"Here at Theatre OX, we are looking to rediscover what is before theatre. What else is unknown to us? Could we re-understand the human being? "
(quote taken from the programme booklet of War Valley Tiger Dream)
Established in 1995, Theatre OX sought to establish a stable ensemble of performers committed to long-term theatre training. The team of core members include Ang Gey Pin, Lee Chee Keng, Tan Pei Hwee, Koh Leng Leng, Beverly Low Yuen Wei, and Julius Foo were in search of members with the courage and capacity to take on systematic work in the craft of performing.
Training was exacting and long: the collective trained for 5 days a week, for at least 7 hours each day, and at certain points also involved weekly travels to Pulau Ubin, in which the performer’s body was nourished by nature.
The need sprang up from the shortage of systematic training in Singapore in the late 1990s, and mainstream theatre, due to its logistical and time constraints, were often production-oriented, and which processes could risk compromising creativity.
It was common for actors and directors to come together randomly for each production, working for eight to twelve weeks, and then separating. Each production requires that the creative process begins again at zero, and actors oftentimes find themselves relying on techniques already known to oneself.
Theatre OX believed that a profound creative process in performance requires not only time, but also the security of a stable group of individuals, who are willing to give themselves into the process of confronting their own limitations, and then working to overcome those limitations.
THE BODY IN NATURE
When Theatre OX was in search of a space close to nature that was conducive for training, they found an abandoned Zen Temple at Pulau Ubin, an offshore island in Singapore. After some considerable cleaning and tidying, the space became a base for trainings and performances. Theatre OX travelled to Pulau Ubin every Monday, and stayed overnight for five days during the course of rehearsals and training, returning to mainland Singapore for the weekends.
Photographs taken during the training process for A Memory Search, at Pulau Ubin.
A JOURNEY IN THE CRAFT OF PERFORMANCE
An audio recording of Sasitharan Thirunalan extracted from a casette, taken from a dialogue session in War Valley Tiger Dream.
A Q&A taken from the programme booklet of War Valley Tiger Dream, regarding the work of Theatre OX.
ON THE WORK OF THEATRE OX:
A page from a programme booklet, featuring comments on the work of Theatre OX.
Taken from The Straits Times, local newspaper coverage.