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Eco-Theatre

I make participatory theatre expressed as cross-genre performances; such as devised plays, lecture performances, digital works and multidisciplinary installations.

My practice also prioritises the various dimensions of an intersectional ecological practice, such as digital theatre, ecologically-focused processes and

advocacy-driven communication strategies.

1. I am especially interested in systems that organise the world through food, with a focus on Southeast-Asian foodways. Food as material. Food as context.

2. Each process begins in collaboration with the local community, such as ground-up activist groups, researchers, gastronomists, farmers, botanists or scientists.

In 2022, Recess Time received an 'Honourable Mention' out of hundreds of submissions across 6 continents at #CreateCOP27 - a global open call for art in response to the climate emergency and COP27. It was shortlisted out of 727 submissions to be included in 2021 The Social Art Award Book: New Greening, organised by The Institute for Art and Innovation. Recess Time was also featured in Ecoscenography: An Introduction to Ecological Design & Performance (Tanja Beer).

Features & Talks

https://vogue.sg/career-files-ang-xiao-ting-eco-theatre/

(Vogue Singapore)

Sustainability Symposium at Alternative Ecology: The Community

(Singapore Art Week 2024)

Adapting to a Changing Climate | Leaner, Cleaner and Greener how art and arts centres reckon with the climate crisis

(Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centres Conference 2023)

Culture for Climate Symposium: Supporting the transition to sustainability in the performing arts 2023

(Griffith University, Performance and Ecology Research Lab)

Ecoscenographic Futures at PQ Talks 

(Prague Quadrennial 2023)

Ecoscenography Book Launch 

(World Stage Design 2022, Calgary)

 

Youth Ecosperity Conference 2022

(Temasek Foundation, Singapore)

Discussing a 'Climate Manifesto' in 2022

https://www.facebook.com/SingLitStation/videos/461946012140009/ 

(SingLit Station, Singapore)

https://sustainablepractice.org/2021/01/31/community-engaged-eco-theatre-action-interview-with-xiao-ting-singapore/  

(The Centre For Sustainable Practice In The Arts)

http://kxchange.org/talk-exchange-performance-ecology-and-the-climate-emergency/  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb0GO7wRo8Q&t=983s

(kXchange.org, Philippines)

Journey Through a Green Purpose: Creative Industries Panel 2021

(Seastainable Co, Singapore)

See below for selected projects:

Pickle Party - 2-shows-in-1: a show disguised as a pickling workshop (in-person) + an interactive performance lecture (online). Pickling as metaphor and tangible response to food security and #FutureOfFood

Extinction Feast - an immersive theatrical monologue about one man's climate anxiety through the lens of Chinese culture & fish consumption

Poppy - an interactive Zoom play for youths about climate activismsocial media

Recess Time (On Tour) - an intercultural performance lecture that spotlights food waste via the lens of 

locally-sourced 'ugly produce'

Recess Time (Indoors) - a long-running micro performance lecture that spotlights food waste via the lens of food rescue 

Practice Tuckshop a programming arm of The Theatre Practice

Pickle Party (2023)

Supported by the National Arts Council Sector Transformation Grant,

Pickle Party had a closed-door presentation in December. 

Pickle Party has 3 different audience experiences.

Audiences choose 1 out of 3.


1️⃣ Picklers: take part in a pickling workshop and learn to prepare 2 types of pickles (no cooking experience needed)
2️⃣ Observers (In-Person): attend a performance lecture at a performance venue 
3️⃣ Observers (Online): attend an interactive Digital Theatre performance, hosted on our Digital Theatre website.

 

For more information about presenting this show, do get in touch. 

Pickle Jars.jpg

Pickle Party 

A show disguised as a pickling workshop, Pickle Party is a living, multidisciplinary, multi-species performance. Set against the backdrop of Singapore’s rapid development from farmland to modern city, it dives into how humans, microbes and food security are connected in the climate crisis.

Actor-facilitators will work with members of the local community who will be the picklers

and become social scenography.

Witness the power of edible hope!

I want audiences to be surprised, moved & even be slightly uncomfortable as they re-examine their relationship with the everyday extraordinary. Theatre as a total experience is exactly why art is absolutely essential in this
climate transition.

Extinction Feast (2022)

《鮽宴》

Live Foley Station

Synopsis

Jeff wants to do the right thing. So does his brother. And his mother. And his sister-in-law. So an important discussion over family dinner should go smoothly… right?


Inspired by Eating Chilli Crab in the Anthropocene, Extinction Feast is a playful black comedy about Asian culture, fish consumption and our pesky conscience. Director Ang Xiao Ting assembles an international team of collaborators to create a multidisciplinary theatrical feast combining performance, multimedia and live foley. Blending storytelling and dining, the production also features canapés by Ah Hua Kelong. Extinction Feast is a Practice Tuckshop production, and was first staged to a sold-out run at Singapore Writers’ Festival 2021.


