24-Hour Playwriting Competition 2016: Recap

Last weekend, we had an enjoyable time at Gillman Barracks for the 24-Hour Playwriting Competition 2016!

In its 19th edition, this year’s competition blends art, history and heritage to form an inspiring backdrop for participants.

There are many things to unpack from this year’s competition. So, as a recap, here’s a timeline of events for this year’s competition!


Registration opened at 2.00pm and participants started streaming in early! They were excited, and wanted to find a good spot in the space to set up for the next 24-hours.


Now the fun begins!

Our Gamemaster, Becca D’Bus, first gave some housekeeping instructions to the participants. After which, our Guest-of-Honour Dr. Maliki Osman, Mayor of the South East District, gave his remarks and officially launched the competition by presenting the

FIRST STIMULUS: “I’m not arguing I’m simply explaining why I’m right.”

This stimulus had to be the opening line of the play. Let the writing begin!


What’s the point of the competition at Gillman Barracks without a tour of the historic grounds? Participants got to learn more about the site’s history, tour the grounds and hear personal stories back from the 1950s, 1950s and so on. The tour was guided by the friendly docents from Friends of the Museum!


One of the docents leading the tour of Gillman Barracks


Thank you to Sally, Julane and Lip Hang for the tour!



After dinner, participants had a special after hours tour of Pearl Lam Gallery! There, they were presented with two artworks by Qian Jiahua, and a presentation about the art work, which was their second stimulus.

Thank you to Chloe, Nicole and the Pearl Lam Galleries team!



It glows, it flows: the glowing green stream is the third stimulus (say, doesn’t it looks like wildfire from Game of Thrones?)


Participants made full use of the time working on their scripts (while we decided to sleep after a tiring day).



After breakfast, participants had a tour of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, which opened early specially for us! They had just launched their new exhibition 2 days before, and our participants were one of the first people to catch the exhibition. There, they were given a choice between two envelopes – they sort of had a “choice” in their stimulus. In the end, it ended up being “A record of suicides”!

Thank you to Magda and to NTU CCA and the rest of the team!



Now this is a shocker, with only 4 hours to go till the end of the competition, our Game Master decided to up the notch, challenging our participants even further! The 5th stimulus was to introduce 3 NEW CHARACTERS into their scripts!


Oh the tense silence of everyone finishing up their scripts…


Submission of the scripts began at 2.00pm sharp! Our team got down to work collecting and printing the scripts from the participants. When our printer got booted up, and the first participant printed his script, you could sense the wave of tension that went through the room. Our participants had 2 hours left!


3.59pm and 30 seconds 

AAAAND with 30 seconds to spare, our last participant ran up to the printing station, just in time for the 4pm deadline, bringing a close to this year’s competition!

Here’s what some of the participants had to say about this years competition!

“The area Gillman Barracks was a good location – I quite like the mix of art, history & heritage”. – Abdul Hamid

“Thank you! I think the organisers did great – very smooth transitions, food was good, everything was comfy and professionally done. Can see everything was thought through carefully and with lots of effort”. – Pam Tham

“It’s my first time (at Gillman Barracks). And I really appreciate how it forced me to explore my thoughts. The stimulus made me find connection between my ideas, and others, which I appreciate and enjoyed”. – Darlene John Johney

“Love the food and friendly facils + the exhibitions”. – Maryam Noorhimli

“I enjoyed meeting new people especially the TheatreWorks staff and the way everyone is so at ease to talk to and also the amazing guided tours”! – Quah Choo Ee

“The Game Master (Becca) was very entertaining and made the experience quite enjoyable”. – Leong Su Yean

“Looking forward to enter the competition again next year”! – Iris Chia

Thank you all for your kinds words! We’re glad you enjoyed yourselves! 😀

We would like to thank all the participants who took part for making this year’s competition a success. We would also like to extend our gratitude to Gillman Barracks for providing such a wonderful place for the competition!

We look forward to our 20th competition next year, and we hope to see new and familiar faces!


Thank you TheatreWorks team! You deserve some sleep!

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