Interview with Deborah Emmanuel

The value of not having regrets about the past and living for the present is something Deborah Emmanuel appreciates. And indeed, it is something everyone should learn from. In this interview, she shares more about herself and her teaching.

Deborah will be teaching ‘Merging Disciplines: Writing, Performance & Music’ at HCAC next semester.

Deborah Emmanuel Headshot

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been writing and singing songs ever since I can remember, but I have never stopped questioning why I do it. The answer is always changing.

2. What is one thing that we don’t know just by looking at you?

My favourite colours are purple and green but I’m trying to diversify.

3. How old were you when you first started performing?

I was first on stage at 4 years old, in a hot hairy bear suit for the kindergarten circus musical.

4. Tell us your favorite memory as a performer.

I performed in an interactive theatre show a couple of years ago as a scary clown with KISS­style face paint. Every show I felt a collective shift, perhaps discomfort from the audience as I entered. The image I portrayed was quite confronting for some people, but my character was an instrument of change. It is important to push boundaries. That is how we widen our world.

5. Who’s your favorite writer and/or performer?

I don’t have an ultimate answer to this question and I never will, but right now i’m reading Ben Okri and he’s magical.

6. What do you teach?

Poetry and performance most regularly. Sometimes theatre and sometimes tie dye.

7. What is your teaching philosophy?

Be energetic and real. Know the goals of the session and then flow towards it. My lesson plans are always a bit malleable in the moment.

8. What skills, values or mindset do you most want to impart to your students?

I want them to challenge themselves and find more possibility in the world.

9. Tell us your favorite memory as a teacher.

Don’t have one. All the memories have value. Probably I reach for the “thank you” memories the most, during the periods that I’m questioning my use or impact.

10. What do you wish you’d known before you started as a performer?

No regrets and no wishes about the past. It has already happened. The present is where it’s at.

11. What do you think the future of writing and performance in Singapore will be like?

More experimental and appreciated.

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