In Conversation with “Patch and Punnet” – A Youth Theatre Collective in Singapore
Founded by 4 youths who have a passion for theatre arts, “Patch and Punnet” was born out of their desire to change the the perception of theatre being labelled as “being only for the big players” or they are meant only for the ‘atas’ class in society.
We met with Pearl Wee, who once was “Patch and Punnet’s” Number 1 fan (she claims), and currently the Events Manager, to find out more about what they’re all about.
Started as a passion project, “Patch and Punnet” (PAP), a non-registered entity, teamed up with “Strawberries Inc” (Strawberries), a company that provides dinner theatre, as well as immersive theatre experience for corporates.
Strawberries also crafts themes, scripts and storylines for events of all kinds. “The plan was to use Strawberries as the ‘money maker’ and use our earnings to stage theatre productions.” as Pearl tells me how the partnership came together.
PAP wants to bring theatre to people, making it easily accessible and not to be perceived as an art form that makes one feel disconnected. Their existence is also to encourage more non-theatre goers and youths to watch more plays.
In order to do so, they decided to bring theatre in a more casual setting.
Pearl goes on to share with me how one of PAP’s production, titled “Stupid Cupid”, was done in a bookstore. Doing away with chairs as seats, that production had audience sat in sofas with cushions instead. Those who attended were also able to grab a beer to enjoy with friends while enjoying the show.
The laid-back and chill environment style they created for the play, was something they’d like to share with those who have never been to, or has ever had an experience attending a theatre production.
PAP creates and produces comedic and whimsical stories, that might seem out of this world, but they tend to have a metaphorical correlation to a specific social issue in Singapore. “Even though the socio-political issues may not be very apparent, we like to keep to that relatability as it allows the audience to leave the theatre with a new perspective on life.”
The Struggles & Challenges
As a small theatre company in Singapore, PAP is aware that making it big in the first couple of years is virtually impossible.
Since PAP’s form and style of delivery differs from the usual theatre groups, they find it a struggle to craft their brand image, as they are aware no one else doing what they do.
As an upcoming theatre collective in Singapore, their greatest challenge is gaining a following of an audience who likes their style of work.
However due to the pandemic, all of live theatre shows have been put on hold.
Thankfully just before the lockdown, they were able to do a complete run of “Fika & Fishy” which was staged in an unused shophouse located in Little India.
Because of COVID, PAP decided to make digital theatre instead, by creating short videos using skits that they’ve wanted to put up, but never could due to its short form.
“One of the challenges we faced during COVID was we weren’t able meet anyone and we had to write and plan out the entire shoot for the “Patch and Punnet Show”. We were also unable to get together to run rehearsals or do site recces or looking for advice that we may have needed from others who have had more experience in the digital content field.”
With their plans to increase PAP’s brand awareness and making people love their style of works, Pearl, who majored in theatre for 6 years through the IB Programme in SOTA and a degree holder in Theatre Studies from NUS, is currently taking a 11-month training programme in “Social Media Marketing” with the Singapore Media Academy.
“I hope the course will help me in learning how to use the right platform, using good keywords for search engine optimisation. Basically, be equipped with the knowledge regarding social media, that will help PAP gain more followers and how we can market our events better.”, Pearl’s response why she decided to take up the programme.
At the present moment, PAP is taking a spin at establishing their social presence and gaining more followers online. One day when the situation returns to normal, the look forward to these followers be watching PAP productions in person.
Pearl sees a bright future coming for PAP.
She hopes that within the next 3 years, the brand of PAP will be known by Singaporeans and many will be supporting their productions.
To be financial stable and maintaining sustainability is one of the things Pearl hopes PAP can achieve.
“For the 5 year mark, I hope that we would be established enough to make money off ticket sales. We also want to continue producing skits for the online platform and have future collaborations with celebrities who take a liking to our work.”
Aside from the time-framed goals, PAP has set its sight on changing the theatre landscape in Singapore, as well as the public’s perception of understanding what theatre is all about.
PAP is definitely excited for people to visit a theatre production and be able to enjoy it casually as if they are watching a Disney movie.
Click below to find out more about “Patch and Punnet” via their social feeds.