Esplanade Presents


An Esplanade Commission

Drama Box

Playwright: Zulfadli Rashid

Co-directors: Adib Kosnan & Kok Heng Leun


12 Jul 2024, Fri, 8pm

13 Jul 2024, Sat, 3pm & 8pm

14 Jul 2024, Sun, 3pm

1hr 15mins

(Intermission: None)

Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade

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Zulfadli Rashid
Adib Kosnan & Kok Heng Leun
Charlene Rajendran

“An intriguing exploration of Singapore’s lesser-known stories and the dispossession of the indigenous Orang Seletar” – The Straits Times


Air is a verbatim play, intimately sharing the authentic voices of the Orang Seletar, an indigenous coastal community that once lived in Singapore. Through interviews and conversations, the play unfolds their stories, struggles, and resilience as they compromise with the encroaching changes to ensure the survival of not only their people, but more importantly, their identity. As the community strives to preserve its heritage, the verbatim captures the raw emotions, dilemmas, and unique perspectives of the Orang Seletar. 


First staged in 2019 as part of the well-received double bill, Tanah•Air, this new iteration of Air is a further development of the threads presented in the play’s original staging. In the careful hands of acclaimed playwright Zulfadli Rashid, materials new and old are woven into a tapestry of stories, resulting in an emotionally potent play that resonates now more than ever, confronting the issues of land, dispossession and community. Air is helmed by co-directors Adib Kosnan and Kok Heng Leun, and features evocative production design and a cast comprising Dalifah Shahril, Rizman Putra, Saiful Amri and Suhaili Safari.



Zulfadli Rashid 


Adib Kosnan & Kok Heng Leun 


Charlene Rajendran 


Jo Lim 

Set Designer

Mohd Fared Jainal  

Lighting Designer

Emanorwatty Saleh 

Sound Designer & Live Performer

Tini Aliman 

Multimedia Designer

Jevon Chandra 

Costume Designer

Max Tan 


Ilya Katrinnada 


Dalifah Shahril, Rizman Putra, Saiful Amri & Suhaili Safari


There will be a post-show dialogue after all performances as follows:

  • 12 Jul: With members of the Orang Seletar community

  • 13 & 14 Jul: With select members of the cast and/or creative team

Admission Age:
6 and above.
Language: Malay
Surtitle Language: English
Things to Note:
Accessibility: We provide services and facilities for patrons with access needs. Concessions for persons with disabilities (PWDs) are available for selected shows. Read our accessibility guide.
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Artist Information

Drama Box

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Founded in 1990, Drama Box is a socially engaged theatre company known for creating works that inspire dialogue, reflection and change. By shining a spotlight on marginalised narratives and making space for the communal contemplation of complex issues, the company seeks to tell stories that provoke a deeper understanding of Singapore’s culture, history and identity. 


Drama Box is a charity and Institution of Public Character (IPC) registered in Singapore, supported by the National Arts Council under the Major Company Scheme for the period of April 2023 and March 2026. 

Zulfadli Rashid

Zulfadli Rashid is a playwright, known for his thought-provoking and powerful works that explore the complexities of the human experience. His works tackle a wide spectrum of topics, from personal struggles to societal issues, and are always marked by their emotional intensity and unflinching honesty. Written in the Malay and English language, his body of work continues to grow and evolve.


Over the course of his career, Zulfadli has written, adapted and more recently transcreated numerous plays that have been performed in Singapore and beyond.


Zulfadli is also a dedicated educator and mentor, working with young minds to help them develop their craft and find their own creative voices.

Adib Kosnan

Adib Kosnan is a theatre practitioner who is passionate about creating platforms for communication through theatre.


As an actor, he was named Best Supporting Actor at the Life Theatre Awards 2020 for his role in Angkat by Nabilah Said and Noor Effendy Ibrahim. His directing credits include Tanah•Air 土:A Play In Two Parts by Drama Box (co-director with Kok Heng Leun, 2019) and Rindu Di Bulan (2022) produced by RupaCo.lab. In 2021, he wrote and acted in Keluarga Besar En. Karim directed by Claire Wong and Joel Lim, which was staged digitally by Checkpoint Theatre and the Esplanade to critical acclaim. Adib was also a co-lead artist for Both Sides Now: Mengukir Harapan (2020 – 2022), a community engagement project focusing on end-of-life issues in the Malay Muslim community, produced by Drama Box and ArtsWok Collective. As a facilitator, Adib engages in forum theatre regularly and has devised and also conceptualised interactive programmes with students ranging from pre-school and tertiary levels.


Most recently, in 2023, Adib was awarded the National Arts Council scholarship to pursue his Masters in Arts Pedagogy and Practice at the LASALLE College of the Arts.

Kok Heng Leun

Kok Heng Leun is a prominent figure in the Singapore arts scene, having built his career as a theatre director, playwright, dramaturg and educator. As artist and founder of Drama Box, he is known for engaging the community through the arts and championing civic discourse across different segments of society.


Having begun his work in the theatre more than 30 years ago, some notable directorial works include Drift, Trick or Threat, Manifesto and Underclass. His explorations with multi-disciplinary engaged arts has produced works like site-specific theatre ubin, Project Mending Sky, a series on environmental issues, Both Sides, Now, a project that seeks to normalise end-of-life conversations and It Won't Be Too Long, which touched on the dynamics of space in Singapore. Tanah•Air 土:A Play In Two Parts was about the dispossession of the indigenous Malays and Orang Seletar of Singapore.


For his invaluable contributions, Heng Leun has been recognised with the Young Artist Award (2000), Cultural Fellowship (2014), and Singapore’s highest arts accolade, the Cultural Medallion (2022). He also represented the arts sector as a Nominated Member of Parliament (2016 – 2018).

Charlene Rajendran

Charlene Rajendran is a theatre educator, writer and dramaturg. She is interested in questions of difference, listening, interdisciplinarity, play-based pedagogy and thought-leadership in urban multicultural contexts. Her work as dramaturg includes interdisciplinary and community arts projects such as ItSelf TerJadi (2023), Kepaten Obor (2022), In the Silence of Your Heart (2018) and Both Sides, Now (2013-2018). Publications include (Asian) Dramaturgs’ Network: Sensing, Complexity, Tracing and Doing (lead editor, 2023), Changing Places: Drama Box and the Politics of Space (lead editor, 2022), and Excavations, Interrogations, Krishen Jit and Contemporary Malaysian Theatre (lead editor, 2018), academic articles and creative texts. She works as Associate Professor at the National Institute of Education – Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.  

Date & Time

12 Jul 2024, Fri


Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade

13 Jul 2024, Sat


Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade


Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade

14 Jul 2024, Sun


Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade
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Price $48 $40

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