What’s on? The (unofficial) theatre guide in 1964

Here’s a sampling of what a theatre-goer could possibly watch back in 1964:

Mar 18: Rowcroft Theatre Club, Akin to Love by Peggy Simmons. View.

Apr 8: Alexandra Secondary Modern School, Salad Days by Julian Slade & Dorothy Reynolds. View.

Apr 22: Catholic Teachers’ Movement, I’m Bewitched by Friar T.J. Sheridan. View. 

Apr 22: The Stage Club, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. View.

Jun 2: The Stage Club, Trial and Error by Kenneth Horne. View.

Jun 10: Rowcroft Theatre Club, Distinguished Gathering by James Parish. View.

Jun 18: Experimental Theatre Club, A White Rose at Midnight by Lim Chor Pee. View.

Jul 2: The Stage ClubThe Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder. View.

Jul 7: Seletar Theatre ClubThe Brides of March by John Chapman. View.

Jul 21: St. Joseph’s Institution Dramatic SocietyArsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring. View.

Oct 14: Theatre World AssociationMoon on a Rainbow Shawl by Errol John. View.

Oct 15: RAF Changi Theatre ClubNaked Island by Russell Braddon. View.

Sep 4: The Stage ClubThe Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giraudoux. View.

Sep 23: Rowcroft Theatre ClubOutward Bound by Sutton Vane. View.

Nov 4: The Theatre ClubThe Tunnel of Love by De Vries and Joseph Fields. View.

Nov 19: University of Singapore SocietyChicken Soup With Barley by Arnold Wesker. View.

Dec 12: The Stage ClubCinderella [pantomime]. View.

There were many English-language plays staged by various theatre clubs in the 1960s. But English-language plays written by local playwrights were few, and far between:


Mimi Fan, by Lim Chor Pee, Experimental Theatre Club

The play reflects faithfully a segment of life and living in Singapore, and throughout one is conscious of a mind that has something original to say to an audience which is sympathetic to the growth of Malayan theatre.

An extract from a report on Mimi Fan’s premiere (20 July 1962). View.


The Moon is Less Bright, by Goh Poh Seng, Centre 65

Moon is a political play set against the background of the Japanese occupation in Malaya and the Malayan Emergency which ended in 1960.

An extract from a report on The Moon is Less Bright (25 Oct 1964). View.


A White Rose at Midnight, by Lim Chor Pee, Experimental Theatre Club

Miss Joanna Woo, the business manager, said: “This is an ‘angry young man’ type of comedy which should appeal to the theatre enthusiasts who have been complaining about the lack of Malaysian drama.”

An extract from a report about a well-known soprano singing in A White Rose at Midnight (9 June 1964). View.


When Smiles Are Done, by Goh Poh Seng, Centre 65

See Local Comedy, When Smiles Are Done By Goh Poh Seng, Presented by Centre 65. At Cultural Centre, Fort Canning, S’pore Tonight – 8.30 p.m. Tickets at $2, 3, 4.

An advertisement for When Smiles Are Done (18 Dec 1965). View.

A play about family life in Queenstown When Smiles Are Done, written by Dr. Goh Poh Seng, will be staged at the New Town Secondary School at 8.30 p.m. on Friday... On Dec. 16 at 8.30 p.m. the Yang di-Pertuan Negara, Inche Yusof bin Iskhak, will attend the play at the Cultural Centre.

An extract from a report on When Smiles Are Done (8 Dec 1965). View.

Dr. Goh Poh Seng, the President [of Centre 65], may be an amateur playwright who has still a lot to learn about the construction of a play, but this did not mar my enjoyment of When Smiles Are Done, which this enthusiastic group presented recently at the Cultural Centre Theatre...

... The theme was not original, but the play was interesting throughout, well acted and maintained a brisk pace. Above all, it was audible.

Extracts from a review of When Smiles Are Done (2 January 1966). View.

Published: 13 September 2014

under c42

The Vault 1.1 – Nineteen Sixty-Four
1964 – Singapore was part of Malaysia. 1964 – The year of racial riots between ethnic Chinese and Malays. 1964 – The year when two pioneering Singaporean dramatists wrote English-language plays in response to the lack of local plays that reflected recognisable themes, characters and speech. Prior to 1964, Lim Chor Pee’s Mimi Fan (1962) stood alone in the scene. In 1964, Goh Poh Seng wrote his first play and then, there were two. 2014 – We respond to these two writers’ sophomore creations resp
30 June 2023