About

PORTRAIT

That’s me. Not always so immaculately lit.

I’m a Singapore-born, Singapore-based creative type, working mostly out of my flat in Pasir Ris, which is in Singapore.

Most of my work is in the theatre, where I serve as a playwright; though I sometimes direct, sometimes act and and sometimes dabble in sound-design, composing and lyric-writing.

When I’m not writing for, about and in the theatre, I write non-fiction in a style that I’m still trying to cobble together from many years of abortive poetry and fiction writing.

When I’m not writing for a living, which is most of the time, I am probably thinking about food, eating it or preparing it. Food is important to my life. Click on the ‘Foodstuff’ on the menubar to find out more.

Below is the bio I use for programme booklets and grant applications.

Joel Tan is a playwright, director and performer. A versatile artist, his work crosses genres, styles and theatre-making cultures, including poetry, contemporary drama, dance theatre, pantomime and musical theatre. He made his debut at the 2011 Man Singapore Theatre Festival, with W!ld Rice’s production of Family Outing, directed by Glen Goei.

Since then, he has done work as a writer, director, dramaturg and actor with young-people’s theatre groups, including varsity theatres like NUS Stage (City Night Songs, 2012) and USProductions (People, 2013) and community youth groups like Takeoff Productions (Postgrads, 2012; Mosaic, 2013) and Creative Edge (People, 2014). Joel mentors young writers in playwriting, most extensively at Buds Youth Theatre and frequently gives talks on writing, the theatre and literature at schools. He also works with veteran theatre-makers, and has written for W!ldrice (Jack and the Beansprout!, 2013), The Finger Players (The Next Page, 2014) and Checkpoint Theatre (Our Lady of Lourdes, 2014), where he is an Associate Artist.

His work often crosses cultural contexts, most notably in his Singapore adaptation of The House of Bernarda Alba, which he wrote and directed for Flamenco company, Flamenco Sin Fronteras (The House, 2013). His monologue That Daniel, written during a weeklong playwright’s retreat at Bundanon, Sydney, appears in Bite Me (2014), a collection of monologues published by Australian Theatre for Young People. Joel also writes creative non-fiction, and his work can be read at POSKOD.sg and in Esquire Singapore.

This website doubles as my personal blog and professional avatar. It is an odd hybrid of Facebook page and Linkedin profile. On this website, I hope you will find interesting writing, interesting links to my writing, and general interest. I write, generally, in, from and about Singapore, my life, and the intersections of those things with many other things.


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