About Nine Years Theatre Ensemble Project

Led by artistic director Nelson Chia, NYT Ensemble Project is an attempt to build a company of ensemble actors who train regularly, in a systematic way, and create together over an extended period of time. Its main activities are divided into: regular training, creation and performance. For regular training, the ensemble uses the Suzuki Method of Actor Training (SMAT) and Viewpoints as its core systems to develop the art of the actor. Other trainings include Voice, Speech and Dramaturgy, etc.. The creation process draws on the synergy that emerges from these trainings over time. The ultimate aim of the project is to develop a sustainable group of company actors that accumulates its strengths through the ensemble environment to create works that are consistent, grounded and integral.

The Idea of a Company Ensemble

The idea of a company ensemble is not new to many mature theatre cultures around the world. We see examples of this model in companies such as Bertolt Brecht's Berliner Ensemble, Eugenio Barba's Odin Teatret, Peter Brook's Theatre Bouffes Du Nord and Ariane Mnouchkine's Theatre du Soleil, Theater Mandiri led by Indonesian director Putu Wijaya, Suzuki Company of Toga by Tadashi Suzuki, and SITI Company by Anne Bogart, to name a few. Furthermore, the essence of the ensemble model is cross-disciplinary as we see how major dance companies largely rely on a core group of dancers who train together over extended period of time in order to produce quality works.

NYT believes that there are unique qualities in an ensemble model and that these qualities, which are at this moment under-explored in our local theatre scene, are in fact the factors that will propel us towards higher standards in our work. These are the reasons for the initiation of the NYT Ensemble Project.

On Training and Creation

Q: Why do we train?

A: We train for many reasons. But generally it is to
  1. become a more capable, and hence a more creative actor.
  2. constantly return to a “zero” state, so that we may see, experience and feel with refreshed perspectives.

Q: Why do we train together?

A: It is to build a common language and synergy that allow us to create works that are consistent, grounded and integral.

Q: What are the characteristics of NYTEP productions?

A: They are
  • Consistent in the world presented, the delivery of this world, and in overall standard.
  • Grounded in the actors' craft and art, and in the accumulated experiences of the ensemble.
  • Integral because we exercise sensibility in all aspects of the production.
Hang Qian Chou
Founding & Core Member

Qian Chou first worked with Nine Years Theatre on Twelve Angry Men and subsequently became a founding and core member of the NYT Ensemble, taking on Kuo Pao Kun's monologue No Parking on Odd Days in Cantonese; playing Mr Lee's son in Red Sky; the titular role in Red Demon and Tartuffe; the Pot-mender in The Lower Depths; and Peter Stockmann in An Enemy of the People.

He graduated from NUS Theatre Studies and the pioneer cohort of W!LD Rice's actors' training programme young & W!LD. He also attended summer workshops at Ecole Philippe Gaulier (Paris, France) and David Diamond's Theatre for Living (Vancouver, Canada).

He has won Best Ensemble four times at the Life! Theatre Awards, for Red Sky,Twelve Angry Men, Lao Jiu: The Musical and Mad Forest; and was similarly nominated for Own Time Own Target and The Hypochondriac.
Mia Chee
Founding & Core Member

Mia is an actor, producer and theatre educator, and is also the co-founder and Company Director of Nine Years Theatre. She started performing at 9 years old when she joined Rediffusion Singapore's children group and eventually graduated with a BA in Theatre Studies and Chinese Language from the National University of Singapore. In addition to that, she studied at Theatre Training and Research Programme for close to 2 years and had also trained with SITI Company (New York) and Suzuki Company of Toga (Japan). Recent works include Red Sky (2016), Red Demon (2016), The Lower Depths (2015), Tartuffe (2015), An Enemy of the People (2014), The Bride Always Knocks Twice (2013) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Macau Arts Festival 2013).
Jean Toh
Founding & Core Member

Jean Toh has worked as an actor and dancer in professional theatre, dance, installation and film productions since 2004.