Extinction Feast 2022_edited.jpg

Reviews

Director Ang Xiao Ting, helped prodigiously by her creative team, does an excellent job of immersing the audience in this experimental, one-man meditation on climate anxiety [...] Still, it is a call for viewers to be more conscious about consumption habits, without feeling didactic. Through Jeff’s relationship with a garrulous ikan bilis, Extinction Feast manages to make a much-discussed topic feel fresh. It is an entertaining watch, and Marko deserves all the praise he gets.

https://www.straitstimes.com/life/theatre-review-extinction-feast-an-inventive-experimental-eco-play-on-climate-anxiety

《鮽宴》正是⼀部具有强烈“⽣态剧场(eco-theatre)”意识的创作,⽽这种意识不仅体现在剧本的主题和题材⽅⾯。创作团队在作品发展过程中⾛出戏剧圈⼦,与阿华奎笼合作,将剧场作品的⽣命⼒延展⾄剧场空间以外,持续与不同社群交流和对话。(Extinction Feast is a theatre production that truly displays the spirit of what Eco-Theatre can be. Other than the themes and choice of narrative, the team went beyond the theatre to work with Ah Hua Kelong and in doing so, extended the work to the community.)

https://www.zaobao.com.sg/lifestyle/culture/story20221119-1334744

Extinction Feast

Creative Team

Cast (Jeff): Andrew Marko; (Hei Shifu): Ferry

Director: Ang Xiao Ting

Playwright (Text): Nabilah Said

Playwright (Film): Lee Wai Lok

Research Dramaturg/Additional Text: Sim Xin Yi

Production Dramaturg: Kuo Jian Hong

Researcher/Documentor: Leslie Choo

Set Desigher: Chen Szu-Feng

Scenic Artist/Craftsman: Lee Bee Bee

Lighting Designer: Faith Liu Yong Huay

Multimedia Designer: Elizabeth Mak

Sound Designer: Ferry

Sound Engineer: Sandra Tay

Costume Designer: MAX.TAN

Food Concept: Ah Hua Kelong (Kai Wen and Kai)

Producer/Production Manager: Joey Cheng

Extinction Feast

Extinction Feast 2021《鮽宴》

A commission by Singapore Writer's Festival 2021

Inspired by Eating Chilli Crab in the Anthropocene, Extinction Feast is a humorous tale about the disjunct between our relationship with our favourite fish dishes, the price we are willing to pay, and all the annoying micro-decisions in-between. Assuming you have the luxury of choice, what would you do?

Extinction Feast is available in English OR Mandarin, in two different formats - in-venue or digital.

Extinction Feast (In-venue): Combining performance, video, while dining on tiny hors d’oeuvres, we question if our voracious appetite for consumption can ever be sated.

Extinction Feast (Digital): Combining interactive elements with live performance, this digital theatre production pokes fun at the age-old conundrum of what it means to Do Good in the age of consumption.

Poppy
Virtual International Tour 2022

In collaboration with XIMI Technology

Created by The Theatre Practice and Good Work, XIMI is an integrated hardware and software
system that delivers a streamlined digital theatre space for seamless livestream performances.
The light-weight microcomputer is designed to address two main challenges in digital production:
Latency in live audio-visual feed and a lack of “backstage” space.

Poppy is 1 of 6 international projects selected to test the XIMI prototype in its first phase of development.

Eco-Theatre x Digital Theatre

The future of touring & its concerns about sustainability is as much about communicating ecological narratives, as creating hardware and software that enables different ways of creation to be possible. With XIMI, artists can leverage on a platform specific to needs of live performance, i.e. not a video conferencing tool, to enable possibilities of international collaboration. The narrative of a sustainable eco system isn't simply about calculating carbon cost, but the creation of different possibilities. 

This mode of thinking is translated into the fact that XIMI is designed to be an open-source software, free for artists around the world to use.

XIMI prototype

Poppy: A 'made-for-the-internet' Theatre Experiment 
[2020 - present]

Responding to theatre doyen Kuo Pao Kun’s Silly Little Girl and The Funny Old Tree, POPPY follows the story of a teenage environmentalist in present-day Singapore. It combines interactive elements, animation, Instagram, Telegram, camera wizardry and live performance to tell a re-imagined tale about loss and the fight to protect what you love.


This live-streamed performance is the first of a long-running advocacy project that hopes to engage young people (ages 14-18) in climate-focused narratives. It can be performed in English, or Mandarin. This performance will be hosted on Zoom and Telegram.


To interact with the performer, please download the app Telegram prior to the show.

