Grandmother Tongue (2021)

14 January 2021 – 31 January 2021 @ The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre, Wild Rice @ Funan


In a Singapore where dialects have been losing relevance for generations, Grandmother Tongue traces a young man’s struggle to connect with his 84-year-old Teochew-speaking grandmother.

He teaches her to use a mobile phone. He helps her buy her favourite brand of soya sauce. He visits her in hospital after a fall. Along the way, he begins to understand just what it means to spend decades in linguistic and cultural exile.

Back by popular demand after two sell-out runs, Thomas Lim’s funny, insightful play examines the social costs of our mother-tongue language policy and the erasure of dialects in today’s Singapore.

In ways both humorous and heartbreaking, Grandmother Tongue explores how our identities are bound up with the languages that we use and the ones that we lose.

IMDA Advisory: 16 (Some Mature Content and Coarse Language)

Cast: Jalyn Han, Rei Poh, Tan Shou Chen

Playwright/Director: Thomas Lim
Set Designer: CK Chia
Lighting Designer: Petrina Dawn Tan
Sound Designer: Jing Ng
Hair Designer: Ashley Lim
Makeup Designer: Bobbie Ng (from The Make Up Room)
Language Coach (Teochew): Nigel Lim Ngian Tiong

Producer: Koh Bee Bee
Production Manager: Melissa Teoh
Technical Manager: David Sagaya
Production Coordinator: Phua Yun Yun
Production Assistant: Angela Ee
Stage Manager: Pamela Lai
Assistant Stage Manager: Alethea Koh

Costume Consultant: Theresa Chan
Wardrobe Manager: Lim Zhiying
Dresser: Tiffany Chai
Makeup Assistant: Esther Goh
Technicians: Ahmad Hafriz bin Berkath, Muhammad Azhar bin Azman
Surtitle Operator: Marilyn Chew

(Source: Wild Rice Programme)

other stagings


Thomas Lim
Playwright, Director
CK Chia
Set Designer
Petrina Dawn Tan
Lighting Designer
Ng Jing
Sound Designer
Ashley Lim
Hair Designer


Grandmother Tongue (2021), Programme
Programme for Grandmother Tongue (2021). 
Wild Rice
Recorded: 14 January 2021