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This is a young man who is determined to play a meaningful part in Singapore's theatrical ecosystem, and has already proven he's on the right path to doing just that

Theatre Interview: Khairul Kamsani, Writer-Producer-Director of ‘Human+’

Khairul Kamsani is the newest writer-producer-director on the block who’s intent on creating original content, and having it tour the world one day.

Twenty-five-year-old Kamsani was born in Singapore, the second oldest of four children. From ages seven to 10 he spent time in Texas when the family relocated for his father’s career in the international oil sector. From Texas, the family moved to several Asian countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, with Kamsani eventually returning to Singapore in 2010 to enroll in LaSalle College of the Arts where he undertook a diploma in theatre directing.

A plan to continue with the degree program at LaSalle went awry when the program ceased whilst Kamsani was serving his mandatory National Service.

Today, Kamsani’s newest production, Human+, is set to run from 30 August to 3 September 2017, at the KC Arts Centre. The play examines the blurred relationship between man and machine.

Kamsani first conceived Human+ in 2014 during his National Service days, and put up the original production, which he wrote, directed, and produced, at age 22. It was his second production; the triple-threat Kamsani had staged his first play Fracture: The End, The Middle, The Beginning as a LaSalle student in 2012 on school grounds, mostly attended by students, friends, and family.

Since early 2016, Kamsani has been an Assistant Director at the Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT), finishing his stint with the critically acclaimed Forbidden City this month. And in October, he will leave for the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London on a Postgraduate Embassy Scholarship, which is a partial scholarship from the School, to pursue his Master of Arts in Actor Training and Coaching.

When asked if he intends on returning to Singapore after his studies, the articulate and confident theatre-maker says he hopes to work between London and Singapore, but emphasizes that he’s always ready to create original content and contribute to the local theatrical landscape. He also says that he would like to see Discord of Discourse – the previous play Kamsani wrote, produced and directed, in 2015, under his own banner, The Cherry Orchard – travel internationally in the next three years or so.

For his upcoming, independently helmed Human+, proving he has an eye for the business side of theatre too, Kamsani has landed some funding from the NAC, and partnered up with Edge Media and the Arts & Science Museum in order to increase the reach of his play. However with only partial funding by the NAC, the rest of the bill will be picked up by Kamsani himself.

Acknowledging the privilege he has over other producers, who might not be as lucky when it comes to funding, Kamsani says that he is aware he’s better off, but he just wants to grow in his craft, get better at his skills, and not stay stagnant.

Mostly, this is a young man who is determined to play a meaningful part in Singapore’s theatrical ecosystem, and has already proven he’s on the right path to doing just that.

Starring Shu Yi Ching, Mitchell Lagos, Jo Tan, Prem John and Remesh Panicker, Human+ runs 30 August 30th to 3 September 2017 at the KC Arts Centre.

Tickets can be purchased at this link at a special 20% discount using the password: cymothoaexigua

About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, current freelance critic, writer and filmmaker.

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