Ngiam Su-Lin & Ko Siew Huey
Peer Pleasure has always been about giving young people the opportunity to hone their skills in the CRAFT of theatre as well as to offer a platform to give VOICE to their social concerns. We are glad that with this year’s offering, we are moving closer to that ideal state.
In our third year of this festival, we are excited to unveil new developments in the programming and lineup. This year, we have moved towards showcasing original works with a diverse range of social themes in all the plays presented. These are either devised, crowdsourced, or in a first for our festival, commissioned. There is also a greater diversity of groups represented, with the inclusion of works by a voluntary welfare organisation and a youth collective.
Our partners have been integral to the success of the festival since the beginning. Last year, M1 came on board as title sponsor. This partnership is further strengthened this year with their commitment to supporting the inaugural M1 Theatre Ninja Programme, a unique practical course that will equip young people with the knowledge and skills in production and stage management as well as lighting and design. We are also grateful to Esplanade for giving the festival a home and expanding the performance venue to include not only the Recital Studio, but also the Theatre Studio.
As the festival grows, it will require more support from existing and new partners in order to continue developing and commissioning original works, a more resource intensive endeavor than staging existing plays. This is because we want to amplify these youth voices and provide the necessary mentorship to enable them to communicate their ideas in creative and compelling ways.
It takes a community to raise a new generation of civic and cultural leaders. We invite you to join us in making this happen.
When I reflect on The Other, I think of tolerance, understanding, acceptance and it can get rather daunting. Difference is hard work. People break away because difference appears in their relationships. The audacity of choosing inclusivity, diving headlong into the embrace of difference is therefore a goal that some may call naive. So what does that mean and how do we unpack this?
At the most obvious level, The Other can be perceived as our detractors or enemies, those we stand in opposition to in terms of beliefs and worldviews. It is that and more than that. We often fail to acknowledge that we ourselves, individually, are multi-layered and multi-dimensional. The public persona we present may be different from the private one we inhabit. How do we confront The Other in ourselves? Can we see ourselves in The Other?
The Other is a gift to us all. Difference confronts us to think more deeply about what, how and why we value life. How are we reflexive enough not to judge those different from us? Can we celebrate difference? When can we reach a point where diversity is something positive rather than just taking comfort in hanging out only with like-minded beings?
This year’s Peer Pleasure puts the spotlight on people who may be different from ourselves. When what is normalised is disturbed, our lives get disrupted and we enjoy the opportunity to redeem ourselves from ignorance, prejudice and hopefully discrimination against those we do not agree with. Can we aspire towards bridging the gap rather than reverting to the default of using power to resolve difference?
Have a thought and give The Other a serious thinking through.