Drama Box and the Social Theatre of Singapore

Published by: Drama Box Ltd and Pagesetters Services Pte Ltd

This pioneering study provides an essential guide to the formative years of Drama Box, a leading Chinese-language theatre company in Singapore. How Wee Ng presents a compelling narrative of how Drama Box has emerged as a prominent force in the field of theatre for social intervention, effectively amplifying the voices of marginalised communities and establishing itself as a foremost advocate of cutting-edge, socially oriented artistic practice. Ng’s in-depth analysis of Drama Box’s most influential works during this pivotal period, and his meticulous examination of the social, political, and economic contexts of their productions, illuminate the remarkable balance the company has achieved in its engagement with government policy, censorship, and financial imperatives, while fiercely defending its artistic autonomy. As well as unveiling the remarkable history of Drama Box, the book offers readers a unique lens through which to understand the complex relationship between the arts and state authority, and the broader socio-cultural and political landscape of contemporary Singapore.

Professor Rossella Ferrari

University of Vienna, Austria; author of Transnational Chinese Theatres: Intercultural Performance Networks in East Asia and Pop Goes The Avant-Garde: Experimental Theatre

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“Against insurmountable odds, Drama Box has become vital to Singapore’s cultural ecosystem. Their commitment to theatre as social service while also being powerful, accessible, and inclusive art that transcends human-made barriers, is an inspiration to us all.” —David Diamond, Founding member of the theatre company Headlines Theatre that became Theatre for Living and creator of the Theatre for Living technique

“Highly critical in thought, this book examines the cultural policies and official history of Singapore within a wider global context.” —Mok Chiu Yu, Founding Member, Centre for Community Cultural Development, Hong Kong

“Examination of a riveting tango between Drama Box and the state in Singapore, where power is renegotiated, where subtle and dramatic moves into the cultural landscape and civil society leave lasting reverberations.” —Janet Pillai, Practitioner-researcher in socially-engaged arts and cultural sustainability

"A groundbreaking monograph on Singapore theatre studies based on the study of Drama Box, showcasing a wealth of primary sources and excellent analysis." —Associate Professor Quah Sy Ren, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore "A very precious monograph that demonstrates comprehensive insight and courage in its candid analysis." —Assistant Professor Yu Shan-Lu , Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan


Ng How Wee


Wong Chee Meng (translator), Shelly Bryant (translator), Liew Kai Khiun (editor)