Children's Theatre in Singapore has garnered increasing interest over the years. We noticed an increasing number of shows each year as well as growing interest by parents to bring their kids to catch these performances.
There are many children theatre festivals happening throughout the year, these add to the vibrancy of the local children's theatre scene and shows are usually well-loved by many families too!
But did you know that the National Arts Council also organises the Arts in Your Neighbourhood programme which takes place in March and November each year? Aimed at encouraging Singaporean to embrace arts and culture in their lives, it brings arts experiences into the heartlands and usually involves affordable family and children-friendly performances for the enjoyment of every family!
But why expose children to theatre? What are the benefits for doing so? We spoke with Mr Lyon Goh, General Manager of Paper Monkey Theatre on his thoughts about this.
Paper Monkey Theatre will be performing Hug The Tree on 14 and 15 March 2020 as part of an array of exciting programmes lined-up for March's Arts in Your Neighbourhood. This year's AYN will be focus on the town of Bukit Panjang with over 40 arts activities for everyone!
Who is Paper Monkey Theatre?
Paper Monkey Theatre Ltd prides itself with traditional Asian puppetry and quality theatre production. Ever since inception from April 2008, Paper Monkey has been showcasing children-orientated theatre productions and workshops, using traditional puppetry as the primary medium.
We hope to develop a theatre space just for children, a place where children and families can enjoy quality performances with their hearts, a cosy space where audiences can watch puppetry up-close and appreciate it as an unique theatrical art form, an unforgettable experience where audiences are reminded of our Asian culture and values.
Why should children be exposed to theatre?
We believe that through the stories and performances that they see, theatre allows children to relate with our world and the existing issues around us. Through theatre, they can take back important life lessons while being entertained in a non-serious setting.
The theatre setting also allows them to feel that they are not alone when we address life issues too.
What can children learn through theatre performances?
Ways of expressing themselves, they learn that not everyone is the same and our methods of expressing ourselves and our thoughts differs from one another. Through theatre, children can be shown that there are many different ways to express their thoughts and convey them to the people around them.
Creativity and out of the box thinking, since theatre and arts exists in many forms, these different forms can trigger creativity and inculcate a sense of imagination. By exposing children to the many forms of theatre and arts, we hope that children can be educated on the different messages being convey and be challenged to step out of their comfort zone to do things that are out of the box.
Knowledge and values, different programmes imparts different knowledge and values to the children. For Hug The Tree, we hope that through this interactive theatre play, we imbue in the young audiences values of bravery, determination, perseverance, staying true and acting upon one's belief.
Any personal stories to tell?
I like to share a personal experience on how theatre can help children pick up ways of expressing themselves.
My 4 years old god-daughter attended her first theatre experience at our mini puppetry festival, No Strings Attached 2019. While she is normally an active kid, she was totally engrossed in the show and kept her full attention for the entire 30 minutes performance!
She went on to complete 2 different performances on the same day. Now, she has taken up the habit of role-playing with her dolls at home, expressing her thoughts and ideas about her time in school and about her teachers and friends.
How can children be exposed to theatre?
There are many art groups, community clubs and schools offering various programmes all the time.
At Paper Monkey Theatre, we perform and conduct puppetry workshops periodically at various public venues. These activities are a fun alternative for the whole family, and we hope more parents will look out for them.
What do you feel about the Arts in Your Neighbourhood programme?
Having participated in previous editions of AYN, we experienced first-hand the reach and support AYN was able to gather from the public. By reaching out to a wide audience, AYN helps theatre groups like ourselves share our art with more people, and also exposes our local audience to the different types of arts, thus strengthening the notion of Arts CAN BE, and IS for everyone.
This article is written with support from the National Arts Council Singapore and Paper Monkey Theatre, in support of the Arts in Your Neighbourhood 2020. To find out more about this year's programmes, visit Arts For All.