Dark Room by Edith Podesta

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Masthead Image
From February to May 2016


Dark Room follows the lives of men housed together in a five-by-five-metre cell, 23 hours a day, every day, until their release. This original work, based on true accounts, explores the codes and regulations of society “on the inside”. It charts the prison experience from pre-trial to imprisonment, and the reintegration into society as “returning citizens”.

If “prison is the punishment that keeps on taking”, Dark Room gives voice to the incarcerated by staging their stories and making their experiences visible to a wider audience.

(Source: Esplanade Presents: The Studios 2016)

Dark Room was developed under Centre 42's Basement Workshop (now known as the Creation Residency). Read about Basement Workshop here.

Development Milestones

February - May 2016
In-Residence at Basement Workshop
by Centre 42

Dark Room was developed in residence at Centre 42’s Basement Workshop from February to May 2016.

5 July 2014
Dark Room x8 performed at Esplanade Theatre Studio
As part of Esplanade Presents: The Studios RAW 2014
28 April – 1 May 2015
Performed at Esplanade Theatre Studio
As part of Esplanade Presents: The Studios 2015

Creation Process

Directed and written by Edith Podesta, this play was first developed under the Esplanade Presents: The Studios RAW in 2014 as a work-in-progress reading. It went on to clinch the Best Ensemble Award at the 15th M1-The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards in 2015. Read more about the development of the first iteration titled Dark Room x 8 here.

This second iteration of the play, re-titled as Dark Room, is a commission by Esplanade Presents: The Studios 2016 and will premiere on 28 April 2016 at the Esplanade Theatre Studio. Centre 42 supports the development of this second iteration from February to April 2016.



Edith Podesta shares her motivations behind creating her verbatim theatre piece Dark Room. Her objectives for the work are to break the cycles of shame and judgement that often accompany incarceration, and to help convicts – past, present and future – and their loved ones find acceptance in society and in themselves.



Dark Room (2016), Review
Struggling with the Outside from the Inside Dark Room opens and ends with monologues that are inspired by true accounts from prisoners, immersing the audience in the experiences of the characters and their loved ones from the get-go. The play walks you through the experiences of convicts from their court date until their release date, and comprehensively addresses the ups and downs as it develops. The star-studded cast, with the likes of Lim Kay Siu and Noor Effendy Ibrahim, does not disappoint.
Alisa Maya Ravindran
Reviewed: 30 April 2016
Dark Room (2016), Review
Chained and Connected Dark Room, a docudrama written and directed by Edith Podesta, shares the true stories of former inmates of Changi Prison. They are based on recorded interviews which lasted an average of two hours each. The first incarnation of the play was entitled Dark Room x8 and staged as a work-in-progress in 2014. The set, designed by Chris Chua, is symmetrical in most of its configurations. It is unbearably sharp and geometrical with its lines, edges, pointedness and rectangularity. C
Beverly Yuen
Reviewed: 30 April 2016