Works of Brown Voices 2019 - 2022

Masthead Image

Brown Voices presented Kitchen Masala, dramatised readings of six plays during C42's Late-Night Texting 2019.

Masthead Image

Brown Voices presented Kitchen Masala, dramatised readings of six plays during C42's Late-Night Texting 2019.

Brown Voices was formed in 2019 as a collective of Indian theatre practitioners, comprising playwrights, directors and performers. Since then, its members have gone on to stage 7 different works, ranging from dramatized readings, audio tours, installations and even a digital museum. Follow their journey as a collective below!


1. Kitchen Masala under C42's Late-Night Texting 2019

The banner features a photograph of two people in paper mache masks, a man holding out a pot as a woman looks on in an expression of surprise.

Kitchen Masala by Brown Voices Collective, Banner by Daniel Teo. 

Dramatized readings of 6 plays took place with overwhelming support:

  • Pongal by Hemang Yadav
  • Surprise Not by Hashisha Nazir
  • Bread Tags by Jaisilan Sathiasilan
  • Coffee Maker by Vithya Subramaniam
  • Life With You and Life Without You by Grace Kalaiselvi

2. Dramatised Readings of "Shakauntala" and "5 Cows and The Deep Blue Sea…"

The poster features the title printed in blue over pink background, an illustration of hands with henna tattoo is featured prominently.

Dramatised Readings by Brown Voices Collective, Poster by Esplanade.

Presented by the Esplanade for Raga series 2020. Shakauntala was written by Hemang Yadav and 5 Cows and The Deep Blue Sea… was written by A Yagnya. In place of the live performance which was canceled due to COVID-19, these performances were filmed in the Esplanade Annexe Studio to be screened digitally for over a month and seen by more than 35,000 people.


3. வேல் வேல் - Vel Vel: A Sonic Walk

The background of the poster features the body of a person carrying a Kavadi in a Thaipusam procession. The title is printed in English and Tamil.

வேல் வேல் - Vel Vel: A Sonic Walk by Brown Voices Collective, Poster by The Arts House.

This was a multidisciplinary audio-visual-text experience of Singapore's Thaipusam celebrations. Produced in English by The Arts House, it featured the writings of Brown Voices members, Karthik Somasundaram, Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai, Mumtaz Maricar, Lewin Bernard and Hashisha Nazir who responded to both the experience of Thaipusam and the significant locations along the route that hold memories of pilgrims. The text was edited and directed by Grace Kalaiselvi. It was available for a year until January 2022.


4. தமிழச்சி / Thamizhachi

The poster features an illustration of wooden shelves and standing lamps that spell out the word "Thamizhachi" in Tamil script.

Thamizhachi by Brown Voices Collective, Poster by Vimal Kumar.

A digital museum of Tamil women under construction for T:>Works N.O.W 2021. The bilingual digital museum was conceptualized and curated by Vithya Subramaniam through a series of consultative workshops conducted with twenty-two self-identified ‘Singaporean Tamil women’ to make visible the Singaporean Tamil women in the everyday objects of life in Singapore. Where her person has been overlooked and her representation tokenised, this museum’s collection lays out the varied, nuanced, real ways of being a Singaporean Tamil woman.

It’s still up for everyone’s viewing at Thamizhachi | N.O.W. 2021 (notordinarywork.com)


5. Rasanai: An Invitation to Appreciate

The image features a line art illustration of a hand with henna tattoo and the word "Rasanai" drawn out across the palm.

Rasanai by Brown Voices Collective, Poster by Vimal Kumar.

A multi-sensorial live streamed performance, revealing and reveling in the sounds and tastes, histories and practices of the often occluded hand of the Singaporean Tamil women was presented for T:>Works N.O.W Festival 2021. The play in English was written by Vithya Subramaniam, Grace Kalaiselvi and Rajkumar Thiagaras and filmed & directed by Grace Kalaiselvi.  


6. காகிதப் பறவை / Paper Paravai

The image features colorful spools of thread in the background with the title and production information printed by the side.

Paper Paravai by Brown Voices Collective, Poster by Vithya Subramaniam.

specially curated performance with live music accompaniment, exploring the emotional and aspirational journey of Indian migrant workers; a minority within a minority community whose stories and contributions often go unheard. Based on true stories gathered from interviews with tailors from Tekka Centre, the Tamil play was written and directed by Grace Kalaiselvi for Esplanade’s Red Dot August 2021. Interviews were assisted by Vithya Subramaniam and Rajkumar Thiagaras. A digital installation was also made by Vithya Subramaniam with the help of Studio29.


7. தேக்கா உணவு தடங்கள் / Tekka Food Steps

The image features an illustration of a map with blue lines strewn across it, spelling out the words "Tekka Food Steps" in English and Tamil.

Tekka Food Steps by Brown Voices Collective, Poster by Vimal Kumar.

A bilingual self-guided audio tour around Little India, not just about food but also the multi-layered history still evident in its landscape today. Narratives were written by Brown Voices members Hemang Yadav, Mumtaz Maricar, Karthikeyan Somasundaram, Pramila D/O Krishnasamy and Lewin Bernard. It was produced and directed by Vithya Subramaniam for Singapore Writers Festival 2021. The Tamil version was translated and directed by Karthikeyan Somasundaram.

This podcast is still available at தேக்கா உணவு தடங்கள் (Tekka Food Steps) (singaporewritersfestival.com)


under c42

Brown Voices
Brown Voices (BV) is Singapore’s first collective of Indian theatre practitioners and playwrights. A 12-member team, founded by freelance Indian actor-director-playwright Grace Kalaiselvi, BV supports, encourages and trains play-writing, especially for quality play scripts where the narratives by Indians in Singapore take centre stage. The group previously had their regular meetings at C42, and made their debut with a reading of original works at C42’s Late-Night Texting 2019. Under the Co-Lab Residency,
5 May 2022