Rice follows Singapore Repertory Theatre, which will be reopening its venue, the KC Arts Centre - Home of SRT, next month with Tuesdays With Morrie, starring Ramesh Panicker and Benjamin Chow. The show previews on Nov 1 and premieres on Nov 4.

Wild Rice and SRT joined forces with fellow theatre company Pangdemonium for The Pitch, a short film released in August to raise funds and awareness about the tribulations of theatre companies during the pandemic.

Since Sept 11, the National Arts Council (NAC) has been conducting small-scale pilot trials to prepare for the reopening of performance venues. The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and NAC will review the results of these trials after this month.

• For more information, go to www.wildrice.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2020, with the headline 'Wild Rice to reopen doors at Funan next month'. Print Edition | Subscribe