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N.O.W. 2019

TheatreWorks Writers’ Lab presents N.O.W., a three-week public project. From performance to film, music to visual arts, workshops to talks, N.O.W. spotlights her process, her thoughts and her creation. Experimental, deliciously weird, and yes, fun, these works explore the conversations women creators and thinkers have with the world – and each other.


Sharul Chana 10-part Stand-up Comedy WritingWorksho

10-part Stand-up Comedy Writing Workshop

Conducted By: Sharul Channa

Starts: 24 Jun


Price: $400 (early bird rate before 7 Jun; U.P.: $500)


Are you able to tell a joke or two? Do you make your friends’ sides split with laughter? Why not a try your hand in stand-up comedy? Get into the art of stand-up with a 10-part workshop conducted by Sharul Channa, the only female full-time stand-up comedian in Singapore. You’ll learn how to write jokes in your own voice and perform on a live stage by the end of the course. Limited slots available.


This workshop will Include:

1. A brief background of the stand-up comedy scene in Singapore and beyond

2. The ethics of stand-up comedy

3. Discovering your voice as a comedian

4. Different styles of joke writing/performance

5. A step-by-step guide to writing a joke

6. Hosting a stand-up show

7. Open-mic tips

Week 1

Women's Voice: Perceived or Real Challenge?


Opening panel

Date: 10 Jul, 7.30pm–9pm

Admission: Free (Registration required)

In art and society, how have women's expressions of our place, role and desires changed over time? Where do we go from here? Moderated by N.O.W. Artistic Director Noorlinah Mohamed, this panel will bring together the voices of artists, creators and advocates together for a reflective start to the three-week event.

Apotropaic Texts

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Apotropaic Texts By Marylyn Tan and Zarina Muhammad

Date: 10 Jul, 6.30pm–10pm (Opening) 11–28 Jul (Closed on Mondays), 11am–7.30pm

Admission: Free

Rating: Advisory (Some Mature Content)


Apotropaic Texts is conceived as a mixed media sculptural and performative installation which offers entry points into protective magic and its practical uses, the intergenerational and intercultural (mis)representations of the witch, the nenek kebayan and a miscellany of apotropaic defensive tactics historically used to scare attacking troops; keep dangerous animals at bay; and calm the elements. The exhibition draws largely from both artists’ respective long-term research, practice and creative bodies of work on ritual magic, averting/subverting gender-based archetypes and the varying culturally nuanced principles of power, protection and sorcery. The work is intended to bring into a polyphonic dialogue, the multitudes and positionalities present in each of their individual lived experiences simultaneously, and to make ample space for other voices that have been cast out to return and create a collective chant of protest.

Totems, Talismans, Curios and Pharmacopoeias: A Brief Time-Travelling History of Curses, Conduits and Cures

 Conducted By: Zarina Muhammad

Date: 12 Jul, 7.30pm–9.30pm

Admission: $25 including materials and exhibition tour


This workshop speaks of and to the mythologies, shared memories and contested histories of non-conforming bodies as well as the botanical and zoological situated between life and death, magic and mayhem, healing and killing, the demonised and desired, the domesticated and the feral. Participants will be invited to sift through the different layers of personal memory, collective-documented-archival histories and the fragmented nature of ancestral and regional knowledge on healing and killing and the feared and revered. Through the act of storytelling, ritual and gesture, we will revisit these intergenerational, interregional and cross-cultural narratives and create our own apotropaic texts, signs, marks and letters to them.

Symbols, Secrets, Silences: A Poetry/Art Workshop

 Conducted By: Marylyn Tan

Date: 24 Jul, 3–5pm

Admission: $25 including materials and exhibition tour



This workshop works with existing canons or traditions of women protecting themselves and each other with knowledge passed on to each other, and invites participants to partake in this process by creating texts that are both visual and linguistic which serve to empower them. The first half of the workshop will entail a brief history of some of these symbols and practices of care in both mythology and real-life events. The second half engages participants in creating their own works, inspired by their own cultural context, history and mythos. Preparation: Materials will be provided. However, participants may wish to other materials to work with. These may include paint, chalk, glitter glue, markers, etc. Participants to think of one incident in their life which was empowering or taught them something that eventually helped to protect them.

