Plumbing the psyche for playwriting by Clara Chow

One of our participants from this year’s Writing from the Heart workshop, Clara Chow, wrote an honest, heartwarming piece about her personal experience of the workshop in The Straits Times.

In the end, I realise that my stories go nowhere because I am the kind who lets things remain the way they are. I see the patterns and I know why people act a certain way around me, but I remain paralysed as to changing these patterns and my way of reacting to see people. If I am willing to deal with problems directly, there is a chance that something will give way and a true resolution will be found – in life, as well as in fiction. Life serves art. – Clara Chow

Thank you for sharing Clara, we’re glad you found the workshop to be a safe place to learn and share.


It’s a wrap! Writing from the Heart Playwriting Workshop 2016

This year’s edition of the Writing from the Heart Playwriting Workshop with Tony Perez has come to an end! During the weeklong workshop, participants went through intense emotional truth exercises, rigorous writing under time-sensitive conditions, and even performed their finalised play that they wrote together as a group! It was an emotional rollercoaster, but in the most positive way possible.


Here are this year’s participants (except for one) with Tony Perez on the last day of the weeklong workshop!

Even though the workshop has ended, participants can look forward to mentoring sessions with Tony himself, and they will continue working closely together to further develop their plays.

Read on to check out some of the photos from the workshop, and find out what some of the participants had to say about the workshop, and even about Tony himself:

Continue reading

Writing from the Heart Interviews: Jasmine and Anita

Continuing with the series of interviews, we managed to catch yet another Writing from the Heart participant, Jasmine Thng! Jasmine, an 18-year-old student awaiting university, is our youngest participant from the workshop, but that does not make her any less experienced or her desire to write any less fervent. Read on to find out more about her feelings about the workshop, and what she hopes to achieve in the future:


Jasmine describing the drawing of her ideal writing space to the rest of the participants!

TheatreWorks: Why did you sign up for the workshop?
Jasmine: Actually, it was because I was really free and I saw the ad on the newspaper, and then I went to check online for the course structure and I thought it was very exciting. So I thought I’d just give it a try!

TW: Did you have any expectations before signing up? Or anything you had hoped to achieve by the end of it?
J: I just wanted to know how to write a script, mostly. I’ve read some scripts but I don’t really have any formal introduction to it.

TW: Do you see yourself writing in the future?
J: Hopefully so! But I’d probably have to read up more and continue practicing after this course (laughs).

TW: Any idea what you’d want to write about?
J: I think a play that is very decidedly set in Singapore, because I really like local writers and how they bring out a lot of uniquely Singaporean terms.

TW: Could you describe the past few sessions in three words?
J: Scary. Rewarding. Eye-opening.

We also spoke to Anita Goh, who spends the most of her weekdays at work, and finds writing intensive but cathartic at the same time. Read on to find out about her goals in writing, and how she’s anticipating the 24-hour playwriting competition that’s just around the corner!


One of the three most important things Anita carries around with her is a photograph of her family 🙂

TheatreWorks: Why did you join the workshop and what do you hope to get out of it?
Anita: Basically, I always wanted to try my hand at writing. So I’m really here to see how to structure the play, make the character more interesting… More relatable to people, instead of making it very 2-D.

TW: Do you see yourself writing in the future?
A: Definitely! So far my writing is still very raw, and not very marketable? So I’ll continue to work on my craft and hopefully produce something… before I die (laughs).

TW: Can you describe the workshop so far in three words?
A: Unexpected. Exciting. Intensive.

TW: Oh, intensive. Is it the exercises, or…?
A: I think in terms of exercise and also because we are supposed to create a play within 5 days. So I’m juggling this and working at the same time, so after work I’ll just go back and punch all the words in my laptop, then go back again and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite! But hopefully we get something beautiful at the end of the whole process.

