Programs that nurture playwrights are rare in Malaysia. This is why Adriana Nordin Manan, a multi-talented creative, is on a mission to nurture the art.
Through her collaboration with award-winning playwrights Hana Pascal Keegan and Eric Ngalle Charles, the trio have created an online workshop dubbed 100DP to develop new writing in Malaysia.
Launched in 2019, the 15-week long program (or 100 days, hence 100DP), was co-created in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, by writers and poets Lily Jamaludin, Dhinesha Karthigesu, and Adriana Nordin Manan.
“We started out 100DP because we felt it was important to rethink the way artists provide feedback to one another, specifically when it comes to playwriting,” Adriana said to Eksentrika.
The purpose of the program, according to Adriana, is also to spur and encourage exploration and experimentation – two important aspects when it comes to generating fresh performances.
The workshops will be held on a weekly basis. “Every Saturday for three hours,” Adriana said, adding that the time will be revealed soon.
“There’s also an optional writing session on weekday evenings for those who need to bounce off ideas.”
What’s unique about the program is that there will be dramaturgical support by Hana along with two individual feedback sessions with the mentor playwrights.
Participants will also experience development opportunities with directors and actors before seeing their play come to life through a public reading at the end of the program. Each play is expected to be between 30 to 45 minutes long.
Through the support of the International Literature Showcase Collaboration Fund and the British Council, a stipend of RM800 will also be provided to assist budding playwrights.
Based in Wales and born in Cameroon, Eric is a writer, poet, playwright, and human rights activist who was awarded the Creative Wales Award 2017/2018 for his work on the topics of migration, trauma, and memory.
In his 2019 autobiography I, Eric Ngalle: One Man’s Journey Crossing Continents from Africa to Europe, he recounts his journey to Europe, where he spent several years seeking refuge. He sits on the boards of Literature Wales and Aberystwyth Arts Centre Advisory Group and began his Ph.D. at King’s College London in October 2021.
Hana on the other hand is a writer, dramaturg, and director from the Caribbean and UK.
Her assistant and associate directing credits include All My Sons (The Old Vic); Jellyfish (The National, The Bush Theatre); All Of Us (The National); Macbeth (Chichester Festival Theatre); Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me (Kiln Theatre); REPLAY: Fresh Direction (The Young Vic), Open Mic (Soho Theatre, English Touring Theatre); Crips Without Constraints (Graeae Theatre), Butterflies In The Dust (Jermyn Street Theatre).
Hana trained with Graeae Theatre Company and The Young Vic Theatre’s Directors Programme. She was publicly shortlisted as one of six Emerging Directors to receive The Evening Standard’s ’21 Future Theatre Fund Award recognising new directing talent.
Hana most recently began writing and developing a play set in a kitchen in cupboard with 30 National Youth Theatre members. She also worked on a virtual mixed reality piece that premiered at the 2021 London Film Festival.
Facilitating the program is Adriana who is a writer, translator-interpreter, playwright, researcher, curator, dramaturg, educator, and entrepreneur. Playwriting remains to be her biggest love.
In 2021, the script of her first full-length play – grappling with themes of diaspora and cultural collisions – was a semifinalist in the International Scratchpad Series by The Playwrights Realm, New York City.
Adriana, who has a Masters in Politics from New York University, and a Bachelors in Globalization and Social Justice from Colby College also had a hand in writing some skits for indicinelive!, a sketch comedy show produced by the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre.
She is the co-founder and playwriting instructor for UnRepresented: KL, a writing program on unearthing less heard and less represented narratives in and about Kuala Lumpur. Her writing has been performed in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Malacca, Singapore, and New York City.
In short, the line-up of mentors is impressive!
The program is open to first-time playwrights and those who’ve never written a play before but relish the challenge of discovering how to write one. In short, the program is for everyone in Malaysia who are above 18.
“We believe being Malaysian is about your lived experience and connection to the country, instead of immigration status. If the play you want to write has Malaysians as the primary audience, then you’re Malaysian in our books. We neither filter applicants based on citizenship status, nor request proof of citizenship at any stage.
“That said, because programs that nurture playwrights are rare in Malaysia, we do require that all playwrights be based in the country. Our ethos is about cultivating the local ground. As a fully online program, we can accept and highly encourage applications from across Malaysia,” she explained.
As for the language, the plays will be in English interspersed with colloquial Malay and other languages.
“However any parts that are not in English must be translated or explained in writing sufficiently before submission for feedback, to allow the readers to provide a constructive and meaningful critique. The responsibility to translate parts of the script that are not in English lies with the playwright.”
The 100DP program begins in late May and will run for 15 weeks / 100 days.
Part of the selection process involves half-day online interviews on 19 February 2022.
“The four admitted playwrights will be notified by 28 February 2022, and have 7 days to confirm their participation.”