The Way We Walk With Each Other: An Interdisciplinary Conversation About Apotropaic Symbols, Texts, Gestures and Practices

Featuring: Marylyn Tan, Zarina Muhammad, Hasyimah Harith and Izzaty Ishak

Date: 17 Jul, 7.30pm–9pm

Admission: Free (Registration required)


What kinds of unspoken or understood trauma is marked, carried upon and inherited by certain gendered or non-conforming bodies? What are some strategies of thriving and surviving these narratives and experiences? In this panel conversation, four women speak of the varied ways of averting/ embracing danger, magic as embodied, personal and political, and their respective talismanic tools in carving out care, humour, justice, resistance across the multiple worlds they traverse.

Images by Jeannie Ho & Lim Wee Jin

Three Fat Virgins Unassembled (3FVU)

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Written By: Ovidia Yu
Directed By: Grace Kalaiselvi

Featuring: Chanel Chan, Munah Bagharib, Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai and Zelda Tatiana Ng
Rating: Advisory 16 (Mature Content)

Date: 10–13 Jul, 7.30pm, 13 & 14 Jul, 3pm

Admission: $35 (Concessions* $20)

*Students, Seniors above 62, NSF and people with disabilities


Three Fat Virgins Unassembled (3FVU), Ovidia Yu’s critically acclaimed play written in the early 1990s, is re-assembled with some of the brightest talents in the media and theatre industry today. 3FVU is a pointed and hilarious critique, told by four women learning to accept themselves. Here, female identity is explored through work, education, marriage and parenthood, unveiling the uncertainties and difficulties they face at their workplace as well as at home. In re-staging for the contemporary audience, the question the cast and director Grace Kalaiselvi ask is: Have things changed for women? Are we still struggling with the same concerns? Do women of today have a different story to tell?

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Power of Letters

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Images by Lim Wee Jin

Date: 10 Jul, 6.30pm–10pm (Opening) 11–28 Jul (Closed on Mondays), 11am–7.30pm

Admission: Free

Rating: Advisory (Some Mature Content)


What is the power of brevity? Is letter writing an effective medium of advocacy and to educate and raise awareness for change? The Power of Letters exhibition traces the evolution of letters written by women advocates since 1985. Working within the limits of 400 words, each letter to the Straits Times Forum Page is crafted with precision, yet weighted with conviction to address issues related to women in Singapore. In exhibiting these letters, both unpublished and published, we invite the public to engage with the issues and reflect on the impact they have, or not, in changing attitudes towards women in our society.

Write Forum 1

 Conducted By: Noorlinah Mohamed

Date: 17 & 19 Jul, 3pm–5pm

Admission: $25 including materials and exhibition tour

For: Students aged 15 and above


The workshop engages young minds to consider the effectiveness and the challenges of writing for a cause. Through discussions and written exercises, students will examine samples of published letters (from the exhibition), to analyse the art of persuasion and offering arguments in a public forum and discourse. In doing so, they will reflect on the role of ‘choice’, ‘diverse perspectives’ and the place and role of public opinion in the public domain.

Write Forum 2

Featuring: Constance Singam and Dana Lam

Date: 20 Jul, 11am–1pm

Admission: $25 including materials and exhibition tour


Do you have something to say about the news stories you read in the papers? Are you bothered by issues of injustice or inequality? Writing letters to the papers is one way to express your views. Join Constance Singam and Dana Lam, two established writers and women’s rights activists as they share strategies of getting your ideas across effectively, succinctly and powerfully.