TW: We think you’ll have fun during the 24-Hour Playwriting Competition!
A: Oh my God don’t remind me of that! (laughs)

Both Jasmine and Anita will be partaking in the 24-Hour Playwriting Competition too, in the youth and open categories respectively. We hope you’re looking forward to the 24-Hour Playwriting competition as much as we are! T-minus 4 days! 🙂

P.S.: Look out for our final wrap-up post featuring the rest of the participants coming really soon!

Writing from the Heart Interviews: Jason Montes

Over the course of the weeklong Writing from the Heart Workshop, we managed to get a few minutes with some of our participants to find out how the workshop has been going.


Here’s Jason showing the other participants three of the most important things he had on him, one of the many exercises of the weeklong workshop!

TheatreWorks: Why did you sign up for the workshop?
Jason: I’m on vacation right now and I saw the ad for the 24-hour playwriting competition, and from that, I found out about this workshop, and then I found out that if you sign up for this workshop, you can be in the competition. So I really wanna do the competition first, but then I found out about this.

TW: Did you have any expectations before the workshop, or any particular goals to achieve by the end of it?
J: Zero expectations. I just wanted a place where I could shoot out some of my ideas.

TW: Could you describe the emotional truth experience you went through?
J: It was… An exercise where I had to play different personas and I’ve never done acting before, I’ve never done anything like that, so it was cool to have an opportunity to do something that I’d usually never do. One of the personas was an angry persona, and that was really fun! I had a lot of fun, it was just like acting to me. I think like, when I’m angry, I can be that way in front of my students, ‘cos I’m usually a really nice person, but I have to show a mean, evil side, so I kept them in mind… I think that’s where most of [the anger] came from.

TW: Do you see yourself writing in the future? What about?
J: Yes. Just, fiction… Literary-type-fiction-type stuff.

TW: Could you describe the workshop so far in three words?
J: [hesitates] Can I have more than three words?
TW: We’ll give you four.
J: Better than a textbook.

Jason is one of the participants of the workshop who will be joining our upcoming 24-Hour  on 30-31 July 2016 at Gillman Barracks. Keep a look out on our blog as we’ll post more information leading up to and during the competition!


Sign up for the Writing from the Heart Workshop,
& participate in the 24-Hour Playwriting Competition FREE!

When you sign up for the Writing from the Heart Workshop ($200), a spot in the 24-Hour Playwriting Competition (originally $40 for the Open Category) will be included for FREE! What better way to utilise the skills you’ve learnt from the workshop than to try your hand at writing a play in under 24 hours?

Click for more information on:

1) Writing from the Heart

2) 24-Hour Playwriting Competition

Don’t miss this great offer and sign up now!

Writing from the Heart Playwriting Workshops this July!

TheatreWorks is organizing a 6-day interactive playwriting workshop at 72-13 this July! Conducted by Tony Perez, renowned playwright and novelist from the Philippines, these workshops comprises a series of interactive hands-on exercises designed to enable participants to discover their inner self and creativity in exploring the basics of playwriting.

After the successful edition of Writing from the Heart in 2014 and 2015, Writing & Community once again invites him to conduct an interactive playwriting workshop this July 2016.

This series of workshops aims to:

  • Unearth and inspire new playwriting enthusiasts from within the community
  • Share one of the region’s best playwriting skills and expertise with the community
  • Develop new plays through a post-workshop mentorship and dramaturgy programme

Writing from the Heart has previously discovered over 30 new writers and gave them the basics in playwriting. Through a series of hands-on exercises, which include drawing, dialogue and interpersonal interaction between participants, the mentor and within themselves, these exercises drew out the writers’ potential from within and these discoveries became important material and inspiration for playwriting.

Emerging Singaporean playwright Helmi Yusof, first penned his new play My Mother Buys Condoms at the workshop in 2014. It was then further developed over a period of one year through a series of dramaturgical clinics under the guidance of Perez, before being presented to the public at a dramatized reading in July 2015. Since then, it has been picked up by local theatre company, W!ld Rice, to be staged professionally as a full production at the Singapore Theatre Festival in July 2016. Helmi is one of the success stories that TheatreWorks is proud to have nurtured and supported through its Writing & Community programme.

