Esplanade Presents


Every Brilliant Thing

An Esplanade Commission

The Finger Players (Singapore)
Original Script by Duncan Macmillan, with Jonny Donahoe
Translated, Directed and Performed by Oliver Chong

2 – 5 Feb 2023

View dates and time

1hr 30mins

(Intermission: None)

Esplanade Theatre Studio

Sold Out

Photo Credit: Tuckys Photography
Photo Credit: Tuckys Photography
Photo Credit: Tuckys Photography

“Chong is used to directing actors, and he proves a dab hand at coaxing audience members into entertaining exchanges. Despite some nerves and awkward pauses from those unused to being in the limelight, Chong smoothes over the raw edges with his quick improvisations and easy rapport.”
– The Straits Times

“If you live a long life and get to the end of it without ever once having felt crushingly depressed, then you probably haven’t been paying attention.”


When I was seven

I made a list of all the good in the world

Every brilliant thing worth living for

It was a gift for my mother

I hoped she would find a reason to live

A man, a list, a million brilliant things.


A healing journey with me, navigating the struggles of life with abundant laughs.


Following a sold-out run during Huayi 2022, Oliver Chong returns to Huayi 2023 with a renewed staging of Every Brilliant Thing.


A one-man show with interactive segments, Every Brilliant Thing is a unique production that invites audiences to shape the protagonist’s journey, with warmth and spontaneity. Co-created by audience members, every show is vastly different and promises to uplift spirits and accord brilliance.


This year, let The Finger Players journey through and celebrate Every Brilliant Thing with you.


About the show

A boy embarks on a relentless attempt to create a list – a list of all things brilliant about the world. Perhaps this list would lift his mother’s spirits, perhaps this list would stop her from doing something drastic, perhaps it might prevent her from yet another suicide attempt. 


A weighty story told with an open heart and plenty of levity, audience members will be invited to participate by taking on various characters, embarking on a journey to uplift one another.


Created by contemporary British playwright Duncan Macmillan, with comedian Jonny Donahoe, Every Brilliant Thing has since embarked on a world tour after the nomination for a Drama Desk Award at its premiere in 2013, and a rapturous reception from audiences and critics alike at the Edinburgh Festival in 2014.


Playwright: Duncan Macmillan (UK)
Translator: Oliver Chong
Director: Oliver Chong
Actor: Oliver Chong


Contains some references to mental illness and suicide.


Mask-wearing is optional. However, audiences are encouraged to continue to exercise responsibility and caution, such as wearing masks when in crowded places.

Recommended Age: 16 and above.
Admission Age:
13 and above.
Language: Mandarin
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Artist Information

The Finger Players


The Finger Players is Singapore’s leading theatre company, best known for its inventive fusion of puppetry elements into visually arresting productions and its strong advocacy of puppetry.  


Founded in 1999, The Finger Players strives to be a centre of research and development for the creation and performance of puppetry in Singapore. The company became the country’s first arts collective to operate on a rotating artistic director model. Each Artistic Director helms the fort for a stipulated tenure, with support from a team of core members who have been integral to The Finger Players since its inception.  


The company currently operates three branches, namely the Main Season, International Season and Outreach Season.  


The Finger Players is a non-profit organisation with Institution of Public Character (IPC) status. The company is also a recipient of the National Arts Council’s Major Grant for the period from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2023, and a member of the Singapore Chinese Language Theatre.   

Oliver Chong

Oliver Chong is a multi-award-winning and published playwright, director, actor and designer. Some of his memorable works include Every Brilliant Thing, A Fiend’s Diary, Roots, I’m Just A Piano Teacher, Cat, Lost & Found, The Book of Living and Dying, Citizen Pig and Citizen Dog. His numerous nominations at The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards include Production of the Year and Best Director for I’m Just a Piano Teacher, Production of the Year for Off Centre, Best Director and Best Script for Citizen Pig, Best Actor for Roots, Invisibility/Breathing and Art, Best Supporting Actor for Itsy –  The musical, Flare, Best Ensemble for Senang, Shit Hole, First Family, Rashomon, and A Cage Goes in Search of a Bird respectively, and Best Set Design for Twisted, Citizen Dog and A Fiend’s Diary.


Oliver was the Resident Director of The Finger Players (2004 – 2018), and is currently a core member of the company, as well as a founding member of A Group Of People (2008 – 2012). He is the founder and Artistic Director of Oddcrop Productions (2019 – present). His published works include Roots, The Book of Living and Dying, I’m Just A Piano Teacher and Cat, Lost & Found. Oliver will be the next Artistic Director of The Finger Players, for a three-year term from 2023 to 2026.

Date & Time

2 Feb 2023, Thu


Esplanade Theatre Studio

3 Feb 2023, Fri


Esplanade Theatre Studio

4 Feb 2023, Sat


Esplanade Theatre Studio


Esplanade Theatre Studio

5 Feb 2023, Sun


Esplanade Theatre Studio
Tickets & Prices

Students, NSFs, Seniors & PWDs

Price $38 $30

Esplanade&Me Specials

Early Bird (15 – 21 Dec 2022, limited tickets)
Black: 20% savings
White: 15% savings
Discover: 15% savings (Min. of 2 tickets)

From 22 Dec 2022, 9am
Black: 15% savings  
White: 10% savings (Limited tickets)
Discover: 10% savings (Min. of 2 tickets, limited tickets)


Applicable to Standard tickets only. Terms and Conditions apply.

Tote Board Arts Grant

All Secondary Schools (Upper Sec), Junior Colleges/ Centralised Institute & ITEs may use the Tote Board Arts Grant to subsidise up to 50% of the programme cost.


For more details, please contact Esplanade Box Office at 6828 8389 or email


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