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5 Things You Don’t Know About… Theatresauce

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Theatresauce is new. Brand new. Their first play, Antigone, opened in July 2016 and their first season officially begins in mid-2017. At the time of the interview, a lot of plans were still in their embryonic stage. What they have already is a clear idea of who they are (“different”) and how they want to do things (“differently”). To start with:

1.  Q: What’s the play about? A: About 70 minutes long.

For Theatresauce, this punchline is a mandate. Artistic director Kelvin Wong is concentrating on spicy bite-sized productions. “He told us he only wants edgy work which is less than 90 minutes long,” explains marketing manager, Nur Zakuan. Why? It has to do with access. 90 minutes is short enough for anyone to swallow. Antigone runs under 75.

2.  The secret’s in the sauce.

As well as short, the productions will be tasty – something you enjoy while you chew and remember long after you’ve put down your napkin. That’s where the collective’s name came from… eventually. “We liked The Hive, but then we found that the name was taken. For a short while they were also ‘Dreamshop’ but that “didn’t reflect who we are. We wanted the word ‘theatre’ in our name.” So they used theatre and added ‘sauce’ because “everything tastes better with sauce”.  Kelvin, reports Nur, wants Theatresauce to be known for its “delicious works of theatre.”

3.  Yes, they have a marketing manager.

Caught that, did you? The collective is made up of nine people, each playing their own role in making Theatresauce a success. “Theatre people tend to reserve all their creativity for their shows.” With the combined imagination of nine artistic brains, Theatresauce has excess creativity to channel into promotion, marketing, strategy and education. Check out the awesomely inventive comics and gifs {Link} churned out by their social media manager UiHua Cheah.

4.  Feeding the masses

“What makes us stick out from the crowd, not that there’s much of a crowd to stick out from, is that we are a social enterprise.” What this means is that even though they are not a non-profit, they plan to engage the community and give something back. One person in the group has already been assigned to community outreach. Starting with schools, Theatresauce will eventually “engage people of all ages to learn about theatre and the performing arts.”

And speaking of feeding the hungry, Theatresauce will be nurturing a neglected area of the theatre arts.  “Kelvin trained in directing and rather than teaching acting skills, we’re going to be director-writer focused; all our classes, all our development programs, all our residencies, will have that focus.” I learn that the writers have already started meeting and, in preparation for a showcase in 2017, will continue to do so at their new HQ in USJ.

5.  Boldly going where no theatre group has gone before

Having lived in Sea Park long enough to have grown roots and geographic prejudices, I have to ask: Why USJ?

It’s uncharted territory, says Nur, not really answering the question. Still not answering it, she adds: “Eight out of nine of us, do not live in USJ. The ninth, is the artistic director grew up in USJ and that’s where he wanted Theatresauce to be.”

These younger, cheerier folk find the director’s decision charming rather than despotic.

“The LRT will stop right outside,” says UiHua.

“And it’s next to a shopping mall,” adds Nur loyally. “So it’s convenient…ish”

Still, my narrow mind has to admit that this is yet another smart move by the nascent company. As painful as I used to find the commute into USJ, I liked what I saw when I was there – a vibrant, self-sustained, family-oriented township. Certainly a place that deserves and will likely appreciate Theatresauce.  

And as Nur reminds me, “What was Sentul before klpac?”

What is certain is that Theatresauce has the potential to be something great. And convenient-ish or not, will make any trip worth your while.

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Amy De Kanter
Amy De Kanter

Former Chief Editor, frequent contributor and enthusiastic audience member, Amy is thrilled to have a job that lets her do three of the things she loves most.