“… Tony Perez is a wonderful, thoroughly unconventional and intuitive teacher. He talks about everything from chakra points and meditation to Freud and Jung, and you’re asked to try them out in class, so you have to have a very, very open mind.”  – Helmi Yusof, participant of Writing from the Heart 2015.

“… Everyday there was a self discovery – from our favourite character in a fairytale to our imbalanced chakras, which we balanced through the use of a pendulum, to the Eros and Thanatos concept which improves the inner voice in writing …” – Eliete Vivino, participant of Writing from the Heart 2014.

“… The workshop exceeded my expectations. It gave me fresh perspectives on writing and that writing should come from the heart. I loved how interactive the workshop was. I left the workshop inspired by all the participants and Tony …” – Serene Tan, participant of Writing from the Heart 2014.

TheatreWorks is now seeking a new group of writers for this workshop. Those interested,  please email or call Ezzat at 6737-7213 to register.

Workshop Details:
18 July to 23 July 2016
Venue: 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore 239007
Registration Fee: $200
Open to participants 17 years and above.

Limited to 20 participants.

Session 1, Introduction to Writing from the Heart
18 July 2016 (Monday), 7 – 10pm

Session 2, Strengthen one’s power of observation & creative visualisation
19 July 2016 (Tuesday), 7pm – 10pm

Session 3, Creating characters & dialogue
20 July 2016 (Wednesday), 7pm – 10pm

Session 4, Working with a premise; Creating a dramatic plot
21 July 2016 (Thursday), 7pm – 10pm

Session 5, Conceptualise & Visualise the theatre space
22 July 2016 (Friday), 7pm – 10pm

Session 6, Deconstruct, structure & restructure and shaping the Narrative
23 July (Saturday), 10am – 1pm

Session 7, Delivering Creative Group Dynamics
23 July (Saturday), 2pm – 5pm

About Tony Perez

Tony Perez is a Filipino playwright, novelist, and visual artist with an M.A. degree in Religious Studies, an M.A. candidacy in Clinical Psychology, and an A.B. in Communication. He has authored two major, full-length trilogies of plays in Tagalog, some of which have been translated into English and Polish. His full-length play “Trip to The South” were performed in New York and in Singapore; another full-length play, “On The North Diversion Road,” was performed in Melbourne and in Singapore. After having more than 40 books published in the Philippines, he is devoting the rest of his life to posting his new and forthcoming books in cyberspace. They can be accessed through his main blog site, His artworks have been showcased in more than 15 exhibitions.

Perez is also the founder of the Spirit Questors, a group of young, psychic volunteers who render service to the public free of charge. Among his other interests are fiber art, puppetry, the use of drama in psychotherapy. In his home country, he conducts workshops to underserved audiences such as victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse, children in conflict with the law, prison inmates, child combatants, and residents of drug rehabilitation centers.

Perez has worked with TheatreWorks since the 1990s. He led in workshops like Writing from the Subconscious (1990), Explore the Physical Psychic Sense for Creative Writing (1992) and wrote Trip to the South performed at the ASEAN Season Festival in 1991.

Introducing Writing From The Heart

Welcome to the Blog for Writing From The Heart! As part of TheatreWorks Writing & Community, we are dedicated to nurturing and developing new writing from the community. Through a series of playwriting workshop with Tony Perez, an established Filipino playwright, our script development focuses on exploration and creative dialogue between artists, away from the pressures of performance outcomes.

In July 2016, TheatreWorks will be collaborating with Tony Perez to hold a series of writing workshops. In addition, three scripts will be further developed and presented as dramatised readings.

Keep a look out for our blog for more updates and details on our upcoming workshops in Writing From The Heart!