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Music Theatre Literary Arts

Making A Scene: Women & Storytelling

How gender affects art-making


Published: 24 Feb 2020

Time taken : >15mins

"The way that I like to think of it, to expand that definition of women's writing, is to think of how women's writing gets to the truth of society that writing from the perspective of men doesn't always get to."

Balli Kaur Jaswal

The Threshold

Pallavi MD and Bindhumalini performing <em>The Threshold</em> at <em>Kalaa Utsavam – Indian Festival of Arts</em> 2019. The performance weaves together the stories and music of female writers and artists from all over the world.

Gender is a double-edged sword for female artists—while female-centric stories can illuminate marginalised perspectives, there runs a risk of being pigeonholed into fixed narratives and stereotypes. How does this affect female artists and storytellers, what more when race comes into the picture?

Ahead of International Women’s Day, listen to four female artists of South Asian ethnicity discuss the nuances of exploring gender and identity in their storytelling.

Singapore poet and Singapore Writers Festival director Pooja Nansi is joined by bestselling Singapore novelist Balli Kaur Jaswal (The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows) and Bindhumalini and Pallavi MD from India, creators of the music and literary performance The Threshold. They discuss their journeys as artists, the power of telling stories from a woman's perspective, pushback and taking risks, be it in performing stories of women across cultures or the simple act of choosing what to read to young children.  


Making A Scene Ep. 2 is produced by Hong Xinyi for Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay. The theme music of the podcast is More Than We Know from the album Seamonster by The Steve McQueens, a Mosaic Associate Artist supported by Esplanade.

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