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Photograph: Pangdemonium

These local theatre companies are standing in solidarity amid concerns over coronavirus

Dewi Nurjuwita
Written by
Dewi Nurjuwita

In the midst of postponement of events and show cancellations of major touring companies due to coronavirus health concerns, three local theatre companies are standing in solidarity. Pangdemonium, Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) and Wild Rice are aiming to build a stronger and more resilient community around theatre performances and great storytelling. A shared social media campaign is underway, with all three companies offering a 15 per cent discount to ticket holders for each other’s shows – namely The Son (Pangdemonium), The Lifespan Of A Fact (SRT), or The Importance Of Being Earnest (Wild Rice). 

As cancelling a production has a huge financial impact for both the companies and actors, the collaboration helps to offset the costs incurred by both the companies and actors. But the three companies have all implemented measures following the Ministry of Health's recommended guidelines for keeping their patrons and staff safe, including temperature screening of all staff, visitors and patrons, frequent sanitisation of premises, and providing anti-bacterial handwash and hand sanitisers. "We're trying to stay sane and healthy whilst ensuring that 'the show goes on', says SRT's Managing Director Charlotte Nors. 

In a joint press statement, Artistic Directors of Pangdemonium Adrian and Tracie Pang says: “[The Son's] message of family, survival and how we navigate crisis could not be more prescient and resonant at this time. The purpose of theatre is to unite us in times of division, to empower us when we are weakened, and to remind us that we have to keep fighting on in the face of adversity. And as long as we do not succumb to hysteria, paranoia and fear-mongering, and every one of us exercises personal responsibility, vigilance and, above all, common sense, we believe that life, as well as the show, must go on.”

Ivan Heng, Artistic Director of Wild Rice, shares similar sentiments. “Throughout history, the theatre has been a place for a community to come together, so that we can all feel less alone and fearful in uncertain times. Audiences at The Importance of Being Earnest are laughing and cheering louder than ever. It’s uplifting and life-affirming."

However, not all shows can go on. In light of MOE's precautionary measures to minimise the congregation of students in large numbers, SRT's performances of Fly High has been affected. "We have cut four weeks of the planned run, which was scheduled to premiere on February 19, but now only starts on March 21. This is in line with MOE's cancellation of all school outings until after the March holidays. Hopefully, by then we are back to normal," says Charlotte. "All our Learning & Engagement programmes involving children has also been cancelled until further notice." 

Other theatre performances that are still going on include The Theatre Practice's Four Horse Road and Underground's Hurstville: The Heir, both immersive plays that take over a street or restored shophouse. 

Show your support and get your tickets on the respective websites today. 

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