Who is Poppy? Check out her instagram profile (@p0_ppys_ok123), or access her page here: 

https://www.instagram.com/p0_ppys_ok123/?igshid=zelf7zgik7fd


CREATIVE TEAM:

Ang Xiao Ting, FERRY, Zoea Tania Chen, Jon Chan, Joey Cheng, Kuo Jian Hong, Mary Bernadette Lee, Sim Shao Jean, Woo E-hui, Third Street Studio (EL), Edit & Play (CL)

CAST:

Ang Xiao Ting, Masturah Oli (EL), Ng Mun Poh (CL), Tan Beng Chiak

POPPY would like to thank the following partners and supporters:
National Arts Council Digital Presentation Grant, The Theatre Practice, Nature Society (Singapore) and Jane Goodall Institute (Singapore)

'I thought the discussion at the end was very well executed and prompted meaningful discussions, which I believe was, in part due to the brilliant nuancing of the script and acting. Unlike some 'youth' theatre/projects that, at times, can feel patronising when tackling challenging issues,  this piece was highly engaging and in no way felt didactic. It was evident that a considerable amount of research, collaboration and development went behind the scenes, and most importantly, the respect for young people's ability to think and engage in conversations.'  

Poppy

International Tours

2021 onwards

For the international tour version, our creative team will work with local artists to curate the conversation after the performance. It should reflect local anxieties related to the climate crisis. 

Tour info: poposays.com 

Duration: 80 minutes

Audience size should not exceed 100.

Key%20Visual_edited.jpg

Collaboration with Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre and The Theatre Practice Education Project

2021-2022

For the school tour version, please click on the link below to find out more!

Ugly Produce

Recess Time (On Tour)

2022: World Stage Design Calgary

Hear good stories, eat good stories! Recess Time (On Tour) is a travelling “ugly produce” communal dining experience that combines cooking, conversation and storytelling for a meal unlike any other! Centring "food waste management" as a means for cross-cultural exchange, this unforgettable experience invites participants to reflect on their culinary traditions over a two-course meal.

Each course consists of a family recipe from a migrant homecook living in the designated country and a matching Singaporean dish - adapted to feature native ingredients and salvaged produce. Mealtime conversations are facilitated and documented by roaming interviewers, known as “kaypoh (busybody) kings/queens”.

In 2022, Practice Tuckshop also launched a digital 5-year anniversary compilation of crowd-sourced recipes and stories that were gathered by the kaypoh kings/queens over 50 sessions of Recess Time. This anthology will be updated on a yearly basis.

RT Calgary_3.jpeg

Pre-show

Working virtually with a local artist-coordinator who will assist with the field research on food systems in the local context, the menu and script for each Recess Time will reflect this process. For example, in 2022, I had online cooking classes with a home-cook based on Toronto.

Image courtesy of: Tim.Nguyen

Touring

In the spirit of site-responsiveness and budget considerations, we prioritised the lifespan of materials used - compostable tableware, ugly produce as centerpieces, QR codes on laminated table-mats meant that we could reuse set design components and we travelled with whatever baggage allowance we were allocated. On-site, the only energy that was consumed was the gas stove, as well as the sound system.

Image courtesy of: Tim.Nguyen

RT_Calgary 1.jpeg
RT Calgary_2.jpeg

2022  

Artists create necessary conditions for specific outcomes and Recess Time

(On Tour) is in many ways, a story circle between the host (myself) + kaypoh queens & the audience, between non-humans (produce) & humans & finally, amongst friends.

Special thanks to: yyc.zerowaste, World Stage Design, Leftovers Foundation: Calgary, ContainR by Springboard

"It's wonderful to be in a space that feels hopeful - it gets a bit doom and gloom. Think I really needed this..."

Recess Time (Indoors)

2017 - present

Food waste is one of the biggest waste streams in Singapore and makes up 10 percent of total waste generated. This issue is compounded by the fact that Singapore imports almost 90% of our food.

Recess Time is an “ugly produce” lunch party at the heart of the Singapore arts district. It is a long-running participatory work that stages a social event, i.e. lunch, as the site for performance and engagement. Serving up over 2,000 meals over five years, this programme combines the art of cooking, making conversations, and storytelling into a single encounter. 


Invited home cooks and professional chefs, known as “Makan Masters”, go on veggie rescue missions in their local communities to salvage unwanted or ugly produce. They then incorporate the rescued produce in a 3-course menu of their choosing.

Recess Time conversations are also documented using an auto-ethnographic approach by a floating interviewer, known as the “Kaypoh” (Busybody) Queen/King. Stories from the participants are then recorded inside the Recess Journal, which also contain messages from past chefs, photos and food-waste friendly recipes.

The feature below is part of The Arts Can Inspire Your Everyday campaign (2023) and placed in MRT stations

all around Singapore. This is an initiative by the National Arts Council and Singapore Tourism Board. 

'Recess Time' is part of the 2023 The Arts Can Inspire Your Everyday campaign.