Forum Theatre as Embodied Pedagogy: Perspectives in Drama Education

17 Apr 2024 11.00 AM - 12.30 PM Zoom Alumni, Current Students, Industry/Academic Partners, Prospective Students, Public
Organised by:
Daniel Kong

The current landscape of drama education recognizes its potential to foster empathy, critical thinking, and social awareness in students. Forum Theatre is increasingly acknowledged as a vital pedagogical tool within this context, offering unique benefits for immersive learning experiences. This seminar explores the rationale for integrating Forum Theatre into drama education, emphasizing its role in promoting active participation, empathy, and critical reflection among students. By encouraging participants to engage with complex social issues through embodied practice, Forum Theatre deepens understanding of the human experience and facilitates meaningful dialogue across diverse perspectives. Drawing from experiences in teaching Forum Theatre on caregiving and aging to secondary school students and youth in Singapore, this seminar provides insights into the challenges and rewards of addressing sensitive topics in educational settings.

Looking at the artistic and educational practice of inwardBOUND, this seminar will also explore various exercises and methods employed in Forum Theatre workshops for different communities, offering practical insights into designing transformative learning experiences for students. Looking to the future, this seminar will explore avenues for expanding the use of Forum Theatre in medical humanities education and beyond. By highlighting the potential of Forum Theatre to drive meaningful change within educational and healthcare contexts, this is a stepping stone towards ultimately shaping the trajectory of drama education in Singapore and beyond.

Isaiah Christopher Lee is an interdisciplinary Singaporean theatre practitioner, art historian, researcher, cultural diplomat, educator and entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in performance making and 5 years in education.

A recipient of the prestigious Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship 2023 (Beasiswa Seni dan Budaya Indonesia) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Isaiah represented the Republic of Singapore on the international stage. He studied Indonesian dance and music at Sanggar Ayodya Pala DKI Jakarta and has worked with Indonesian maestro Eko Supriyanto on Indonesia Channel 2023 at Lapangan Banteng, Central Jakarta. He continues to practise Balinese dance with Eka Suwara Santhi, Singapore.

Isaiah is an Associate Artist at inwardBOUND – Transformation through Drama and Guest Lecturer at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore (NAFA), teaching Contemporary Southeast Asian Theatre under the School of Music. Previously, he served as the Artistic Curator and Stage Director at New Opera Singapore. He is the Co-Founder of In The Round: Network of Emerging Theatre Directors and has also co-taught at Capital College of the Arts, Management and Technology, Singapore. Isaiah was an Artist-in-Residence with Centre 42 under the The Vault: Lite 2021 with a research specialisation on reimagining Singapore theatre classics, in particular Chong Tze Chien’s Poop!. He has also worked with pioneer Singapore artist Tang Da Wu on ‘The Big Rehearsal: What Question’ at The Substation, Singapore (2021) and ‘Walk Darkness Walk’ at the National Gallery Singapore (2021).

His performances include The Concubine (2021), and The Visit (2022), Single Mothers (2019), Anamnesis (2021) and 《왕》Reflections at the Esplanade Singapore, many of which have been supported by the National Arts Council Singapore (NAC), the Arts Fund, and the National Youth Council (NYC), Young ChangeMakers (YCM). 

Isaiah graduated with a BA(Hons) Double Major in English Literature and Art History (Highest Distinction) at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU-SG) with a Minor in Modern Languages (German). He is also the recipient of the Lee Kwan Yew Gold Medal (English) and the Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Award from NTU-SG. He is currently researching on the history of abstraction and performance in Indonesian painting.

Nora Neo-Crothers, founder of inwardBOUND, holds a First Class Honours degree in Drama and Performance from the National Technological University of Singapore. Her work focuses on utilizing drama for community engagement and education.

At inwardBOUND, Nora has developed an inclusive range of drama programs, serving a diverse age group from 6 to 86 years old. These programs focus on enabling expression and advocacy through theatre. She has been integral in establishing the re:ACT festival, promoting collaboration between young people and nonprofit  organisations, with a focus on using the arts to tackle social issues. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Nora also pioneered the IDEA platform, blending various art forms to ensure continuous artistic involvement and educational opportunities.

Leading a social enterprise, Nora is committed to using drama for community empowerment and creative transformation. inwardBOUND actively confronts social challenges like mental wellness, xenophobia, and community integration. The organization’s diverse range of workshops, programs, and performances has engaged over 100,000 students and has been instrumental in producing youth theatre that has garnered 68 Distinction Awards at the Singapore Youth Festival.