Our Space In Time

Start date of Residency
15 March 2021
Masthead Image
Masthead Image
15 March 2021

About the Project

Our Space in Time is a digital exhibition about a community theatre group and its relationship with different types and forms of space over its decade-long run. The exhibition draws on artefacts and memories from the group’s history, capturing snapshots of youthful enthusiasm and spirit of a generation of theatre practitioners.

Yellow Chair Productions ran most of its programmes out of rooms and studios in Tampines Central Community Club and later, through partnerships with different organisations, were able to include other types of community spaces. Sometimes, the group found itself rehearsing in unconventional spaces, all in the spirit of making things happen. This was also where about 300 youths dabbled with drama on a weekly basis every weekend, amongst whom many were looking for opportunities to learn and develop their theatrical skills. From functioning like a drama club outside of school to various initiatives where the young and emerging were able to find their footing, Yellow Chair Productions served to create and hold space for a generation of talents.

While we aspire to keep up with the times, perhaps, there are learning lessons to be had from that which we have done before and possibly forgotten.

 

— Mohamad Shafulbahri, Project Lead, Our Space in Time


Artist Statement

Artist Statement
by Shai, Project Lead of Our space in Time

“In the middle of 2020, as I was still trying to come to terms with the effects of the pandemic, I started thinking about what it would mean to capture the history of Yellow Chair Productions, a community theatre group I had co-founded in 2005 and served as its Artistic Director till 2016. While the group is no longer in operation, would it be possible to preserve its memories before they are lost to time?

A few days after I had made a commitment to pursue this, Yanling from Centre 42 reached out, sharing about a new initiative of theirs, the Archival Residency. The residency would be an opportunity for theatre practitioners to dive into the archives of theatre groups that are no longer around. This came with the invitation to be its first resident and to open up the Yellow Chair archive. Feeling like the universe had listened in and responded, I immediately said yes.

But the thing is this, there is no Yellow Chair archive to begin with. Well, we have different artefacts of course, but they are not all available in a single place. They lie in different Facebook accounts, some made private, some lie in different people’s hard drives, some long buried in storage. We did not do a great job of collecting and archiving because when we were starting out, we did not think of the part Yellow Chair would play in the theatre landscape of Singapore. Thus, a daunting task laid ahead.

In the last few months, I realised that it would not be possible to build an archive within the residency period. It is a mammoth task and one that is a project in its own right that will require time, space, resources and a whole lot of care. So, drawing on artefacts that I have been able to collect and with the support of friends who have helped shape some thoughts, I am excited to present the digital exhibition, Our Space in Time. Drawing on existing artefacts and with new materials like interviews, videos and text, the exhibition will focus on Yellow Chair Productions’ relationship with physical and intangible spaces.

The exhibition will provide some insight into how Yellow Chair was born out of a grounds up initiative by a group of friends that just wanted to do drama with a bunch of other like-minded youths. One will be able to see how the group then grew into a space for hobbyists and enthusiasts and how it eventually evolved into a space for those who had aspirations of moving towards working in theatre professionally. It will also shed light on the various initiatives and programmes that were created that provided emerging artists a platform to develop their ideas or simply, to be seen on stage. And for the many who were a part of the journey, one will also be able to learn more about their personal experiences with the group.

With the cancellation of a slew of projects in the last year, I’ve undergone some a process of introspection on a personal level but also in relation to my practice. While we find new ways of sensemaking in the arts in the times that we are in, the process of looking inward has been a revelation and has also spurred new attempts at bringing to the fore a slice of history that has only been spoken about in whispers. While we aspire to keep up with the times, perhaps, there are learning lessons to be had from that which we have done before and possibly forgotten.”


Development Process & Milestones

15 & 22 JUL 2021
Roundtable Discussions
with Past YCP members

Closed door conversations with past members of Yellow Chair Productions. View the interviews at the digital exhibition now!

1 & 8 AUG 2021
Yellow Chair Production Play-Readings

Closed door readings of Tainted Flower (2006) by Mohamad Shaifulbahri and You Think I Thought, Who Confirm? (2013) by Dominic Nah. The plays will be recorded and made available for public viewing on the digital exhibition. To find out more about each production, you can click on the respective titles below. 

AUG 2021
Launch of the Our Space in Time: A Digital Exhibition