Alvin Tan is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Necessary Stage and a leading proponent of devising theatre in Singapore, having directed more than 70 plays which have been staged locally and at international festivals. He has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and in 1998, was conferred the Young Artist Award for theatre. In 2010, Alvin was conferred the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture, in recognition of his significant contribution to the arts. The following year, he was awarded Best Director at 2011 The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards for Model Citizens by The Necessary Stage.

Alvin was previously invited by the Ministry of Education to design a drama syllabus at ‘O’ level for implementation in schools. In 2014, Alvin was conferred the Cultural Medallion for his artistic excellence and contribution to Singapore’s arts and cultural landscape. He is also currently the Artistic Director of Peer Pleasure, an annual youth-oriented theatre festival in Singapore.



Alyson Campbell is currently Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Theatre at the Victorian College of the Arts, Australia, where she leads Masters programmes in Directing and Dramaturgy. The Masters in Dramaturgy is the first of its kind in Australia. She is widely published in journals such as Theatre Research International and Australasian Drama Studies, and has recently published a collection Queer Dramaturgies: Where Performance Leads Queer (2015, Palgrave) with her research partner Dr. Stephen Farrier (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama). Her research focuses on directing and dramaturgy, particularly questions of gender and sexuality, affect and phenomenology, and HIV and AIDS in performance.

Alyson’s work as a theatre director and dramaturg spans a broad range of companies and venues in Australia, the UK and the US. She collaborates closely with Sydney playwright Lachlan Philpott and most recently directed the premiere of Philpott’s play The Trouble with Harry at the Mac, Belfast, as part of Outburst Queer Arts Festival 2013 and directed its Green Room award-winning Australian premiere for the Melbourne Festival 2014.



Charlene Rajendran is a theatre educator, researcher and practitioner who currently works at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She researches issues of contemporary performance, identity and culture in urban multicultural contexts, and develops arts-based dialogic pedagogies that draw on contextually-based knowledges to deepen critical and aesthetic thinking. She is a Member of the Internal Advisory Committee for UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE) and seeks to engage in local and regional platforms for developing Arts Education that is critically engaged and historically situated.

Charlene has been involved as theatre director, performer and writer since she was a teenager, working primarily with Janet Pillai and Five Arts Centre, Malaysia. More recently she has been dramaturg in a range of performance projects, including Both Sides, Now (2014, 2015, ArtsWok and Drama Box), Gitanjali: I feel the earth move (2014, The Necessary Stage) and It Won’t Be Too Long – The Cemetery (2015, Drama Box). In January 2015, she convened a practice-based conference entitled Unfinished Business: Krishen Jit’s Performance Practice and Contemporary Malaysian Theatre (Five Arts Centre) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Charlene continues to navigate through a range of disciplines and practices in performance-making, drama pedagogy and theatre-thinking, towards more critical and engaged platforms for dialogue. Her publications include creative works, articles in theatre journals and chapters in scholarly books.



David Pledger is a contemporary artist and curator working within and between the performing, visual and media arts in Australia, Asia and Europe. His live performances, installations, interactive artworks, documentaries and digital art have been presented in various locations including theatres, galleries, museums, a car-park, a stables, a cattleyard, a suburban house, a film studio and the Australian Institute of Sport. His work is notable for building new artworks that combine movement, image, sound and word into an organic system and for engaging publics in productive and provocative ways. From his initial practice, live performance, he has developed a cross-disciplinary dramaturgy in which a central platform is engaging with artists across artforms and experts from social, scientific and academic fields.

Recently cited as ‘one of Australia’s true creative originals’ in the Sidney Myer Fund’s 30-year survey of the performing arts, David is the recipient of numerous project and career awards for his work as a director, designer, writer and actor in live performance and new media. Distinguished by collaborations with media arts pioneer Jeffrey Shaw, visual artists William Kelly and Callum Morton, choreographer Shimizu Shinjin and theatre director, Kim Kwang Lim, his practice interests include the body, the digital realm and public space. In 1995, he co-founded Not Yet It’s Difficult (NYID), one of Australia’s leading interdisciplinary arts companies.

