The The­atre Project That Has Re­de­fined the The­atre Ex­pe­ri­ence

Lon­don-based Se­cret Stu­dio Lab’s take on Broad­way: Keep the au­di­ence guess­ing, mov­ing par­tic­i­pat­ing. and

Herworld (Singapore) - - I / INNOVATION - - CH

This is how it works – or doesn’t, in the tra­di­tional sense: You will have no idea what kind of the­atri­cal per­for­mance you have paid for. You will be moved from lo­ca­tion to lo­ca­tion to lo­ca­tion. You will learn where the first lo­ca­tion is only on the day it­self – via text mes­sage, like with il­le­gal raves and flash mobs. And you’ll get a pass­word for it. You will be told how to dress. The cast will be right up close and per­sonal with you be­cause you may be in­vited to par­tic­i­pate (you can say no).

“The whole point of Se­cret Stu­dio Lab is to keep the au­di­ence guess­ing,” says Scot­tish ac­tor/founder Richard Craw­ford. “That any­thing could hap­pen.”

It’s this level of sub­terfuge and cre­ative think­ing that has given the Lab such ca­chet and suc­cess.

Since its first show in New York, the com­pany has put on 16 per­for­mances (called Se­cret The­atre Projects) in four coun­tries. They’re a mix of orig­i­nal plays and adap­ta­tions such as Reser­voir Dogs and Ed­ward Scis­sorhands.

Craw­ford founded Lab in 2008 be­cause he felt the the­atre scene had be­come pre­dictable. “The same shows on Broad­way and the West End were played all the time, and geared to­wards tourists,” he says. “It lost its ap­peal a lit­tle.”

He wanted to per­form for peo­ple who lived in the city where the per­for­mance was held, and cre­ate site­spe­cific shows out­side the au­di­to­rium – his way of re­claim­ing the cre­ativ­ity and mer­cu­rial na­ture of the­atre.

Craw­ford was in­spired to pro­duce a play in Sin­ga­pore when he vis­ited a friend here last Novem­ber. He saw the is­land as a grow­ing metropo­lis, and was back in De­cem­ber scout­ing for lo­ca­tions, part­ners and lo­cal ac­tors to join the team. “The shows are, in the­ory, set in the con­text of the city, so I try to use lo­cal cast mem­bers as much as I can,” he says. “If all the pro­tag­o­nists are Cau­casians, it would cause a sub­con­scious dis­con­nect.”

A re­cent per­for­mance in Hong Kong in­cluded a speed­boat ride to a haunted man­sion.

So, what awaits Sin­ga­pore the­atre fans? Craw­ford says: “The evening will be fun and thrilling. And leave your heels at home.” The show opens on May 3 and will run un­til June 10. Tick­ets are $99-$150. Min­i­mum age re­quire­ment: 21 years.

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