Can Theatre Alleviate Social Anxieties?

That is a question that Singapore theatre company, Split Theatre, attempts to answer and explore through their new programme entitled “Work On The Self“.

The recurring 10-week programme and its associated performances have received recognition from the National Youth Council and National Arts Council for its efforts to advance Singapore’s arts and culture scene in a way that creates direct and tangible effects on society.

That last point is important because those of us in Singapore know about the controversial survey that The Straits Times did regarding what respondents felt were ‘essential’ versus ‘non-essential’ during the pandemic, and ‘Artist’ was voted as the top most non-essential. However, Split Theatre’s programme explores to what extent the arts can help to alleviate anxieties and painful memories, and be used as tool for social good – especially post-pandemic.

Inaugural batch of “Work On The Self” programme


“Work On The Self” explores this topic with the intention of allowing a safe space for healing through theatre and participants are welcomed, regardless whether they have prior performing experience or not. The rigorous curriculum hones participants’ drama skills and also helps them overcome personal obstacles and fears. They will create their own theatrical “scores” (a mix of drama, song and movement) based on their real-life stories.

At the core of the Split Theatre blueprint is the human experience, and helping individuals make sense of that experience. With Work On The Self, we invite participants to not only explore healing and self-care with the help of physical theatre tools, but to also translate that reciprocal act of caring to audiences. Through this process, we hope to empower everyday people to find their voice, boldly express their stories, and seek solace in the stage.”

– Darryl Lim, Founder and Artistic Director

The programme will then culminate in a public performance at The Arts House in December, based on these scores – titled “Don’t Cancer Me Can”, inspired by Lim’s brush with lymphoma recently.

The “Work On The Self” programme is open to the public for registration and is currently accepting sign-ups for its second run from 22 January to 26 March 2022, which too will culminate in a capstone performance that participants are invited to take part in.

Tickets for “Don’t Cancer Me Can” are now available at S$35/person or S$30/person if purchasing 2 or more for the physical performance and can be purchased here. Livestream tickets will be released at a later date. Timings are as follows:

Dates Showtimes
18 December 2pm and 8pm
19 December
20 December 8pm
21 December


Please note that the physical show at The Arts House is a mask-on event that will be run in accordance with Safe Management Measures.

Images: Split Theatre

Leave a Comment