To commemorate World Theatre Day on 27 March, one of SRT’s graduate of The Young Company Writer Programme took some time off her busy student life to pen her thoughts on her journey as an aspiring playwright. Eighteen-year-old Tasneem Abdul Majeed shares with us her experience of honing her skills in playwriting, developing her own play and seeing it come to life on stage!
My name is Tasneem Abdul Majeed, member of the National University of Singapore’s University Scholars’ Programme, Autism Advocate and most importantly, playwriting enthusiast. I adore creative writing and have pursued this passion of mine wholeheartedly throughout the years. My journey as a writer began with spinning imaginary narratives on lazy bus rides home, evolving to initiating my own little “Script to Stage” troupe at age 11 and eventually staging with local theatre companies such as Sing. Lit Station, Act 3 International and Act 3 Theatrics; endeavours that fuelled my passion further. The highlight of my journey as a young playwright would have to be Singapore Repertory Theatre’s The Young Company Writers Programme in 2017.
Since the tender age of 9, I’ve fantasised about writing and producing an original play for stage. The prospect of combining education with entertainment by crafting my own world and having it brought to life on stage appealed to me immensely. Naturally, when I found out about The Young Company Writers (TYC) Programme, I did not hesitate to send in an application with my writing samples.
The experience did not disappoint! SRT provided a conducive environment for us amateur playwrights to engage in free-flowing, informal conversation to generate and foster our ideas as a group, in turn increasing the depth of our individual work. Our mentor Li Xie created an environment that challenged me to discuss the complex pillars of playwriting with maturity and to dive deeply into a text. Her guidance, passion and nurturing personality motivated me to embrace the role of a bona fide playwright with vigour. The tight-knit community that was established due to the small class allowed the 7 of us to form strong friendships that created wonderful memories in the brief four months we spent together.
The highlight of the journey would have to be witnessing my written piece brought to life by The Young Company Actors. As the writer, I really appreciated director Daniel Jenkins’ initiative of including my input in terms of expression of dialogue and considering my preferences when it came to casting. After the showcase, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and yet, knowing that my journey at SRT had come to an end, I was far from prepared to say goodbye.
Thanks to the creative and inventive skills and the valuable life lessons I learnt during the programme, I approached writing and Speech and Drama with newfound confidence, applying them to college life and other external endeavours in the field of The Arts. Alongside my fellow EXCO members in my school’s English Drama Society, I staged original plays such as Moments of Lyingat the Geylang East National Library, and The Masque of the Red Deathfor our college’s biannual Arts Fusion Drama Night. The programme also further affirmed my affinity for writing, prompting me to seek out more opportunities to refine my competency in writing after my GCE “A” Levels, particularly for genres such as playwriting and creative non-fiction. Simultaneously, I continued my passion for Autism Advocacy.
Being part of the 2017 cohort of The Young Company Writers Programme was a delightful and unforgettable experience. I thoroughly enjoyed my time and am immensely grateful for this wonderful opportunity. This experience not only taught me the ropes of playwriting but also the beauty of language, helping me realise my calling in this tumultuous, yet exciting journey of life. So, thank you, SRT.
Find out more about SRT’s Young Company that is an initative of SRT to provide an educational and performing platform for youths.