How did The Haque Collective come about?
We believe in the positive force of a global community to impact individual destiny. The craft of our democratic collective of global artists, all connected by the HCAC family, responds to the richness, diversity and complexity that is Singapore. We produce and present made-with-Singapore, original, contemporary, groundbreaking, provocative, culturally diverse work for the stage and screen.
What is the point of the collective?
Because of its relative youth, the existing theatrical landscape in Singapore is small and as such cannot yet provide the variance of roles reflective of the extremely broad cosmopolitan population found here. So many wonderful and dedicated performers here unfortunately are not afforded the opportunities they deserve simply because of their background, experience, vague ethnicity or appearance. As such, the collective seeks to provide roles for these people.
While there are some drama groups that cater to this community, there are even fewer still that are able to perform work written in-house by a professional writer. Our playwright, James Thoo, has been a screenwriter by profession in LA for over a decade now, and by virtue of marrying a Singaporean woman, now finds himself here workshopping and developing original material for production. Our director, Kamil Haque, a Singaporean of multi-ethnic heritage, has spent over 30 years in the performing arts producing, directing and acting in several award-winning and critically-acclaimed productions in Singapore, USA, Malaysia and Australia. Both James and Kamil facilitate acting and writing workshops at Haque Centre of Acting & Creativity (HCAC).
For the pilot production; what is the work, and what is the development and rehearsal process?
Our inaugural production is 'The Jugular Vein'.
It is a play about a group of women on a bachelorette night who, over the course of the evening, come to realise that they don't all like each other as much as they thought. Tension builds, tempers begin to flare, and before long the entire situation breaks down into all out anarchy.
The other founding members of our collective, all alumni of HCAC, who will serve as actors in The Jugular Vein, are all women. This is a frequently cited issue as there are a lot of plays or shows produced in Singapore with roles for women but, seldom offer the range of characters or the breadth of definition to allow a performer to do their most interesting work. The Jugular Vein, features four strong female roles and no male roles. They are all wives and one of them is a mother, but this is not the thing that defines them as people.
Kamil, the director, knew that he wanted to produce a play for these four actresses, with James as the playwright. With everyone together for several weeks, we shared our current circumstances and frustrations surrounding our current artistic trajectory. James knew that he wanted to give the opportunity for the four actresses to play the kinds of roles that they were not given access to either due to their ethnicity, their background, or their gender. With that in mind, we escalated our discussion to our hopes and desires on what our debut production would be.
James devised the overarching plot and the characters, and then for two months Kamil worked with the four actresses on refining the characters, improvising scenes, developing back-stories and motivations whilst James refined the dialogue and story.
The final draft of the The Jugular Vein was completed on July 1st, and from there, the Collective will rehearse 4 times a week, and then every day until opening night.
The HCAC community
All founding members of The Haque Collective have met through the auspices of Haque Centre of Acting & Creativity (HCAC), Singapore's first professional acting studio. Our community is 6 years old and over 2000 members strong since our inception on June 3rd 2013. Many of our alumni have graced the screens of Hollywood blockbusters, international, regional and national TV series and theatre stages. Many of our community are considered Creative Double-Lifers who straddle a corporate job in the day time and on weekday nights and weekends have aspirations to be performance artists, have a creative outlet, network or perhaps pick up an essential skill from the arts that benefits their professional and personal lives. More information is available at: www.methodactingasia.com
Founding Members of The Haque Collective:
Kamil Haque is the Artistic Director of Haque Centre of Acting & Creativity (HCAC), Singapore’s first professional acting studio and Method Productions, a production company for all mediums of performing arts.
As the only coach in Asia experienced in teaching the Lee Strasberg method of acting, Kamil has coached actors for the stage, major Hollywood films, international, regional and local TV series. Using theatre and storytelling techniques, Kamil’s work also includes training corporate leaders and employees in MNCs and statutory boards.
