After a well-received and sold-out run in August last year, Smartbutt, written especially for a younger audience by award-winning playwright Ms Jean Tay, was recently restaged by SOTA’s Year 6 Theatre IBCP students and alumni at the Nanyang Playhouse. SOTA invited primary school students and their accompanying teachers to attend the shows for free, and performed to four full house shows attended by more than 350 students from 19 primary schools from 6 to 8 March 2019. This initiative is part of SOTA's enhanced outreach efforts to make arts more accessible to primary schools students, and a broader vision for SOTA students to learn about the elements of staging a performance for young audience.
By interacting and playing with the audience, posing difficult questions and exposing unique perspectives, the play, based on the well-known Legend of Bukit Merah, did not just re-tell history but also highlighted the nuances of power, and the importance of standing up for what is right.
It was wonderful to see both students and teachers filling the venue with laughter, and participating actively in the interactive segments of the show. After the play, there was a post-show dialogue with the cast and director, and students were encouraged to share any questions and opinions they had. It was also wonderful that the students who attended the closing performance got the chance to meet Smartbutt's playwright Ms Jean Tay in person, who joined them in the audience!
Mr Sean Tobin, Head of Theatre at SOTA also participated in a meaningful dialogue with teachers, held at the National Institute Education (NIE) on 7 March 2019. The talk was moderated by Ms Charlene Rajendra of NIE and explored topics on some of the learning processes and challenges involved in making meaningful, powerful, and relevant theatre for young audiences.
SOTA would like to specially thank the National Institute of Education, for opening their doors to us and supporting the use of their venue, the Nanyang Playhouse for this production, and for the opportunity to share our experiences with fellow teachers at the talk.
We look forward to extending this rich and meaningful partnership.