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the Artistes

The Art Of Strangers

The Art of Strangers is an independent creative collective that produces collaborative work that investigates contemporary issues related to education, globalization and human co-habitance. We started our work in 2013 and have so far created original pieces for the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival and Projeck Suitcase. Aside from producing original works, our outreach programs include workshops on devised theatre at the library@esplanade and Geylang East Public Library.  The Art of Strangers also plays many different roles to support a production. 

Al-Matin Yatim

Al-Matin Yatim graduated from Intercultural Theatre Institute with a Professional Diploma in Intercultural Theatre (Acting).

His theatre acting credits include Ten Thousand Tigers as part of Festival Theatreformen 2016 in Braunschweig, Germany (Ho Tzu Nyen), Between Consciousness (TheatreWorks), Ma’ma Yong (Najib Soiman / Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay), It wont be too long: The Cemetery (Drama Box) as part of International Festival of Arts 2015, which he shares the nomination of Best Ensemble and Best Production of the Year at the 2016 Life! Theatre Awards, Q: Protagonists at the Edge (Ang Gey Pin / Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay), Hawa (Hatch Theatrics), Power Sex & Success (Aarne Neeme / Intercultural Theatre Institute), The Blind Age (T.Sasitharan / Chowk Production), Decimal Points 810 (Cake Theatrical Production), Balada Tun Fatimah (Teater Kami).

He wrote and directed his debut play in Race to the End II in 2011 as part of a multi-disciplinary young artist showcase organized by Panggung Arts. He last performed his own conceived monologue, ‘Ring in the desert’ at the Singapore Writers Festival 2015’s 12 hours performance entitled “What I love about you is your attitude problem” curated by Huzir Sulaiman. He is currently part of Boiler Room 2016, a writing programme organised by Centre 42, where he is working to develop the monologue above.

Baba Rich

Richard Tan has been actively grooming young artistes since the early 1980's when he was Artistic Director (Dance) of SAF Music & Drama Co. Today, many of them have become successful stage practitioners & well known TV personalities. With over 20 years of National Day Parades (Creative & Show), he has choreographed & directed numerous cultural troupes for Chingay Parades. And actively contributed to The Singapore Arts Festivals with locally commissioned plays. A show veteran over the last four decades of his showbiz life, he founded 'Dance Circle Studios' from 1997-2012 (where he taught & mentored in Tap Dance & Musical Theatre). He is currently the Artistic Director of 'The Main Wayang Company', (promoting Peranakan culture to the world). Today, as Chairman of GenerAsia Limited (non profit arts group) he initiated Singapore's first Peranakan Arts Festival (2015), where he wrote & directed the musical comedy 'Bibiks Behind Bars, Kena Again!' (a sequel from 'Bibiks Behind Bars!' 2002). Richard is delighted to humbly find his way back to the basic craft of stage directing a simple one man show - 'Kulit', for Theatre Ekamatra.

Bani Haykal

Bani haykal experiments with text + music.

Encompassing several disciplines including installation and performance, his interest lies at the intersection of political economy, music and speculative fiction. Working with a broad range of instruments, from acoustic to digital, traditional and hacked, his projects revolve around modes of interfacing and interaction. He is a member of b-quartet and Soundpainting ensemble Erik Satay & The Kampong Arkestra.

As an artist and a musician, Haykal has participated in festivals including Media/Art Kitchen (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Japan), Liquid Architecture, RRREC FEST (Indonesia), da:ns Festival and The M1 Fringe Festival (Singapore) among others. 

Ebi Shankara

Ebi Shankara graduated from the Nanyang Academy Of Fine Arts in 2008 with a Diploma in Theatre. He then furthered his studies in 2011 to gain an Honors Degree in Acting. 

Ebi’s love for acting started when his secondary school’s drama society participated in the first ever island wide Singapore Youth Festival in 2003. He landed the main role of Hamlet in the adapted version of Hamlet. His school won a Gold Medal in this coveted competition and the experience sealed Ebi’s own growing love for acting and drama. 

His credits began to rise as he joined Buds Theatre in 2004 as well as The Young Company with Singapore Repertory Theatre as well as Wild Rice, acting in Cinderellah! and Oi! Sleeping Beauty

Ebi’s commercial fame came in In 2007 when he won Vasantham Star (the Indian version of Idol by MediaCorp).

He has hosted the National Day Parade 4 times in 2008,2014,2016 and most notably SG50 in 2015.

Other lead role credits since then include Horse in Pangdemonium’s production of The Full Monty, Reza in Shades,  Captain Scott in Eugene O’Neill’s Beyond The Horizon, Creon in Sophocles Antigone,Othello in Othello, Krishna in Army Daze, Samson in High Class and most recently Haresh Sharma's Off Centre by Fingerplayers. 

Ebi Shankara is also the Artistic Director of RDG

Elvira Holmberg

Elvira Holmberg first met Ema Saleh in 1996 where they devised and created a performance with 6 actresses for Teater Kami. Soon after Elvira moved to The Netherlands. Since her return in 2008, Elvira continued teaching drama in various institutions. She is currently teaching at SOTA and is the president of SDEA. Cabut is the first staged piece Elvira has worked on in over a decade and she celebrates the opportunity to meet and work with Ema again - 20 years later>

Emarnorwatty Salleh

Ema has her heart set in theatre acting since the early 90s. Her first show was Kosovo in 1993, directed by Aidli Alin Mosbit, staged at the old Drama Centre. Since then, she has worked with several renowned companies in Singapore such as Teater Kami, The Theatre Practice and The Necessary Stage. Her credits includes Titik Nol by Agnes Christina that toured Jakarta, Jogjakarta and Semarang, Mama Looking For Her Cat: Legend Alive Online and Play Play by The Theatre Practice. Play Play was part of their Poor Theatre Series that toured to Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Darwin. Besides acting, she has numerously involved as a lighting designer and production stage manager. In 2008, she graduated in Bachelor of Art in Technical Theatre. Upon submitting her thesis, she discovered that she would be a mum in 8 months time. Since then, she has been a fulltime homemaker.
She is enlivened to be working with Elvira once again, after exactly 20years.

