Make quirky gins and rediscover nursery rhymes in virtual theatre festival

A cocktail made with octopus (left) and M1 Patch! festival's Online Recess Time. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF THE THEATRE PRACTICE

SINGAPORE - Bartender Johnny Rosle finds cocktail ingredients in strange places - think dumpsters and reduced-to-clear sections in supermarkets.

This is how he tries to reduce food waste while making unusual drinks such as octopus, laksa and goat cheese-infused gins - after he has cleaned the items of course.

Mr Johnny will be sharing a few tricks of his trade in local bilingual theatre company The Theatre Practice's mostly virtual M1 Patch! A (Live) Theatre Festival Of Play, which started over the weekend.

The third edition of the festival also offers programmes such as an interactive show that aims to reinvent Mandarin nursery rhymes, and cooking demonstrations by Singaporeans living overseas.

In the festival's Play With... Flavours online experience, participants will get to sample gin infusions made by Mr Johnny, who is the resident bartender at Oriental Elixir cocktail bar in Haji Lane.

They will also learn how to infuse ingredients in gin and make a decent cocktail out of it.

Mr Johnny, 25, says his job has given him a new perspective on food. "When I eat or drink something, my first thought is to try and figure out if this could be transformed into an infusion and to determine the key flavour notes."

He adds: "The idea is to play with flavour and food. Life doesn't have to be so serious."

The cocktail making session is one of three online experiences in the festival's Play With... series. Participants can also learn to make bespoke garments in a workshop with fashion and costume designer Max Tan, or explore the notion of power through a role-playing game.

Meanwhile, families with children can take part in the festival's virtual live interactive show series Here Comes Kaya And Roti! "Where Are Our Friends?" Each show comprises three episodes that include sing-along sessions, craft-making and improvisational storytelling.

The series is part of The Theatre Practice's The Nursery Rhymes Project, which aims to reinvent classic Mandarin nursery rhymes. It will feature tunes such as popular folk songs The Little White Boat and The Country Road, as well as songs from the company's original Chinese musicals.

Actress Ang Xiao Ting, who plays the character Roti, says: "I'm sure I learnt most of these songs in school, but I had only impressions of them. When I started singing these songs again, I really enjoyed them."

The 27-year-old is also the programmer of the M1 Patch! festival's Online Recess Time, which consists of lunch parties hosted by Singaporeans living overseas, in countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom.

Besides taking part in the online activities, participants can also visit the festival's sole physical item c o o p, a multi-level outdoor installation at The Theatre Practice's building at 54 Waterloo Street.

The company's artistic director Kuo Jian Hong hopes the festival will encourage people to rediscover play and take risks.

She says: "If we are lucky, we will play our entire life. This is the platform we've set up - playful, but not forgetting about our craft and the artistic standard of the work we've done."

BOOK IT/M1 Patch! A (Live) Theatre Festival Of Play

When: July 18 to August 30

Where: Online and at 54 Waterloo Street

Info: (programmes are in English, Mandarin, or both)

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