TheatreWorks 24-Hr Playwriting Competition

Date: 13 Jul, 11am to 14 Jul, 11am

Venue: Former Ford Factory, 351 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 588192

Youth Category: 15–18 years old

Open Category: 19 years and above



The TheatreWorks 24-Hr Playwriting Competition is back! First held in 1996, this competition is one of the longest running creative platforms in Singapore. Participants write a completely new play in 24 hours, with various stimuli given throughout the time period. This year’s edition will take place at the historic Former Ford Factory.  In partnership with the South East Community Development Council, the 24-Hr Playwriting Competition aims to nurture and develop playwrights from the community.


Competition Categories:

Youth: 15–18 years old

Open: 19 years and above


Registration Fees:

Youth: $55*

Open: $65*

*Inclusive of a 2-hour basic playwriting workshop on 6 July, 11am-1pm, and a ticket to Three Fat Virgins Unassembled on 10 July, 7.30pm.


Prizes for each category (Youth and Open)

1st: $700

2nd: $500

3rd: $300

Merit: $100



Rayann Condy, Ma Yanling and Jean Tay


Register Below by 28 JUNE

Week 2

Innocents (2012)

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Innocents (2012)

Date: 19 Jul, 7.30pm–9pm

Dir. Wong Chen-Hsi

Duration: 88 min

Language: English & Malay (With English Subtitles)
Rating: PG

Price: $12 (Excluding Sistic Charges)


Set in 1980s Singapore, Syafiqah enters a harsh institution, where she befriends a boy, Ah Huat. Misunderstood and bullied, both outcasts escape into their own world of fantasy and freedom – until tragedy strikes. Don't miss this award-winning coming-of-age story by Singaporean filmmaker Wong Chen-Hsi. 

A Lonely Woman (Kobieta Samotna) (1981)

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A Lonely Woman (Kobieta Samotna) (1981)

Date: 19 Jul, 9.30pm–11pm

Dir. Agnieszka Holland 

Duration: 95 min

Language: Polish (With English Subtitles)
Rating: NC16 (Sexual Scene)

Price: $12 (Excluding Sistic Charges)


A Lonely Woman depicts the life of Irena, whose bleak life is turned upside down by a new love affair, but hopes for a new beginning still seems out of reach. This film was banned for years by the Polish government due to its criticism of Poland’s societal hierarchies.

I Am The Revolution (2018)

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I Am The Revolution (2018)

Date: 20 Jul, 3.30pm–5pm

Dir. Benedetta Argentieri

Duration: 74 min

Language: English, Arabic, Kurdish, Pashtun, Daari (With English Subtitles)
Rating:  Refused Classification

Price: $12 (Excluding Sistic Charges)

This film documents the fight for gender equality by three women in the Middle East. Set in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, these women challenge the stereotypes of the veiled and silent Muslim woman. I Am The Revolution highlights the strength of women in the frontline, fighting for their rights.

Spoor (Pokot) (2017)

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Spoor (Pokot) (2017)

Date: 20 Jul, 5.30pm–7.40pm

Dir. Agnieszka Holland

Duration: 128 min

Language: Polish (With English Subtitles)
Rating:  R21  (Sexual Scene)

Price: $12 (Excluding Sistic Charges)


Janina Duszejko is a seasoned animal-rights advocate who witnesses a series of murders in the Sudetes Mountains. But were these men killed by wild animals… or something else? Described as a ‘feminist version of Django Unchained’, this film by Polish auteur Agnieszka Holland is a must-watch.

Inchoate To Materiality: Process Of Creation

Featuring: Wong Chen-Hsi, Edith Podesta and Akshita Nanda

Date: 20 July, 2pm


Join three indefatigable women creators – Chen-Hsi from film, Edith from theatre and Akshita from literature – as they share an afternoon unpacking their creative minds. What attracts them to create the way they do? How do they begin and when do they know their creation is completed? From bits of information that startle, sights and sounds that prick the imagination, to reflections born out of moments of solitude, these are sparks that begin the process of creation. Each share how they stoke the sub-conscious and awaken the unconscious to let the imagination run wild and thereafter tame to a sense of coherence.

