I create works that are participatory and subvert notions of eco-performance as being entirely didactic. Stories are expressed in cross-genre performances/new performance formats - such as devised plays, theatre-meets-dining, digital experiences or multidisciplinary installations.
Each process begins in collaboration with researchers, gastronomists, farmers, botanists or scientists and it always involves the local community. 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.
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).
Other than spotlighting climate-focused stories through the lens of hyper-local issues, my practice also considers the various degrees of an integrated ecological practice, such as Digital Theatre, context-specific green practices and advocacy.
Talks & Interviews:
Ecoscenography Book Launch at World Stage Design 2022
(World Stage Design, Calgary)
Youth Ecosperity Conference 2022
(Temasek Foundation, Singapore)
Discussing a 'Climate Manifesto' in 2022: https://www.facebook.com/SingLitStation/videos/461946012140009/
(SingLit Station, Singapore)
(The Centre For Sustainable Practice In The Arts)
Journey Through a Green Purpose: Creative Industries Panel 2021
(Seastainable Co., Singapore)
See below for selected projects:
Pickle Party - community pickling meets live-streamed multimedia installation & performance
Extinction Feast - an immersive theatrical monologue about one man's climate anxiety through the lens of fish consumption
Poppy - an interactive Zoom play for youths
Recess Time (On Tour) - an intercultural dining experience that spotlights locally-sourced rescued produce
Recess Time - a participatory 'rescued produce' dining experience
Practice Tuckshop - a programming space
I want audiences to be surprised, moved & be slightly uncomfortable as they re-examine their relationship with the everyday extraordinary. Theatre as a total experience is exactly why art is so essential in this
Pickle Party is a long-term research inquiry into Asian-focused pickling and fermentation practices that will eventually culminate in a theatrical encounter -
a multi-sensory outdoor installation with music, live performance, pickles & good vibes. Version 1.0 was commissioned by Singapore Night Festival 2022.
Extinction Feast (2022)
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.
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.
《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.)
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 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.
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.
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:
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)
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.'
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.
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.
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
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
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..."
This section includes highlights of some of our media coverage.
Get to know: Ang Xiao Ting
In that sense, Recess Time is a simple form of outreach. It is a service; a quick respite. It brings neighbours together, and it is a wonderful springboard for all kinds of stories to emerge. I also hope word gets out, and we get to meet new friends and make new connections with people who may not necessarily step foot into the theatre.
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.
Practice Tuckshop [2017-present]
58 WATERLOO STREET
As the programmer of Practice Tuckshop, I am in charge of curating and creating programmes for the f&b space located within the premises of a conserved shophouse in Singapore. All programmes, including the running of the space, consistently integrates green practices, such as reducing and converting food waste.
Welcome to Practice Tuckshop — a key programme of The Theatre Practice (Practice). It aims to be a creative playground, bringing together artists and audiences in a community atmosphere.
Located at the heart of the Waterloo Street Arts Belt, Practice Tuckshop is a cafe that celebrates the Practice kampung hospitality. Friends, families and creatives can gather over a cup of tea or coffee, cosy up with a selection of books by local celebrated playwrights , hold brainstorming meetings, or just drop by.
Run by a team of Tuckshop Guniangs, programmes at Practice Tuckshop are curated around unexpected intersectionalities. Past examples include: Food meets Storytelling! Differently-abled dancers meet intimate cafe quarters! The possibilities are endless. Practice Tuckshop programming is also artist-driven, hoping to cultivate a space where different communities can converge. With an open-door policy, we really mean it when we say: All are welcome!
Since its opening, Practice Tuckshop has been an advocate for sustainability in green practices. As this is an on-going effort, we constantly revise how to green-up our act!
Ang Xiao Ting, Joey Cheng, Sim Xin Yi, Leslie Choo