ACTOR’S CALLING: Kicking Off A New Year

Annnnnnndddd we’re back. A hearty welcome to you if you’re new to the HCAC family and welcome back if you’re one of the proud members of our HCAC Alumni.

Artistically speaking, 2015 was a bumper year for work produced with our students. We saw a slew of personal essay showcases in ‘Metaphors Be With You’, there was ‘Diwaloween’, a comedic short film about a clash of cultures, and three adapted Shakespeare productions, ‘The Intimate Tempest’, ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘Coriolanus’. Our Strasberg’s Improvisation workshop produced ‘Under the Rug’, and we curated two different one-person shows, ‘Dark Room’ and ‘Conundrum’. We ended off the year with ‘The Story Machine’, a long form improv show. If I’ve missed anything it’s only because there were so many beautiful pieces of work that it’s hard to keep count after a while!

To everyone who had a hand in supporting the creation of these productions, or if you came to watch these productions, thank you for your support.

2016 brings with it a new set of challenges and ambitions. HCAC is now moving into its third year since its inception in June 2013. We’ve almost made it out of our “terrible twos” (as any parent will tell you), and we’re beginning to find our feet, place them one in front of the other and then…well, and then who knows really?

Above and beyond our mission to support and nurture talent for the global stage, I have two wishes for 2016.

The first wish is for Singapore to consider the arts as a noble and necessary profession. For too long in Singapore, the arts has had a stigma hanging over its head as the thing one can do as a kid, for fun, but not as a ‘serious profession’ for an adult. It’s not even considered to be something essential. But look around you. Every object, every surface, every technology was created, refined and designed through an artistic process. The same effort is needed for every piece of fashion, music, theatre, painting or film. Even in the workplace, creativity seemed to the buzzword for 2014/15. Lots of organizations seemed to support creative thinking and innovative strategy. That sort of goals can only thrive if the arts itself is given room to be nurtured, to breathe and flourish.

My second wish is for my fellow artists and actors to rise up to the call that they are the voice for the voiceless. In order to represent yourself and the society you live in, what can you do to create a tangible, efficient and poignant point of view?

The answer is, ask questions. Question the people around you. Can you create work that’s so arresting that it gives pause for thought? Work that causes the audience to put down their tools, their emotional baggage, their robotic humdrum routines and for even just one second consider the possibility for change? Question yourself. Have you armed yourself with the appropriate resources and training to do your art justice? What’s stopping you? Where and who can you go to for assistance to be the artist you want to be? Question the industry. What can you do to support the industry? To make it raise its standards, to evolve it beyond the tried and tested, to represent the stories, people and values that are really reflective of what’s happening in the world today. If the industry is unfair to you or doesn’t have work that is appropriate for you, then create your own work. Create your own support system, create your own ecosystem. Look beyond our tiny island and find ways to be seen, to be heard and be credible while doing so.

I recently read a beautiful quote that said, “many people (including artists) are confused about the difference between art and entertainment. The Entertainment Industrial Complex wants to eliminate the distinction altogether. Art and entertainment do different things. Entertainment distracts our attention. Art focuses it.” I see nothing wrong with entertainment for entertainment’s sake. However, let’s see this new year as a year where we can support ourselves and each other to celebrate our artistry and Free Your Talent.

With Hope Towards The Future,
Kamil Haque

Actor’s Calling is a series of articles written personally by Kamil Haque, founder of the Haque Centre for Acting & Creativity. In this series, Kamil hopes to share his personal journey. He explores his vision for the school, growth as an actor and experiences as a teacher. The series also seeks to dispel some of the common misunderstandings about Actors and Method Acting.

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