Published on 28 July 2017

Congratulations are in order for two of our local playwrights! The critically-acclaimed Joel Tan has been awarded an NAC Arts Scholarship (Postgraduate), while Nur Sabrina Binte Dzulkifli, who recently won the The Singapore Unbound Fellowship, has also been awarded an NAC Arts Scholarship (Undergraduate). They tell The A List more about what they’ll be studying.

Joel Tan
Playwright, director and performer

“I’ll be doing the Master of Arts in Dramatic Writing at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. It’s a two-year postgraduate programme that offers training in writing for the stage, screen and other dramatic media. Actually, I had intended to do something like this as early as 2011 because I wanted to widen my horizons. Thankfully, I was persuaded by my mentors to develop professionally and artistically first before making the leap. Six years on, I think I’m in a much better place to benefit from this. The decision fell quite naturally into place last year as I thought about how I could push myself and prevent stagnation. I don’t know how my work will change, but I hope to widen my vocabulary, find better ways of working, and learn better ways of using the stage. I still have some commissions lined up, and I want very much to keep making work in Singapore even as I’m away.”

Nur Sabrina Binte Dzulkifli
Emerging playwright

“I’ll be doing Bachelor of Arts in Drama and Literature (including a Year Abroad) at the University of Essex. It’s a four-year course – very exciting stuff as there’s a cool mix of interdisciplinary courses available as it’s housed under the Literature, Film and Theatre Studies department. It was a conscious decision to have the criticality of literature to sharpen my writing, but not to be divorced from theatre. The craft of writing, as I’m starting to find out, is almost a constant pursuit for something intangible. I’ve been wanting more challenge and criticality when it comes to my work, and school is an easy place to get that loud voice going “you can do better, let’s make it work.” But I’m also a theatre nerd. I like studying it, doing it, and being exposed to it. There would have been no way I could afford university without a scholarship. Getting to go overseas and see the kind of conversations people are having in their art is such a dream come true for me.”

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