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About Goh Boon Teck

Never one to wait in the wings, the multi-talented playwright, director and designer Goh Boon Teck is constantly driven by a desire to create and innovate. Currently Chief Artistic Director of Toy Factory Productions Ltd, one of Singapore’s most vibrant and prolific theatre companies, this graduate of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore brings to the theatre scene his unique vision. His talent was recognised early as he was the first recipient of the VISA International Arts Scholarship in 1996 which enabled him to study Theatre Directing in London, United Kingdom.

Frequently in the spotlight for groundbreaking and edgy productions that have transfixed audiences worldwide, Boon Teck’s productions tantalise with thought-provoking themes, outstanding talent and stunning aesthetics. He also enjoys adapting classic texts with an ingenious twist, making the story relevant to a contemporary audience. Since his 1991 full length directorial debut in Redear, a fusion of theatre and dance based on the story of Madame Butterfly, Boon Teck has been tirelessly creating pieces that dissect humanity, question morality and speak volumes about what is unsaid.

Audiences have laughed, cried and pondered over his productions, which are as varied as life itself. The absurdist portrayal of humankind in K (1996)– an original work inspired by Franz Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’, the tragic tale of The Butterfly Lovers given a modern twist in Posteterne (1992), and the achingly beautiful I Have a Date with Spring (1995, 1999) were just some of the early triumphs that whetted the audience’s appetite for more.

Boon Teck’s original work Titoudao – which he wrote and directed in 1994 – was a lovingly crafted piece inspired by the life of his mother, a Chinese opera artist. The play reminded audiences about the importance of treasuring tradition in a society constantly on the fast lane and was immensely well-received. It also garnered a slew of accolades at the inaugural LIFE! Theatre Awards in 2001 including Best Play, Best Original Script, Best Production Design, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor. The production went on to tour Cairo, Shanghai, Beijing as well as Hangzhou to similar critical aplomb.

In 2001, Boon Teck was also conferred the National Arts Council Young Artist Award in recognition of his contribution to the development of Singaporean theatre – a significant milestone that encouraged him to create even more inspiring works such as Prism (2003), a piece commissioned by the Kageboushi Theatre Company of Japan which premiered in the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space Theatre and then went on to play in Singapore, Bangkok, Manila, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. Other Boon Teck originals that have toured with much success include Spirits (2009) which was performed at the International Theater King Festival in Velikiy Novgorod, Russia and The Crab Flower Club (2009) which performed to full houses in Singapore and Beijing.

In 2005, he was further recognised with a Singapore Youth Award for Arts & Culture. Even as he flies high on the global stage, Boon Teck remains firmly grounded to his roots. In 2007 and 2008, he was invited to be the Creative Director of Singapore's National Day Parade. He was 35 years old then, thus becoming the youngest Creative Director in the history of Singapore’s National Day Parade. His unique directorial style was also the perfect complement to the multi-disciplinary arts festival Asia on the Edge organised by The Arts House in Singapore. Boon Teck was Creative Director for the festival’s opening shows in 2008 and 2009 and treated audiences to jaw dropping performances, in particular one that that took place on the Cavenagh Bridge over the Singapore River. In 2011, he was appointed as Creative Director for Singapore Day in Shanghai, a role which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Possessing the vision to craft mega productions with universal storylines that transcend language boundaries, Boon Teck constantly intrigues with his contemporary take on Asian culture, particularly in the relatively unexplored arena of Mandarin musicals. Maha Moggallana – A Story of Filial Piety (2010)for example, brought to life a historical Buddhist fable given a modern twist with cutting edge costumes, modern dance choreography and the theatre world’s up and coming talents. December Rains (2010), a touching musical about love in 1950s Singapore was another significant directorial achievement. In 2011, Boon Teck undertook his biggest Mandarin production to date – 881 The Musical ­– a larger than life adaptation of the successful Royston Tan film and an unabashed tribute to the uniquely Singaporean phenomenon of getai (street performances). It boasted all the elements of a great Singapore musical – beautiful sets, show stopping costumes, irreverent humour, a generous dose of local dialects as well a multi-talented cast.

As Boon Teck continues to satiate audiences with a sensorial feast, he artfully leaves them hungry for more. Watch this space.

<strong>Goh Boon Teck</strong>
GBT Arts