Week 3

Nimita's Place: Staged Reading

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Written By: Akshita Nanda
Directed By:
Edith Podesta

Featuring: Mehr Dudeja, Nicole Hofbauer, Daisy Namdar Irani, Manisha Joshi, Namrata Juneja, Indumathi Tamilselvan

Date: 25–27 Jul, 7.30pm, 27 Jul, 3pm

Admission: $18, plus one drink

Rating: Advisory (Some Mature Content)


Nimita’s Place is a story of two women, both named Nimita. In 1944, Nimita Khosla yearns to attend university, but her parents want her to get married. In 2014, her granddaughter Nimita Sachdev escapes India to run away from the prospects of an arranged marriage.


Two generations apart, the two Nimitas face the same quandaries: who are we, and what is home? With the staged reading, director Edith Podesta navigates the real and the fictional by making audible the voices of the readers who have read the book.


Weaving in verbatim texts with the book’s narratives, the reader is brought into Nimita’s world as another character. In doing so, the readers’ connections to the characters and themes in Nimita’s Place are revealed.

Image courtesy of Epigram

Stand-up: Fresh + Raw

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Date: 26 & 27 Jul, 10pm –11pm

Admission: $18, plus one drink

Rating: Advisory 16 (Mature Content and Coarse Language) 


Fresh from Sharul Channa's 10-part comedy writing workshop, participants will finally debut as stand-up comedians in this exclusive performance night.


Running for two nights, this open-mic style performance will be a safe space for all to kick back, relax and laugh. Hosted by Sharul herself, expect comedy that's authentic, fresh and raw.

First Read: Readings Of New Works By Emerging Playwrights

Well Of Silence

Written By: Aswani Aswath
Directed By:
Grace Kalaiselvi

Featuring: Sharda Harrison, Mumtaz Maricar, Ruban Mohan, and Hemang Yadav

Rating: Advisory (Some Mature Content)

Date: 28 Jul, 11am

Admission: Free (Registration Required)


25-year-old Sanjeevan doesn't believe in many things – that men can run home to look after their babies, do household chores and perform Hindu prayer rituals at home. His single mum, Suseela, believes her breast cancer is a punishment from the gods. She tells him to hide her shame. Suddenly, Sanjeevan is left with a caregiver role he didn't sign up for and struggles to grapple with his dilemma. What happened to "manning up"? 


Well of Silence explores caregiver challenges of adult-children, mortality and deeply entrenched beliefs on masculinity. Who is enabling these cultural systems to thrive? From when? And why?

The Book Of Mothers

Written By: Eleanor Tan
Directed By:
Yeo Yann Yann

Featuring: Isabella Chiam, Edward Choy, Jordan Gan, Joshua Lim, Jo Tan,  Debra Teng, and Jasmine Xie

Rating: Advisory 16 (Mature Content) 

Date: 28 Jul, 2pm

Admission: Free (Registration Required)


Motherhood – It encompasses every genre, from comedy, to tragedy, to courtroom drama, to disaster movie. It is a blessing, a curse, a comfort, a burden, the greatest joy, the deepest pain, and countless other contradictions wrapped up in one life-changing journey. Every woman has been a child, but does that prepare them to become a mother? What are the myths surrounding motherhood, and how do they shape the experience of being a mother? Is a woman truly free to make her own decisions, when her body has been co-opted as residence and food source for another? The Book of Mothers attempts to begin asking these questions through the eyes of Louise, whose complicated relationship with her mother leaves her ambivalent about her own pregnancy and impending motherhood. 

Opening Panel
3 Fat Virgns Unassembled
Week 1
Apotropaic Texts

24-Hr Playwriting Competition

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Power of Letters
24-Hr Playwriting Competition
Week 2
A Lonely Woman
I Am The Revoluton
Inchoate To Materiality
Week 3
First Read
Nimita's Place
Fresh & Raw


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