“TheatreWorks’ stark white warehouse headquarters, with its code-access controlled doors in downtown Singapore, is the picture of enviable success. How it has matured since it was founded. The year was 1985 and the theatrical landscape in post-independence Singapore was dotted with amateur productions of varying quality. A group of young men watching from the wings vowed to shake things up.”

Koh Boon Pin, From Identity to Mondialisation: TheatreWorks 25


Premiered the hit Singapore comedy Army Daze by Michael Chiang.


Premiered the first mainstage Singapore musical Beauty World composed by Dick Lee. This became the most successful musical ever written in Singapore with many a revival.


TheatreWorks created the Retrospective of Singapore Plays, seven plays written from the 1960s to 1980s. This established that there was an oeuvre of Singapore theatre which has blossomed into the productive scene of today. David Hwang’s M. Butterfly with Ivan Heng in the lead role was presented at the Singapore Arts Festival that same year.


Launched the Writers Laboratory which produced many of the respected playwrights of Singapore theatre today from Eleanor Wong to Ovidia Yu to Helmi Yusof.


Tan Tarn How’s The Lady of Soul and her Ultimate ‘S’ Machine about a nation in search of soul overturned a restrictive censorship system to become one of the most beloved political plays of Singapore.


Kuo Pao Kun’s Descendants of The Eunuch Admiral about political castration in Singapore made its world premiere in the Festival of Asian Performing Arts.

Broken Birds (1997)

“Those who had been faithfully following the various shows staged in the 1980s and 1990s had a history with the company. While they may not always have been on the same page, they nonetheless expanded their theatrical horizons through TheatreWorks productions. But from 1997, watching a TheatreWorks production was like entering alien territory; a cyberspace with multiple simultaneous realities. Everything was unfamiliar and seemed incomprehensible. Had the company now pushed the boundaries too far?”

Koh Boon Pin, From Identity to Mondialisation: TheatreWorks 25

Notable International Milestones

Southeast Asian performers learning gamelan as part of training for Lear (1997)

Lear (1997)

A visionary collaboration with the Japan Foundation Asia Center that brought together artists and traditional art forms from six different Asian countries.

The Curators Academy (2018), Singapore

Rethinking TheatreWorks

With the international Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, the launch of TheatreWorks into a think-tank for rethinking Asian arts, their contexts, and their relationships with the world.

Mobilising Arts Communities (2007), Ho Chi Minh City

Seeding Collaboration: 
Arts Network Asia

Encouraging the seeding of collaboration projects across borders in Asia.

The Continuum Asia Project (2003), Luang Prabang, Laos

Intergenerational Arts Engagement: 
Continuum Arts Project

Connecting youth and elders through traditional performance in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Sound artist Tarek Atoui (Lebanon) installing touch sensors for Cambodian classical dancers. The Flying Circus Project (2010), Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Alternative Universities: Flying Circus Project (Southeast Asia)

A nomadic artist residency that provides local participants with an alternative university of art and life to engage with the world, as well as to introduce the international artist sensitively to the local contexts.

The Next Chapter — T:>Works

On 30 April 2020, the arts company formerly known as TheatreWorks unveiled its new visual identity — T:>Works. Read as ‘T works’, it is designed by the company’s chairperson, Heman Chong, who is the first visual artist to chair T:>Works in its 35-year history. The visual identity is inspired by the DOS system and the early days of computation. It hints that digitalisation is more than just about technology — the analogue, or the body, is still pertinent. Thus, the performance of the future will be about the considered integration of live presence, the body, and the virtual — what works, when and where.


The Season of Thought Leadership: in the Arts, by the Arts, with the Arts

“Tonight, T:>Works launches its season of thought leadership: in the arts, by the arts, with the arts. It has taken two years for us to prepare this season.

Our main research has been our public, what are they looking for in a world that has transformed itself with Netflix and digital stay-at-home flexibility? Why do we gather today “live” has been a central question of our research? Is there no other option to our existence on this planet, except to be at the market place?”

Dr. Ong Keng Sen, Artistic Director, T:>Works, at “The people cultures of a national theatre”

Artistic Directors Academy (2024–2025)

Artistic Directors Academy

The Artistic Directors Academy is a training hothouse to develop Artistic Directors in Singapore. The programme is intended to train up to 10 Artistic Directors over one year from April 2024 to March 2025. 

Per°Form Open Academy (2023–)

Per°Form Open Academy

Gathering of Per°Form Fellows from the Global South, presenting strategies for activating contexts and communities.

Per°Form CoThink Lab (2021–)

Per°Form CoThink Lab

Per°Form, cutting across silos, disciplines, and fields to support contextualised research, situated practices, and translocal knowledge production as shared resources for the future.

Engaged Artists in the Public Sphere: T:>Works Artistic Atelier

“T:>Works Artistic Atelier supports a mid-career artist or creative who is looking for new challenges to their work. As part of our vision of thought leadership amongst artists, it is pertinent not to limit this capacity development. In a country where artists are seen as vendor suppliers by government funding agencies, it is important to insist that artists are primary to generating public discourse, debate, and enriching the public life of our citizenry.”

Dr. Ong Keng Sen, Artistic Director, T:>Works

#Metazomia (2023)


A 360° interactive and immersive cinematic experience from the thrilling imagination of award-winning artist Brian Gothong Tan, created as an experience of living and playing between worlds.

The Swimming Pool Library (2021–2022)

The Swimming Pool Library

An immersive, multi-sensorial production that looks at the relevance of society’s definitions of masculinity, and explores how feminine traits can also be part of masculine identity.

Festival of Women: N.O.W. 2021 (2021)

Festival of Women: N.O.W. 2021

Final iteration of Festival of Women: N.O.W., presented as a completely digital experience for the second time, exploring taboo topics seldom heard or seen within the diverse communities of women.

Festival of Women: N.O.W. 2020 (2020)

Festival of Women: N.O.W. 2020

Second edition of Festival of Women: N.O.W., presented as a a free and virtual interdisciplinary festival celebrating the diversity of the female experience.

Festival of Women: N.O.W. 2019 (2019)

Festival of Women: N.O.W. 2019

A festival initiated by theatre artist and arts educator Noorlinah Mohamed, focused on celebrating women creators, thinkers, and change-makers, and their approach to making a difference.

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