David’s curatorial practice focuses on developing the optimal conditions for artistic production in which exhibition and programming ambitions can be realised. He is currently engaged in various artistic adventures with social change agency, Igniting Change, the City of Gold Coast around his future-focussed art-thinktank 2970° and the Spatial Information Architecture Lab (SIAL) at the School of Architecture and Design, RMIT University, where he is on a research scholarship.

For detailed information on David's works, go to http://www.davidpledger.com.

*David Pledger will be speaking at a private session on April 25.



Eko Supriyanto is the leading Indonesian dancer and choreographer of his generation. He is the founding artistic director of EkosDance Company and Solo Dance Studio in Surakarta, Indonesia.

Trained in Javanese court dances and the Indonesian martial arts of Pencak Silat since the age of seven, Eko’s performance career spans major works and tours throughout Indonesia, Europe, America and the Asia Pacific. Eko holds a PhD in Performance Studies (2014) from Gadjah Mada University and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Dance and Choreography from the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures (2001).

Eko’s performance career stretches between major commercial productions to dance research projects. He was enlisted as a dance consultant for Julie Taymor’s Lion King Broadway production, and choreographed and performed for major international productions including Peter Sellars Le Grand Macabre; John Adam’s opera A Flowering Tree in Vienna, the Barbican Centre in London and the Lincoln Center in New York; Garin Nugroho’s opera Jawa; MAU Lemi Ponifasio’s Tempest; solid.states with Arco Renz; and was a featured dancer in Madonna’s 2001 Drowned World Tour.

Eko's recent major work is Cry Jailolo with seven youth dancers from Jailolo North Maluku that toured in Japan, Australia and Europe from August to October 2015. His most recent performance research on the Body Embodiment of Indonesian Dancers is connected to his work on maritime culture entitled The Future of Dance is Under Water.



Giselle Garcia is a faculty member at both the Fine Arts Program and English Department of the Ateneo de Manila where she developed the first dramaturgy undergraduate course at the university. As resident dramaturg and Senior Culture and Arts Officer at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, she also curates artisitc programmes with the Intertextual Division. As a member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) and Writers Bloc, she always tries to find ways to support the development of new work, and forging relationships with and between artists, communities and institutions.

Giselle received her M.A. in Theater, Dramaturgy Concentration degree from Hunter College, City University of New York and an A.B. Literature (English) degree from the Ateneo de Manila University. She has worked on the development of over 250 new plays by established and emerging playwrights in New York and Manila.

Some recent production dramaturgy credits include Nicolas B. Pichay’s Macho Dancer: A Musical, Elmer Gatchalian’s adaptation of Juego de Peligro (Tanghalang Pilipino); Der Kaufmann: Ang Negosyante ng Venecia by Rody Vera (Tanghalang Pilipino); the Off-Broadway production of Lloyd Suh's Jesus in India (Ma-Yi); Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente (Tanghalang Pilipino); Kooman and Dimond’s Dani Girl (Sandbox Collective); and Agyu: Patungo sa Paraiso (Siklab Productions). Pahimakas sa Isang Ahente and Der Kaufmann: Ang Negosyante ng Vencia were cited and awarded respectively for Outstanding Production of Existing Material for a Play by the Philstage Gawad Buhay Awards.



Helly Minarti is an independent dance curator and researcher based in Jakarta. In 2014, she received her PhD in Dance Studies from the University of Roehampton, UK.

From 2013 to 2015, Helly was the Head of Programme for the Jakarta Arts Council (JAC), during which she coordinated a collective curatorial process across various arts forms. At JAC, she co-initiated Choreolab: Process in Progress, a programme designed as a dramaturgical intervention for young choreographers to foster criticality, informed by her experience dramaturging and producing for Indonesian choreographers.

Helly co-curated the Asia-Europe Dance Forum (2004, Berlin), the Asia-Europe Artists Exchange (2006, Ansan/Korea), and the Indonesian Dance Festival (2014). She produced for choreographer Fitri Setyaningsih from 2013 to 2015. Her most recent project was curating Gaze. Project. Myth (2015) at the inaugural season of Asian Arts Theatre in Gwangju, Korea. The project comprised an exhibition, choreographic presentations and a symposium to explore the discourses and practices of Orientalism throughout history.

