SIFA is proud to open its 2017 edition with Art Studio, a Singapore-Mandarin theatre commission performed with English surtitles. Set against the backdrop of Singapore's changing landscape from the 1960s to the new millennium, Art Studio begins with the story of a young school drop-out, Ji Zong, who is coerced by his friend to become a model for life drawing by a group of artists.

From that point on, the narrative branches out, weaving the lives of these wildly disparate artists into a web of intriguing stories during the tumultuous years of Singapore from the 1950s to 1980s: An aspiring singer gives up everything she has to travel alone to India and pursue her love of Indian classical singing; a communist fighter disappears into the thick Malayan jungle for the rest of his life; a middle-aged woman returns to her old flat, which has remained unchanged after 30 years of self-exile, only to find the man she loved dying.

An epic that spans decades and is deeply intricate in its portrayal of the characters’ sentiments and of the heart’s innermost desires, Art Studio is a moving rendition of the poetic beauty and sorrow of ordinary human relationships. The performance is directed by Nelson Chia and adapted from the Mandarin novel of the same name written by 2003 Cultural Medallion recipient and Singaporean novelist Yeng Pway Ngon. Yeng won the Singapore Literature Prize no fewer than three times, most recently in 2012 for Art Studio. His books have been translated into many languages, including Italian, though this will be his first major translation onto stage.

© Nine Years Theatre
Art Studio
Original novel by Yeng Pway Ngon
Script/ Direction by Nelson Chia.

Commissioned by Singapore International Festival of Arts 2017.
Performed in Mandarin, with English surtitles.

Date and time
17 Aug (Thu) - 19 Aug (Sat) 2017

Victoria Theatre.

3 hours, intermission included.

*Advisory 16 (Mature Content)
Produced by Mia Chee
Original novel by Yeng Pway Ngon
Script/ direction by Nelson Chia
Assistant Director: Cherilyn Woo

Performed by:
Tay Kong Hui*, Mia Chee*, Hang Qian Chou*, Neo Hai Bin*, Jean Toh*, Timothy Wan*, Ellison Tan Yuyang*, Jodi Chan, Darren Guo, Chen Yiyou, Toh Wee Peng and Chng Yi Kai.

*members of NYT Ensemble
(Click here to find out more about NYT Ensemble Project)

Set Designer: Wong Chee Wai
Costume Designer: Anthony Tan
Lighting & Multimedia Designer: Genevieve Peck
Music Composer: Chong Li-Chuan
Production Sound Designer: Ng Jing
Graphics Designer: qu’est-ce que c’est design

Production Manager: Tennie Su
Stage Manager: Tan Xiang Yi
Assistant Stage Manager: Geraldine Ang and Teo Pei Si
Promo Video

SIFA: Four years of defiantly 'arty' art
-- Helmi Yusof, Business Times

-- 李连辉, Lianhe Zaobao

-- 陈宇昕, Lianhe Zaobao

Capturing history with passion
-- Akshita Nanda, The Straits Times

Culture Vulture: Flawed experiments in theatre can be better than mediocre successes
-- Ong Sor Fern, The Straits Times

-- Quah Sy Ren

"Some Enchanted Evening" - ART STUDIO by Nine Years Theatre
-- Christian W. Huber, Centre 42

"在森林和原野里" - ART STUDIO by Nine Years Theatre
-- Liu Chang, Centre 42

SIFA 2017: Art Studio by Nine Years Theatre (Review)
-- Bakchormeeboy

"Art Studio” by Nine Years Theatre: Back to the Page
-- Dan Koh, Arts Equator

From local page to international stage
-- Pawit Mahasarinand, The Nation (Thailand)

-- 黄子明, Theatrex Asia

小说文字的空间实验 | 评《画室》
-- 任骏之,众观 Re-Viewers
Art Studio garnered 2 wins at the "Life! Theatre Awards 2018":
  • Best Director - Nelson Chia
  • Best Ensemble

It was also nominated for:
  • Production of the Year