New theatre groups debut plays this week

New theatre groups debut plays this week

SINGAPORE - Most theatre groups would leap at the words, "I'll sponsor the whole thing", but not CommuniTEH, an amateur youth theatre group working on its first musical.

A parent of a team member had offered to cover the costs of its production, which work out to about $27,000. But the group decided against it.

Says 21-year-old Lee De Yi, the group's production manager: "We thought, if we do that, we're just taking the easy way out. We want to show people that we can start from scratch."

Their original musical, In Time For Tea, will run at the University Cultural Centre Theatre on Aug 2 and 3. It is a contemporary exploration of life changes and happy-ever-afters.

Lee, who is starting school at the National University of Singapore's faculty of arts and social sciences next month, is part of a new wave of young people who have decided to take the plunge and set up their own theatre groups, despite the challenges ranging from a funding drought to lack of rehearsal space.

He is one of the co-founders of CommuniTEH, a loose collection of young people and theatre lovers who have decided to throw all their spare time into what he calls "a serious hobby".

And he is not the only one. Two other groups, Our Company and Couch Theatre, will stage plays later this week for the first time.

Couch Theatre was formed by a group of theatre hopefuls from Raffles Institution who had been part of a drama club there. They decided on Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl's offbeat Melancholy Play (2002) for their inaugural production, which opens at the Drama Centre Black Box on Thursday.

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