In October 2011, a group of youths, comprising Year 1 and Year 2 DADP students and 2 students from Clementi Town Secondary School, presented a Theatre-in-Education (TiE) programme for the Singapore Children’s Society’s Children’s Service Centre in Bedok North.
So what exactly is a Theatre-in-Education programme? A TiE programme consists of a performance and some pre- or post-performance activities. This means the audience do not just watch a play; they watch a play AND participate in fun activities (related to the play) after the play.
Called “Happy-Nest”, this 2-hour TiE programme revolved around the theme of “Happiness” and was presented to a group of 40 children living in rental flats in the Bedok area one sunny Saturday morning.
“Though nerve wrecking at first, working on this project showed us a whole new meaning to the word Drama and how drama is not just about entertaining people with a play. It can also work wonders OFF the stage,” said Zenda Tan from Clementi Town Secondary School.
“When both of us started rehearsing with the DADP students, we were really nervous. We were worried about sticking out like sore thumbs because we had never worked with older, poly students before. But once we stepped into the rehearsal room at SP and saw all the warm smiles and welcomes, we immediately loosened up”, she added.
For this project, Zenda took charge of music and her schoolmate Chua Si Ai took on the role of one of the characters in the play.
“Observing how the DADP students improvise during rehearsals was definitely intriguing and both of us learnt so much just watching them,” said Si Ai.
“Because the theme of the TiE programme was Happiness, it also set us thinking about what happiness meant to us and one of the most memorable points of this experience was when someone said during rehearsals, ‘we can’t be happy all the time’. Those words hit home hard and even made us feel a little embarrassed because we were fretting over a small incident in school at that time,” added Si Ai.
“The most meaningful part of this whole experience was carrying out this programme for the children. As we worked with the children, we learned with them, and even learned from them.”
Alvin, a 1st year DADP student, helping the children write down all they remembered about one of the protagonists in the play