E Lee Loong

E Lee Loong makes videos in Singapore. He writes, draws and makes books too.

Erwin Shah

Erwin graduated from LASALLE College of 

the Arts’ BA (Hons) Acting. He is a trilingual stage and screen actor, voice-over artist, singer and musician. He has been nominated twice for Best Supporting Actor at the Life! Theatre Awards and is proud to share the award for Best Ensemble in Dark Room x8 (Esplanade).

Theatre credits include Romeo & Juliet (W!ld Rice), Othello (SRT), Spring Awakening, Rent (Pangdemonium), 天冷就回来 (The Theatre Practice), Mosaic, Cafe (Take Off), Square Moon (Function 8), Lord of the Flies, Boom (Sightlines), National Broadway Company, Off Centre, Yusof, and Dark Room (Esplanade).

Hirzi Zulkifli

Hirzi started his youtube channel, 'MunahHirziOfficial' about a decade ago and has since garnered more than 30 million views to date. 

Outside the Internet, Hirzi has acted on a couple of TV stints, written for stage and had his debut performance on the Esplanade Stage for Happy Ever Laughter. In 2012, he also had a drama comedy TV series (Munah and Hirzi, Action!) written loosely, based on his life. In 2015, Hirzi wrote his first TV comedy series called Interns that received tremendous ratings throughout the season.

His works are often social and political satires that playfully puts forward the marginalised voices of society and infamously challenges the otherwise comfortable status quo of the censorship in mainstream media

Izzat Yusoff

Izzat Yusoff is an actor, director, production designer, theatre educator, emcee, singer and musician and is acclaimed both on television and stage. His debut on television was 15 years ago in Bisikan Bayangan. Shortly after, he landed a role on Soldadu which he is synonymous for. Izzat has been nominated for Best New Actor in Pesta Perdana 1999, clinched the title of 10 Most Popular TV Personality in 2000 and won the Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Pesta Perdana 2012. He is also actively pursuing his other love, music, previously as part of the leading ska-reggae band The Irietones. 

Keater HM

Mokther Haji Hashim a.k.a Keatar HM, is an actor, writer, producer, director and drama educator. He made his first acting debut for Panggung Negara. He is the founder and is synonymous to Teater Kami. He had experience working in productions with Teater Kami, Teater Artistik, The Necessary Stage and Act Three. His TV credits include Klik, Alya and is best remembered for Cikgu Kamal from the series ‘Bara’ which clinched the Best Drama award for Pesta Perdana. Recently, Keatar has crossed over to appear in Channel 5’s dramas including Pay Day in a lead role and Mata-Mata A New Generation.

Rafaat Haji Hamzah

Mostly known for his distinctive style of writing and performance, Rafaat is a household name in both the television and theatre scenes in Singapore. Graduated from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Fine Arts), his talent stretches from acting to poetry writing, scriptwriting, art directing, producing and directing.

His poems found space in Singapore Malay newspapers and radio since late 1980s. Far from the flowery and romantic, Rafaat’s poems are bold, succinct and echo issues close to the heart of his people. His simple, everyday language makes his pieces palatable for about just anyone. After over 20 years of writing and performing poetry, Rafaat’s first compilation – Yang Bilang – was launched in December 2007. His second, third and forth poetry compilation and his debut novel is currently in publishing process.

As an artiste, Rafaat leaves no space of compromising truth, sincerity and honesty in his works. His undeniable passion plays catalyst in the honing of his craft and fuels his dedication to the Singapore arts and entertainment scene. He had recently set up a poetry performance duo ‘Poesy Baroe’.

Rizman Putra

Rizman Putra graduated with Master of Arts (Fine Arts) from Lasalle College of the Arts in 2007, and dabbles between performance, visual arts and music for the last decade. Winnerof Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JCCI) Singapore Foundation Arts Award 2005, he is a co-founder of the now dissolved arts collective, Kill Your Television (KYTV), andfront man for an indie music group, Tiramisu. Rizman was selected for the President’s Young Talents Exhibition (2005), and was included in the Fukuoka Triennale (2005). He receivedthe Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) Most Outstanding Award 2002-2003. He exhibited his works at the inaugural Singapore Biennale 2006. Rizman is currently an Associate Artist with Cake Theatrical Productions.  

Ruby Jayaseelan

Ruby Jayaseelan did not know what to do so she decided to dance it away. She spent 8 years acquiring formal training in Bharathanatyam, a classical Indian dance form, in Singapore and India. Over the years, she also exposed herself intensively to Odissi, Physical Theatre, Neo-Classical, Western Contemporary, somatic and experimental movement in order to travel the world in the name of art. Or maybe, it's the other way around.

Shida Mahadi

Shida Mahadi is a Singaporean-born theatre practitioner. Some of her more notable works being Nadirah (2009&2011), Kkenang: A Monologue (Projek Suitcase 2008, Cairo International Festival of Performing Arts 2009). She packed her bags and crossed the border into Malaysia six years ago and have not quite stopped looking back ever since. She is currently a project manager for Enfiniti Vision Media, a creative content company in Malaysia, where she oversees the production of shows such as P Ramlee The Musical and MUD: The Story Kuala Lumpur. Once in while, that yearning for the stage returns and she is very grateful to Ekamatra for having her onboard Projek Suitcase.