Helly's research interests include (global) discourse on modernities, cultural policy/politics with a focus on the Asian context, and issues on contemporaneity and certain artistic/choreographic practices within an Indonesian historical context.



Ken Takiguchi is a research fellow at the Theatre Studies Programme, Department of English Language and Literature, National University of Singapore. He obtained his PhD in Japanese Studies from National University of Singapore, specialising in theatre translations, intercultural theatre and cultural policy.

As a theatre academic, Ken was an Assistant Convener of a conference titled Unfinished Business: Krishen Jit’s Performance Practice and Contemporary Malaysian Theatre held in Kuala Lumpur in January 2015. He convened a symposium on Malaysian theatre for the Japan Association for Malaysian Studies in December 2015. Ken is also the Deputy Director and Translation Editor for an online archive project called the Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive.

Ken also works in theatre as a dramaturg, translator and producer. He started his practice when he was the Assistant Director of the Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur. He has actively participated in numerous intercultural productions, including Spring in Kuala Lumpur (2004, Five Arts Centre [Malaysia] & Pappa Tarahumara [Japan]); Reservoir (2008, TheatreWorks [Singapore]); Mobile 2: Flat Cities (2013, The Necessary Stage [Singapore]); and HOTEL (2015, W!ld Rice [Singapore]).



Kok Heng Leun is the Artistic Director of Singaporean theatre company Drama Box, and a prominent figure in both the English- and Chinese-language theatres in Singapore. Thus far, he has directed over 60 plays, including Kuo Pao Kun's Spirit Play; the Forum Theatre work Trick or Threat!; HERstory (2011, Singapore Arts Festival); and Drift (2008, Singapore Season).

Heng Leun strongly believes in engaging the community in his works to promote critical dialogues about the world we live in. He is one of the most important theatre practitioners in Singapore advocating applied and engaged arts. Known to be one of the most respectable Forum Theatre practitioners in Asia, he has also ventured into multi-disciplinary applied and engaged arts projects such as Project Mending Sky which deals with environmental issues, and PRISM which looks at issues of governance in Singapore.

In recent years, Heng Leun has been actively advocating cultural exchanges and dialogues among artists and cultural workers in the region as well as internationally. He has also taken up teaching, curatorial and dramaturgical roles in many projects.

Heng Leun also strongly believes in the importance of research and documentation of theatre and performance. In recent years, he has initiated various projects to document and research on Chinese language theatre in Singapore, including SCENES – Singapore's Chinese Language Theatre, a curated festival programme of theatre and exhibitions, a published anthology of contemporary Singapore Chinese language plays, and currently a publication on the history of Singapore's Chinese language theatre.

He received the Young Artist Award from the National Arts Council of Singapore in 2000 and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Culture Award in 2003. In 2006, he was presented the Outstanding Young Person (Culture) award in recognition of his contribution to the local arts scene.



Lachlan Philpott is a Sydney-based playwright. He has nine published plays, including Silent Disco (which won the Griffin Award for Outstanding New Australian play; the GAP Competition Aurora Theatre Co., USA; and the Best Stage Play at the Australian Writers Guild Awards) and Truck Stop (which won Best Play for Young Audiences at the Australian Writer’s Guild Awards). His latest upcoming work is Lake Disappointment staged by Carriageworks (Sydney).

Lachlan has done extensive work as a teacher, mentor and dramaturg at international organisations, theatre companies, schools and tertiary institutions around the world, such as Amnesty International, Checkpoint Theatre (Singapore), Griffin Theatre Company (Sydney), the Oval House (London), and The Playwright’s Foundation (San Francisco).

In 2013, Lachlan was awarded an Australia Council Cultural Leadership grant to study new play development models in several countries. He received the inaugural Australian Professional Playwright Fulbright Scholarship in 2014 to work in-residence at The American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco, and Kansas State University. He was also Chair of the Australian Writers' Guild Playwrights’ Committee between 2012 and 2015.



