The Vault: Desert Blooms

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Masthead Image
30 June 2024 | 3:00 - 5:00pm
Wild Rice Theatre

By invitation only. Refer to section:" Reserving your Seat" for more information.

Register Here!


After a riveting first staging in 2019, Desert Blooms - The Dawn of Queer Singaporean Theatre  by Ng Yi-Sheng makes a triumphant return with a restaging at the Wild Rice Theatre in Funan for one show only. Restaged in conjunction with Centre 42’s 10th Anniversary, Desert Blooms is a lecture-performance that recounts the history of queer and queer-allied voices in Singapore theatre during the tumultuous decade of 1985-1995, showcasing the works of playwrights such as Eleanor Wong, Russell Heng and many more. 

Traverse through many firsts portrayed on stage - the first portrayals of a transgender woman’s struggles in “Lest the Demons Get to Me”, the first lesbian protagonist in “Mergers and Accusations” - all of which opened new conversations for queer characters to enter society’s consciousness.

“Queerness first dared to speak its name publicly on stage, and the newspapers—some begrudgingly, some opportunistically—followed suit.”


- Alfian Sa’at, Review of the 2019 staging.

Featuring the talents of Yap Yi Kai, Medli Dorothea Loo, Izzul Irfan and Coco Wang Ling, with renowned theatremaker Tan Shou Chen returning to direct, Desert Blooms is a fascinating and well-researched look at how queer voices bloomed in an era once known as a “cultural desert”. Look back on Singapore’s storied past where arts, politics and society were undergoing a profound transformation, and how it shapes tomorrow’s narratives. 

Reserving your Seat

Desert Blooms is being staged as part of Centre 42’s fundraising efforts in conjunction with our 10th anniversary. Donate today and become a Champion of C42, where you will receive invites according to your corresponding tier as illustrated in the picture below. Register via the form here to make your donation and secure your invites!

Picture of donation tiers and corresponding number of invites.

But that’s not all! Becoming a Champion of C42 also comes with a multitude of other perks, such as Tax Deductions and special acknowledgements on our website! Above all, your donation will help Centre 42 to continue our decade long legacy of resisting cultural amnesia, nurturing the next generation of theatre-makers and investing in local storytelling. Learn more here!

Audience Reviews

Here’s what our audience had to say about the 2019 staging of Desert Blooms:

“Desert Blooms feels almost like a kaleidoscope of a hundred small narratives, tied together by being queer, Singaporean, coming together, to froth at the mouth and creates blossoms out of their suffering.” 


- Kiran Bhat, Author

“This play showcases Ng in his element, writing about something deeply and personally felt.” 


- Geneieve Hartman, poet 

“Very informative, very instructive, loved the intergenerational queer discourse & dialogue”

- Audience Member from the 2019 Staging

“Loved it! Got me thinking about my own memories of & relationships with queer SG theatre as someone who was only born in 1994 so my memories are much more recent. Also very moving and also very campy and fun!”


- Audience Member from the 2019 Staging


Yap Yi Kai
Izzul Irfan
Ng Yi-Sheng