Nine Years Theatre is a Singapore Mandarin theatre company co-founded by Nelson Chia and Mia Chee. The company focuses on the re-imagination of classic work and the creation of new work. Our Mandarin productions (with surtitles) have attracted audiences from all language backgrounds with their consistency in quality and a cultural sensibility in translation and adaptation. We also collaborate with local and international arts groups in cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary work.
We believe in actor training. Our works are therefore often being described as grounded in the actors' art. We are the only company in Singapore that works with an ensemble of actors that train regularly on a long-term basis via systematic methods. Furthermore, we also share these training methods and philosophy with the community through classes and open training platforms. Under artistic director Nelson’s leadership, the NYT Ensemble is currently developing a performance approach known as the “The Paradoxical Body: The NYT Actors’ Work”.
In order to engage our audience beyond our productions, the company has continuously explored various ways of holding dialogue sessions with them. Our efforts are rooted in the belief that audiences should not merely consume art, but be offered the opportunity to discuss art.
Nine Years Theatre Ltd. is a charity with IPC status. Nine Years Theatre is supported by the National Arts Council under the Major Company Scheme for the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2022.
Nelson is an actor, director and theatre educator.
He has been an active player on the Singapore stage for more than two decades, taking on numerous major and leading roles in English and Mandarin productions. He is a two-time winner in the Best Actor category in The Straits Times' Life! Theatre Awards for his performance in a 100-minute, one-man show White Soliloquy (2010) and A Language Of Their Own (Singapore Arts Festival 2012).
As a director, he is known for his detailed and tight ensemble work on stage and his translation and re-imagination of classics in Mandarin. He is a four-time winner in the Best Director category in the Straits Times' Life! Theatre Awards (Twelve Angry Men, 2014. Art, 2015. Art Studio, 2018. Pissed Julie, 2019). He was the first Singapore artist to be commissioned for three consecutive years by the Esplanade to present works at the Huayi Chinese Festival of Arts. His other works include Oleanna, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, An Enemy of the People, Tartuffe, The Lower Depths, Red Demon, Red Sky and Cut Kafka!, Lear Is Dead and First Fleet to name a few. In 2017, he was commissioned by the Singapore International Festival of Arts to open the festival with Art Studio, a stage adaptation of the novel by local award-winning author Yeng Pway Ngon.
A graduate of Goldsmiths College, London (MA in Directing) and the National University of Singapore (BA Theatre Studies), Nelson has headed the Department of Theatre at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, and also lectured at Lasalle College of the Arts and the Theatre Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore. He was the Associate Artistic Director of Toy Factory Productions (2003 - 2013), a Resident Artist with The Theatre Practice (2000 - 2002), an Associate Artist with The Substation (2007 - 2009), and a founding member of the ensemble collective A GROUP OF PEOPLE (2008 - 2012). In 2017, he was awarded a 3-year fellowship with the International Society for Performing Arts in New York. He currently sits on the examination board of the Intercultural Theatre Institute in Singapore.
In 2012, Nelson co-founded Nine Years Theatre (NYT) with his wife Mia Chee. Within a few years, NYT has grown to become one of the key players in the scene. Through his artistic direction, he has managed to not only rejuvenate the Singapore Mandarin theatre scene with his work, but raised the awareness of actor training among the artistic community. Since 2008, he has been training regularly in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training and Viewpoints. He studied both methods with SITI Company in New York, and trained in the Suzuki Method and performed in the Toga Festival with the Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT) in Japan. In 2013, he created the NYT Ensemble (NYTE) with an aim to establish a stable company of ensemble actors who train regularly in a systematic way, and create work together over an extended period of time. Under Nelson’s leadership, the NYT Ensemble is currently developing a performance approach known as the “NYT Actors’ Work”. To date, the NYT Ensemble is the only actor ensemble of this nature in Singapore.
Mia is an actor, theatre producer and theatre educator, also co-founder and Company Director of Nine Years Theatre.
She found her love in performing at the age of 9 when she joined Rediffusion's children radio drama group. Since then, she has been performing in school through her teenage years and eventually graduated with a BA in Theatre Studies and Chinese Language from the National University of Singapore.
In addition to that, Mia was in the 2nd batch of students training under the former Theatre Training and Research Programme (now known as Intercultural Theatre Institute) and studied close to 2 years, before becoming a proud mother to her twin daughters.
She has worked with various theatre companies such as Toy Factory Productions Ltd, Dramabox, The Theatre Practice, The Necessary Stage and TheatreWorks. Recent works include Dear Elena, First Fleet, FAUST/US, Lear Is Dead, Pissed Julie, Cut Kafka!, Art Studio, Red Sky, Red Demon, The Lower Depths, Tartuffe, An Enemy of the People, The Bride Always Knocks Twice and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Macau Arts Festival 2013).
Mia studied Viewpoints with SITI Company (New York) and Suzuki Method of Actor Training with SITI and Suzuki Company of Toga (Japan).