5 performances to look forward to at M1 Singapore Fringe Festival from Jan 4 to 15

From digital puppetry act Django in Pain to audio play Tree Confessions.

Benjamin Chew

Only drinks bubble tea with 100% sugar.

Published: 30 November 2022, 5:56 PM

The M1 Singapore Fringe Festival returns for its 19th edition from Jan 4 to 15, 2023.

Organised by non-profit theatre company The Necessary Stage, the festival aims to spread awareness on various identified issues in society such as identity, the climate crisis and depression.

Held at the Esplanade and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, eight works from both local and foreign artists will be displayed through captioned in-theatre performances, digital tabletop puppetry and a self-scheduled, site specific audio play.

Here are five interesting acts visitors can check out at the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival.

1. Kafka’s Ape

An adaptation to Franz Kafka’s A Report to the Academy, Kafka’s Ape is directed by Phala Ookeditse Phala and solo performed by Tony Bonani Miyambo.

Kafka’s Ape focuses on a primate’s struggle to overcome the confines of captivity, and portrays an ape named Red Peter learning to imitate humanity in his quest to break out of confinement while he challenges identity issues due to his outward appearance. 

The play presents a metaphorical view on South African Society, and highlights the complexities of identity in the human race.


Miyambo has received several awards for his solo performances, such as Winner of Outstanding Performance award at the Prague Fringe Festival 2019. PHOTO CREDIT: ZIVANAI MATANGI


The 50 minute performance will take place at the Esplanade Theatre Studio from Jan 12 to 14 2023 at 8pm. While a standard ticket costs $32, a concession rate of $24 is provided for students, senior citizens, PWD card holders and NSFs.

2. Foreign Bodies

Performed by the Birds Migrant Theatre, a group of migrant workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh and the Philippines, Foreign Bodies looks at the desperate and extreme situations migrants in Singapore sometimes find themselves in.

The theatre performance focuses on migrant workers Arif and Ani who develop a romantic relationship through a chance encounter, but soon face complications due to the obligations they have in their home countries.

Foreign Bodies explores the issue of pregnancy and abortion faced by migrant workers in Singapore, and how different people can work together to overcome systemic flaws.


Foreign bodies is co-directed by Haresh Sharma, who has mentored the Birds Migrant Theatre since 2018. PHOTO CREDIT: BIRDS MIGRANT THEATRE


Foreign Bodies has a rating of Advisory 16 (NC16) for some mature content and coarse language.

The play will take place on Jan 15, 2023, at 2pm, 5pm and 8pm and lasts 60 minutes. Tickets for the performance cost $15.

3. Never the Bride

The Necessary Stage presents Never the Bride, a play on what a gay wedding might look like in Singapore.

Devised and performed by Ryan Ang, Fadhil Daud and Rajkumar Thiagaras, Never the Bride portrays the lived experiences of queer people in Singapore and how these individuals navigate the social, political, cultural and personal reality of their lives.


The performance was first created and presented at the Devising with Actors and Playwrights training programme as part of The Necessary Stage’s Devising Platform in 2021. PHOTO CREDIT: TUCKYS PHOTOGRAPHY


Never the Bride will be performed at the Esplanade Annexe Studio from Jan 4 to 7 at 8pm and Jan 7 to 8 at 3pm. The rating for this performance is to be advised.

Tickets to the 1.5 hour long performance cost $32 each, with the concession rate of $24 provided for students, senior citizens, PWD card holders and NSFs.

4. Tree Confessions

Ever wanted to hear a tree talk? Created by This Is Not A Theatre Company, Tree Confessions is the world’s first play told entirely from the point of view of a tree, and discusses key issues like the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.

Performed by award-winning Broadway, theatre and TV actress Kathleen Chalfant, the site-specific audio play tells the story of a scientist learning everything about how trees communicate. 

Visitors can listen to the 35 minute audio play when sitting under or nearby a tree. 


Tree Confessions aims to remind the audience that human beings and plants all live in an interconnected ecosystem. PHOTO CREDIT: ERIN B MEE


Tree Confessions can be purchased at $15 from Jan 4 to 15.

5. Django in Pain

Created by theatre companies Por Piedad Peatro and The Play Company, Django in Pain is digital table-top puppet theatre performance about depression, creativity and love.

The puppet show depicts how a playwright and his puppet Django, who is loosely inspired by musician Django Reinhardt, struggles with different levels of depression.

Django in Pain was filmed on a cellphone, and the characters were created using only hand-made puppets and scrap materials found around the house.


The Spanish version of Django in Pain has been presented in Mexico and Argentina, where it garnered over 6,000 views in three days. PHOTO CREDIT: ANTONIO VEGA


Django in Pain is rated NC16, 60 minutes long and is available via video on demand at $15 for the duration of the festival.

School bookings made for all performances before Nov 26 are eligible for early bird prices, with in-theatre tickets priced at $21 and tickets for Foreign Bodies and digital works at $12.

You may like these