Li Yinan is Professor for Dramaturgy and Theatre Studies at the Central Academy of Drama of China, Beijing. Since 2009, she has been making efforts to introduce the German concept and working methods of Dramaturgy into China. At the beginning of 2015, she established the Faculty of Dramaturgy and Applied Theatre at the Central Acedemy of Drama and took up its Director position.

Yinan's major dramaturgical work include YouMou (2015, Have/Have Not), About the Beautiful New World (2015), About Disappearance (2014), Stockholm Syndrome (2010), and Miss Special (2009). She was Chief Dramaturg at the Caochangdi Workstation, Bejing in 2007, and the Resident Dramaturg of Lin Zhaohua Theatre Studio, Beijing, in 2004.

Yinan is a 2012 recipient of the NCET (the programme for New Century Excellent Talents in university) Fellowship from the Ministry of Education, China.



Lim How Ngean is a performance-maker, dramaturg and dance researcher who has been actively involved in the performing arts for over 20 years. He is also the founding director of the Asian Dramaturgs' Network, which will hold its inaugural symposium in Singapore in April 2016. Earlier in his career, he performed in productions in Singapore and Malaysia as well as wrote reviews and features on dance and theatre for the Malaysian press.

In recent years, How Ngean has served as dramaturg for dance performances at the Singapore Arts Festival and Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay. He has dramaturged for critically-acclaimed choreographers and dance groups, such as the Amrita Performing Arts Group (Cambodia), Daniel Kok (Singapore), Kuik Swee Boon (Singapore), Ming Poon (Singapore), and Pichet Klunchen (Thailand). His latest work was What Price Your Dance?, a collaboration with Dance Box Kobe, performed in February 2016 in Kobe, Japan.

In 2006, How Ngean was awarded a visiting fellowship under the Asian Public Intellectual programme of the Nippon Foundation, during which he researched contemporary dance in Tokyo for eight months. He was awarded the British Council Chevening Scholarship in 2007 to study his MA in Royal Holloway London. He was conferred his PhD in 2014 from the National University of Singapore for his research on contemporary dance choreography in Southeast Asia.



Max-Philip Aschenbrenner is a performing arts presenter and dramaturg. He has studied media studies, interaction and process design, and has a Master's degree in dramaturgy. After working as an artistic collaborator at the Theater der Welt Festival in 2010 when Frie Leysen was the artistic director, he took on the position of artistic director at SÜDPOL – Musik und Tanz Theater in Kriens, Switzerland. He participated in programming the Vienna Festival with Frie Leysen.

Max-Philip's dramaturgical work includes Loan Shark directed by Christ Kondek at Rotterdamse Schouwburg, and King Lear directed by Barbara Weber at the Vienna Festival and Hebbel Theater (HAU). He has most recently served as dramaturg for the Asian Arts Theatre in Gwangju, South Korea, and from 2016 onwards, he will be the dramaturg for the Volksbühne theatre in Berlin, Germany.



Nanako Nakajima is a scholar and a dramaturg of dance, and a certified traditional Japanese dance master. She currently teaches at Aichi University, Japan, and is also a Research Fellow at Free University Berlin. She was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science at Saitama University from 2011 to 2014. In 2006, she was a Jacobs Pillow Research Fellow and a visiting scholar at Tisch School New York University.

Nanako has worked as a dance dramaturg with New York downtown artists. Her dramaturgical work with luciana achugar, Exhausting Love at Danspace Project (2006), was awarded the New York Dance and Performance Award for choreography. Her other dramaturgical works include Chameckilerner's Costumes By God (2005, NY Dance Theater Workshop), Koosil-ja Hwang's mech[a]OUTPUT  (2007, NY Japan Society), Osamu Jareo's Theater Thikwa plus Junkan Project (2008-2011, KYOTO EXPERIMENT 2012), and Archiving Dance, Dance Marathon: OPEN WITH A PUNK SPIRIT! Archive Box (2014 Saison Foundation; 2015, Singapore International Festival of Arts).