She holds a BA(Hons) in Acting from LASALLE College of the Arts and is a founding and core member of the NYT Ensemble.

She has played in The Lower Depths, Tartuffe, An Enemy of the People (Nine Years Theatre), Singapore: Inside Out (Singapore Tourism Board), Stand Behind the Yellow Line (Singapore Repertory Theatre), The Crucible (Toy Factory Productions), Decimal Points 7.7, Decimal Points 810 (Cake Theatrical Productions), The Shape of a Bird (Saga Seed Theatre).

Jean was the selected Asian artist by Institute Français to attend the 67th Avignon Theatre Festival and was nominated Best Supporting Actress for her role in HBO Asia's Grace at the 2015 Asian TV Awards. 

© Nine Years Theatre
From Left to Right: Tan Yuyang Ellison, Hang Qian Chou, Mia Chee, Tay Kong Hui, Timothy Wan, Neo Hai Bin
(Absent: Jean Toh)
Neo Hai Bin
Founding & Core Member

Why theatre? Over the years, he experienced the theatre’s power to question, transform, create, and develop social awareness. Neo Hai Bin started off as a member of "ARTivate", the youth wing of Drama Box. Now a freelance theatre practitioner, he has worked with Drama Box, The Theatre Practice Lab, Nine Years Theatre, The Finger Players, The Necessary Stage.

His performances include Bondage, Shh.. (Forum Theatre), Mulan (children’s theatre), Dua Dai Ji (Mockumentary Theatre), 11: Gao Xing Jian Devised (TTP Lab), Life Choices (Monologue), An Enemy of the People, Manifesto, etc.

It is a humbling experience to be part of theatre, part of life. He keeps a blog at: http://thethoughtspavilion.wordpress.com.
Tay Kong Hui
Core Member

Kong Hui holds a Master of Arts from London Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. He was also awarded a Bachelor degree by the Hong Kong Baptist University School of Media, majoring in cinema and television, and had learnt the performing arts from the late Mr Thia Mong Teck, a respectable and legendary theatre veteran in Singapore history.

His profession over the years covers journalism, radio broadcasting, television, filmmaking and theatre. The theatre productions that he was involved in had received several awards and nominations. He was also funded by National Arts council in 2014 to undergo an intensive theatre training in New York.

Timothy Wan
Core Member

Timothy is an actor, singer, and musician. He graduated with a BA(Hons) in 2013, from the Theatre Studies department in the National University of Singapore. Since then, he has been actively involved in both the local English and Mandarin theatre scene.

Stage credits include: Army Daze, Glass Anatomy, High Class, Red Riding Hood, Firecrackers & Bombshells, Romeo & Juliet: The Musical, Hansel & Gretel, The Nightingale (in both English & Mandarin), Junior Claus, Titoudao, The Tempest, December Rains, White Soliloquy, Beauty World, Red Demon, Kumarajiva, Red Sky, Fundamentally Happy.
Ellison Tan Yuyang
Core Member

Ellison Tan Yuyang graduated from the National University of Singapore with a major in Theatre Studies. Since then, she has been working as a freelance theatre practitioner and educator. She is a firm believer in constant training, and has trained with ECNAD, Cake Theatrical Productions, The Finger Players and Nine Years Theatre.

Ellison has also been mentored by Chong Tze Chien and Dr Robin Loon in playwriting, and her first full-length play Inheritance was staged last year by The Finger Players. Her acting credits include: Red Sky (Nine Years Theatre), Cafe (Twenty-Something Theatre Festival), Manifesto (The Necessary Stage and Drama Box), Off Centre (The Finger Players), and Temple Reconstructed (Cake Theatrical Productions).

In 2015, Ellison was accepted into the Next Generation Program in Tokyo, a program that aims to grow emerging artists specifically in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences. Ellison is an associate actor with The Finger Players, and a core member of the Nine Years Theatre Ensemble.