Under the tutelage of Huzir Sulaiman, students of this seven-week script-writing mentorship programme wrote short plays that drew from the collections and archive materials of NUS Museum. Consisting of one mentoring session and one public talk per week, Writing Lab 2014 culminated in a public script reading session on 27 March during the NUS Arts Festival 2014. Taking the potential of writing with history as its central premise, the programme encouraged a thinking of history as one that writes us as much as we write it:
The wonderful thing about Writing Lab is its combination of fine art, local history and playwriting in a unique confluence of ideas that entice people into unfamiliar territory. I’ve had friends who have never been in a museum gallery before ask if they could go look at the exhibitions that inspired the works.
As a writer, I was privileged to interact with different ideas – not just the contents of the museum exhibitions themselves, which are fascinating, but the ideas of the other participants as well. It has been extremely interesting to see how eight different people have come out of the exhibitions with eight (or sometimes more!) different insights and watching everyone else’s ideas take shape has been as exciting a process as working on my own piece. My fellow writers have come up with ideas that I never would have thought of and made them into very emotionally compelling stories.
Clarilyn Khoo, playwright of Silent Light