Profile: Aidli Mosbit

Published on 7 November 2015

From quiet child to theatre dynamo and arts educator, Aidli ‘Alin’ Mosbit constantly pushes herself to go higher, bigger, better.

BY DAPHNE ONG 

Playwright, director, actor, writer, designer, educator. Aidli Mosbit has done it all, and done it well.

Having worked with numerous theatre companies and founded her own, Panggung Arts, her name is well-known in arts circles. A recipient of the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award in 2008, the bilingual powerhouse is not about to get off the fast lane.

Affectionately known as Alin in the theatre community, she got an early start in drama when her father encouraged her to take part in storytelling competitions at community centres. A self-professed quiet and “aloof” child, her father wanted her to build confidence. Throughout her school years, she joined various drama and debate societies and became confident performing in both English and Malay.

From there, a profession in theatre seemed a natural path. At 19, she wrote and directed her first play, Kosovo. The following year, she acted in The Necessary Stage’s landmark play Off Centre. After earning her Bachelor of Arts (Drama) from Queensland University of Technology, theatre work filled her life. “As an arts education programmer with [leading Malay theatre company] Teater Kami, I was doing administrative work in the morning, training actors in the afternoon and rehearsing at night,” she says of those early years.

Going beyond the theatre scene, Aidli decided to bank on her talent in creative writing and became an entertainment writer for Manja magazine, a Malay entertainment and lifestyle monthly. Ten years later, she returned to become its editor.

Given her life’s philosophy, the very full plate she keeps is not surprising. “I believe I must push myself to go higher, bigger and better, but yet know my limits. I will usually under-promise and over-achieve. I will innovate, break boundaries, push the OB-markers but yet align to my collaborators’ vision and mission.” She adds with a chuckle, “I’m a typical Libran, always doing the balancing act!”

Receiving the Young Artist Award spurred Aidli on even more. She told herself that she needed to share her journey and experiences with young people interested to pursue a life in the arts. “Not just value-add, but value-multiply!” she says. She found yet another niche in education, working in the Institute of Technical Education and then Temasek Polytechnic as its current arts division section head. “This phase of my life, working closely to groom these young, budding artists, has been very fulfilling.”

So what’s next for her? No less than plenty, apparently. “I have a collection of plays that will be published soon. I am also writing a new play that I will be devising with a group of young actors, and reviving an old play. I am currently pursuing my Master of Education and my research will be about arts pedagogy. Yes, the future looks good … God willing!”

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