Actor’s Calling: A Change of Seasons

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late!

Turn!Turn!Turn! by The Byrds is a song I first came across when I saw the film Forrest Gump many, many moons ago. It is perhaps one of the many reasons why I have rewatched that film several times. The idea of a changing of seasons and moments is what I’m choosing to share with you today.

Just over a month ago, HCAC turned 4 years old and with it came a move to our new (and third ever) location, 89A Desker Road. Having spent about 4 years in our previous space, the move was as emotional as it was bittersweet. The last 4 years saw increasing numbers of Singaporeans and people who call Singapore their home come through our iconic red door to find ways to free their talent. That led us to create not just workshops but also workshop-productions and of course productions as well all presented by our sister company, Method Productions. You could say those 4 years were the foundation stones for what I hope will be the creation of my own arts and entertainment ecosystem as well as a feeder system for the larger arts ecosystem in Singapore.

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Kamil teaching in the old studio @ 22 Dickson Road.

I am immensely heartened by the fact that ever so slowly, we’re chipping away at the notion that the arts are for artists only.  A few years ago, I coined the term “Creative Double-Lifer” (CDL) which refers to people who maintain a 9-5 job in the corporate world but (for various reasons) from 5pm onwards, they choose to spend their free time cultivating their creative life. Beyond the full-time artist, there exists a thriving community of Creative Double-Lifers. Perhaps they became a CDL because they couldn’t pursue a life or career in the arts at all or they did as a child but were forced or pushed into a more mainstream career path. Given their present circumstances they have more time or financial freedom or emotional freedom to pursue their passion. Or perhaps they are aware that the arts has always been a place to build their internal infrastructure, their soft skills, and fill their soul.

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Whatever their purpose, objective or reason, HCAC has been their home and continues to be their home. You might say, “but they aren’t real artists.” And my response is that, is GREAT! What is a “real” artist anyway? The very fact that statement exists is to me antithetical to what art is. The arts is for everyone. The arts is inclusive. The arts is responsive. The arts is provocative. The arts is there to provide a voice for the voiceless. So for as long as HCAC continues to exist, I hope that my teachers and I can provide a creative home for them.

In other news, The Singapore Monologue Slam (SMS) is back for its second edition in September 2017. The competition will feature 60 Thespians between the ages of 13-35 and one Thespian above the age of 35. Each actor will present monologues from TV, Film, Theatre or even a self-written piece as they vie for scholarships, cash and prizes worth over $30,000. My team and I (and very proactive members of my HCAC family) have assisted these thespians in the selection of their monologues. In August, I will personally be training all 60 of them on how to present and perform their pieces so that come September, they’ll be as rockstar-ready as can be. Beyond the competition, my team and I are also kickstarting a new initiative called SMS+.

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Kamil as host for The Singapore Monologue Slam 2016.

SMS+ refers to a series of performances after every edition of SMS that will be done in collaboration with organizations and other collectives in Singapore. Previous collaborations include The Singapore Writers Festival, All In! Young Writers Festival, The Storytelling Festival, The Read Festival. In addition to such collaborations, there are plans for other performance opportunities to be staged around Singapore.

As you can imagine all of this takes an immense amount of effort, energy, time and money. So before I forgot, I want to thank each member of my administrative team who has put in hard work behind the scenes, Sharon, Ranice, Lynn, Geraldine, Zora, Tricia, Anoushka….. thank you for what you do!

HCAC and Method Productions are always looking for interns and actors in need of merit or needs-based scholarships. In this new era of HCAC, I hope to support more youth theatre collectives, more actors, more CDLs, the comedic improv community and more.

Which now brings me back to where we begin with this article….. there is a time, a place and a season for everything. I hope that once you read this article, you consider giving yourself a time, a place and a season to cultivate your inner child, your creative self and free your talent.

With Hope Towards The Future,

Kamil Haque

Artistic Director

Haque Centre of Acting & Creativity

Method Productions