The Lesson: A Workshop

A Coordinates Project of Singapore Biennale 2019

Photos by Yong How for Drama Box

29 Nov 2019, 6 Dec 2019, 13 Mar 2020, 20 Mar 2020

7 – 9.15pm

National Gallery, Singapore Courtyard (Level 2, City Hall Wing)


'The Lesson: A Workshop' begins with an experiential encounter of The Lesson, a participatory theatre piece that explores land issues and democratic processes in Singapore.

In any place where land is limited, space – both physical and psychological – comes at a premium. The Lesson asks questions about what forces are at work in shaping our space and whether there is enough space for a shared heterotopia. The audience of The Lesson is presented with a scenario whereby the city has made plans for the development of an old housing estate. However, there is little space left, therefore an existing facility in the area must be demolished. What will stay and what will go? The audience enters this scenario and participates in the decision-making process. Under the guidance of the facilitators, the audience will learn about the costs, risks, stakes and sacrifices that come with creating a community.

The experience is then followed by a dialogue and discussion exploring the aesthetic qualities of participatory work, so as to provide a glimpse into the dramaturgical structure of such works.

The Lesson was first performed at the Singapore International Festival of Arts 2015 to critical acclaim. As part of the trilogy It Won’t Be Too Long, the impactful participatory performance was lauded by local media as one of the best productions of 2015.

About The Singapore Biennale

The Singapore Biennale was established in 2006 as the country’s pre-eminent platform for international dialogue in contemporary art. It presents and reflects the vigour of artistic practices in Singapore and the region within a global context, and fosters productive collaborations and deep engagement with artists, arts organisations, and the international arts community.

The Singapore Biennale cultivates public engagement with contemporary art through a four- month exhibition, and its accompanying public engagement and education programmes that include artist and curator talks and tours, school visits and workshops, and community days. It complements achievements in other areas of arts and culture, collectively enhancing Singapore’s international profile as a vibrant city in which to live, work and play.

The 2006 and 2008 editions of the Biennale were organised by the National Arts Council. The NAC commissioned the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) to organise the 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2019 editions.

A Coordinates Project of

Singapore Biennale 2019

Venue Partner

National Gallery

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