Nanako curated and organised international dance symposia entitled "The Aging Body in Dance", held in Berlin (2012) and in Tokyo (2014). She also realised the Asian premiere of An Evening with Judy by Raimund Hoghe at the Shunju-za Kabuki Theater in 2014.

Nanako gave cuatorial direction for the international collaborative project, Dance Archive Boxes, showcased at the 2016 Tokyo Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama. Her publications include Dance Dramaturgy: Modes of Agency, Awareness and Engagement (2015, Palgrave) and Musica Mundana (2015, in Liberal Arts, Vol. 6, Saitama University Studies) as well as scholarly articles such as De-aging Dancerism? The aging body in contemporary and community dance  (2011, in Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts, Vol. 16) and Dance Dramaturgy on the Topic of Aging - Focusing on Raimund Hoghe's 'An Evening with Judy' (2015, in Performing Arts, Vol. 19).



Peter Eckersall is Professor of Asian Theatre at the Graduate Centre, City University of New York. Recent publications include We’re People Who Do Shows: Back to Back Theatre: Performance, Politics, Visibility (co-edited with Helena Grehan, Performance Research Books, 2013), Theatre and Performance in the Asia-Pacific: Regional Modernities in the Global Era (co-authored with Denise Varney, Barbara Hatley and Chris Hudson, Palgrave 2013) and Performativity and Event in 1960s Japan: City, Body, Memory (Palgrave 2013).

Peter was a graduate of the Rusden theatre program and co-founded The Men Who Knew Took Much, a performance group that was active for much of the 1980s and 1990s. More recently, he was the co-founder of Dramaturgies and is the resident dramaturg for the performance group Not Yet It’s Difficult (NYID). NYID’s award-winning performance and mixed media works have been widely seen in Australia, Asia and Europe.


Robin Loon is a dramaturg, academic and playwright. He currently teaches the Introduction to Theatre & Performance module as well as modules in Singapore English Language Theatre and Theatre Criticism at the Theatre Studies Programme, National University of Singapore.

Robin has consulted on many theatre projects as a dramaturg. He was Co-commissioning Dramaturg for Full Frontal (2007-2009), a directors’ incubation platform at the Singapore Arts Festival. Subsequently, he was appointed Commissioning Dramaturg for Open Studio (2010-2012), Singapore Arts Festival Platform for new works. He has also been writer and dramaturg in several projects, including Casting Back (2012, Esplanade’s 10th Anniversary), 男男自语 (2012, Singapore Arts Festival), and Blue Prince (2012, The Blue Statesmen).

Robin also heads Singapore's first Dramaturg Apprenticeship Programme under Centre 42's Garage initiative. The Garage is a programme conceived for fresh theatre graduates wanting to move into dramaturgy and for practitioners eager to do a mid-career switch to or emphasis on dramaturgy. It is a 12-to-18 months programme comprising theoretical and historical contextualising and two professional attachments to ongoing productions. 



Ruhanie Perera is a performer, performance-maker and lecturer working in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She is a founding director of Floating Space Theatre Company, and is also attached to the Department of English, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka as a visiting lecturer in performance and literature.

Ruhanie holds an MA in Performance and Culture: Interdisciplinary Approaches from Goldsmiths, London (2009), and her research has addressed storytelling cultures, performative acts and identities and cultural memory. Her most recent research project was titled A Place for Herstory: Memory, Archive and Creative Agency, and was presented at the Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics, University of Brighton, September 2013. 

Ruhanie’s recent work as a performer includes Forgetting November (2015, Harold Pieris Gallery [Colombo]); Inscribing Her (2013, Solo for the International Art Critics’ Association Seminar – Unpacking Multiple Identities within Gender Based Art [Colombo]); Somewhere Between Truth and its Telling (2012, Solo for Stranger Than Fiction [London]); and My Other History (2011 [Colombo] and 2012 [Galle, Jaffna and Kandy]).

Ruhanie also works as a curator in visual art contexts, creating conversations across practice – more recently as the curator of the ‘live art’ segment of the Colombo Art Biennale (2014) and currently (2015/2016) as the curatorial advisor of the ‘Sacred Cities’ project – an artistic research initiative by Espace Gallery, Delhi, India and Theertha International Artists’ Collective, Sri Lanka.



