Time taken : <5mins
Terrance is a director making his mark in musical theatre. Together with his collective Bitesize Theatre Productions, he wrote and directed his first musical theatre production called The Monster in the Mirror, which was streamed online in 2021. A live stage version of the musical was presented in 2023. Terrance has a BA in Musical Theatre from LASALLE College of the Arts, and also received training at Singapore Repertory Theatre’s (SRT) Residency Programme for Directing from 2019 to 2021. During the residency, he assisted directors on productions such as Tuesdays with Morrie (2020) and The Commission (2021). Following the residency, he continued his involvement with SRT as Associate Director of shows such as Miss Julie (2022) and Playmakers (2022).
I like those toy puzzle pieces that seem impossible to fit together or take apart, but when you do, you get a sense of amazement and a new understanding. I think that describes my philosophy towards theatre and art, to take contrasting elements and ideas and put them together to create a new level of understanding.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly one event or reason that got me into directing for theatre, but Singapore Repertory Theatre's directing residency programme was a big factor in pushing me into pursuing directing full-time. It gave me the training and the opportunity to work in the industry as a young theatre maker, but more importantly, it made me go "Hey, maybe I can do this!"
The Monster in the Mirror is very near and dear to my heart. It's the very first original work that me and my theatre collective Bitesize Theatre worked on five years ago. It evolved from just a 30-minute school show with three actors, two chairs and a table to a 90-minute musical recently staged at Gateway Theatre with 11 actors and 10 songs. But I think what really made it special is that I made it with four of my dearest friends just out of school.
I've also been developing myself as a writer. I recently wrote a new script, Third Man Syndrome, under Gateway Arts Artist in Residency programme with Chong Tze Chien. It's a script about suicide that's near and dear to my heart and friends around me. I'm excited to see it staged next year with Gateway Arts.
I think empathy is essential for a director. You need to not only understand what your collaborators want and feel to work together, but you also need to understand the characters and the audiences deeply.
People think that directing is about telling other people what to do, but I think it really is more about listening. The best directors I've observed really listen and just need to give a little bit of push to bring out the best in others.