As a Singaporean of multi-ethnic origin, Kamil has also produced, directed and acted in several award-winning and critically-acclaimed productions in Singapore, in USA, Malaysia and Australia.
James Thoo is a writer formerly based in LA who now calls Singapore home. He served as the head editor of Joblo.com and his work has been featured in such publications as the Huffington Post and The New York Times. He wrote the award-winning film Jarum Halus in 2008 and his screenplay 'Sonata' was Scriptshadow's Best Unproduced Screenplay of 2015 Currently two of his feature film scripts are in production; 'Hurt' for Bruise Productions in Louisiana, and 'Sonata' for Phoenix Productions in Los Angeles. He teaches dramatic writing and provides dramaturgy at HCAC.
Stephanie Bovis first dabbled in the field of acting as a model, starring in commercials, music videos, and in small roles on TV. She decided to grow her knowledge and understanding in theatre, prompting her to embark on her acting studies at HCAC in 2016. She was the recipient of the *SCAPE Audience Choice Award at the 2017 Singapore Monologue Slam. Through the numerous workshops Stephanie has attended, she found that acting also plays a vital role in her professions as a corporate emcee/host and health coach.
Nadia Dayan discovered her love for acting while living in Seattle several years ago, taking classes at Freehold Theater. She continued her passion for acting after moving to Singapore and has been since a part of the HCAC family.
She has also explored costume wardrobe, as she has a background in fashion design.
Aiswarya Nair has been performing from a young age in school plays back in India. She is also a trained dancer in Indian classical forms. She rekindled her passion for acting in mid-2014, after attending workshops at HCAC. She has since acted in various theatre productions, short films, TV series, commercials and corporate videos. Now she has taken a leap of faith and quit her corporate job to pursue her creative interests, full-time.
Isabelle Roy started drama classes in Paris and continued acting in Singapore where she performed in a production of “Push up” by Roland Schimmelpfennig under the direction of Sophie Colombet from Cours Florent at the Alliance Française. After classes at La Salle, she integrated into the HCAC community where she has been taught and directed by Kamil Haque, David Glass, Giovanni Ortega and Scott Wings. She is part of both “The Haque Collective” and “The Theatre Factory” ensembles. She will perform “The Open Couple” by Dario Fo and Franca Rame in November 2019 at the Stamford Arts Center and in March 2020 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Jolene Wong is an actor and a storyteller. She's also learning acting, teaching acting, and learning to teach acting at HCAC. All the world's a stage, and when it isn't, it's a classroom.
Jolene's past credits include Toy Factory's Here And Beyond, Caryl Churchill's The Skriker, and that generic Singaporean mum you've seen in commercials. She has been awarded Best Actor in the Crash Test Theatre Competition for the Lit Up Asia-Pacific Festival 2018.
We are raising funds for our debut production, The Jugular Vein, to be staged in a blackbox theatre in Singapore. We've already cobbled together $10,000 of our own money and we need your help to raise the rest. Our desire is to ensure the long term sustainability of The Haque Collective. We seek your help to produce at least one major production every year as producing theatre in Singapore can be a very costly affair.
We're looking at raising a production fund of just $20,000 to start with. We would distribute the $20,000 in the following ways:
$5000 - Approx. 50% rental cost of theatre space for The Jugular Vein
$2000 - Technical Crew
$2000 - Props/Set Design/Costumes
$2000 - Marketing Efforts
$9000 - Seed funding for The Haque Collective Project 2020
Risks and challenges
85% of funding for the arts in Singapore comes from the government. Without their support, large swathes of the artistic community in Singapore would struggle to survive. Perhaps we may eventually seek government funding at the appropriate time.
Our mission of producing made-with-Singapore shows means we want our global citizenry to feel like they are active contributors and patrons of the arts. We are fully prepared to self-fund the work of THC and have our Collective move forward even if it means at a loss for our debut production. Our hope is even if we don't hit our target with our first crowd-funding campaign, the quality of our first show will encourage future patronageLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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