Sankar Venkateswaran is a theatre dramaturg, director, producer, actor and composer. He is also the Artistic Director for the International Theatre Festival of Kerala in 2015 and 2016. He is a graduate of the Calicut University School of Drama & Fine Arts, Kerala, specialising in theatre direction, and the Theatre Training and Research Programme (now Intercultural Theatre Institute), Singapore. He is also the recipient of the 2013 International Ibsen Scholarship (Norway).

In 2007, Sankar founded Theatre Roots & Wings, directing works such as Quick Death (2008), Sahyande Makan - The Elephant Project (2008), Shogo Ohta’s silent play The Water Station (2011), 101 Lullabies (2012) based on the Indian epic Mahabharata, and Henrik Ibsen’s When We Dead Awaken (2012) in collaboration with the German dancer Urs Dietrich.

Sankar also directed Bhasa’s Urubhangam (2009) for Shinshu University, Japan, and Neerina Niluthana for the Marutirugata Repertory Company of Ninasam Theatre Institute, Karnataka, India. Also for Ninasam Theatre Institute, he directed Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull (2012), Guruthillathe Nadatha Galike (2013) based on Peter Handke’s The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other, and Samuel Beckett’s The Lost Ones (2014).

Sankar has also conducted workshops for institutions and theatre/dance companies such as Kuna’uka Theatre Company (Tokyo), Gati Dance Forum (New Delhi), Attakalari (Bangalore), and Colombo Dance Platform (Colombo) organised by Goethe-Institut, Sri Lanka.



Shintaro Fujii is a professor in theatre studies and currently the chief of the Department of Theatre and Film Studies at Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan. He specialises in contemporary performing arts, with a focus on francophone countries (France, Belgium and Canada) and Japan. He works on dramaturgy of the works of prominent artists such as Romeo Castellucci, Alain Platel, Robert Lepage and Dumb Type, as well as on cultural policies concerning performing arts.

Shintaro has been the co-editor of Creative Force in the Postdramatic Age, Hakusuisha, 2014 (an anthology of interviews with artists such as Romeo Castellucci, Gisèle Vienne and Rimini Protokoll); Arts and Their Environment, Ronsosha, 2012 (an anthology of essays on national and international cultural policies); Théâtre/Public, no 198, “Scènes françaises, scènes japonaises : allers-retours”, 2010 (a special issue of a French theatre review on exchange in theatre between Japan and France); and Keywords in Theatre Studies, Pelicansha, 2007. In 2013, he was the initiator and director of a pilot project “Training Programme in Dramaturgy” at Waseda University, the first attempt of its kind in Japan, with the funding from the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs.

Shintaro also translates plays, mostly from French into Japanese. Among them is Incendies (Scorched) by Wajdi Mouawad, for which he received in 2015 the prestigious Odashima Yushi Award for Drama Translation.



Yair Vardi is a curator, theatre-maker, dramaturg, performer and lighting designer, currently living in Tel Aviv. He has a BA in Theatre and Choreography Practice from Dartington College of Arts, UK (2009) and an MA in Solo/Dance/Authorship (SODA) from the Berlin University of the Arts (Universität der Künste Berlin, 2009). His research interests deal with the relationship between dramaturgy, curation and creation as structural and artistic tools for making art.

In 2006, Yair initiated the Festival "A-Genre" at the Tmuna Theatre, a festival for interdisciplinary contemporary performance pieces. He has been the festival's artistic director and curator since its inception. In 2012, he was put in-charge of Tmuna Theatre's curations, theatre festivals and special events, working alongside the theatre's artistic director Nava Zukerman.

Some of Yair's past projects include Cultural Basket (2016, Tmuna Theatre Ensemble); dramaturgy for Practice Makes Perfect (2015); Singular Light, video work for "Loving Art Making Art" (2015, Tel Aviv); dramaturgy for Skin (2014); and You never look at me from the place I see you (2013, Berlin & Tel Aviv). As a lighting designer, he has worked with various artists from all disciplines, on almost every stage in Israel, as well as in museums, galleries, public spaces and concert halls.