The Vault: Ties That Bind

Masthead Image
Masthead Image


18 April 2020 (Saturday)
2:30pm –  4pm
Greymatter, Aliwal Arts Centre

18 April 2020 (Saturday)
7:30pm – 8:30pm
Greymatter, Aliwal Arts Centre

Admission: Give-What-You-Can
(Cash only, at the door)



The Vault: Ties That Bind comprises two short performances devised in response to Eleanor Wong’s Wills and Secession. This public presentation was to have taken place on 18 April 2020 at Teater Ekamatra’s Greymatter, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Since January, eleven students of the National University of Singapore’s Theatre Studies TS3103 Theatre Lab have been engaging with the text and context of Wills and Secession. The play is the second work of Eleanor Wong’s landmark trilogy Invitation to Treat, which features ambitious lawyer and gay woman Ellen Toh. In Wills and Secession, Ellen contends with family obligations, her sister’s religious beliefs, and her partner’s impending death.

The Theatre Lab students devised in response to the themes, issues and dramaturgy of Wills and Secession, and from their perspective as young theatremakers 25 years from when the play first premiered. Over the course of the semester, they also had to take into account the increasingly stringent safe-distancing measures. What emerged were two unique performances – GEL and Old Lines New Meanings – which encapsulate the concerns of the contemporary milieu, as well as our pandemic present.

The COVID-19 Pandemic

We were very fortunate to have been able to document a rehearsal of Ties That Bind on 3 April 2020, mere hours before the national Circuit Breaker measures were announced. In lieu of a public presentation, the Theatre Lab students evolved and presented their performances in a private Zoom session for their class assessment on 17 April 2020.

Video Documentation

[Content Warning: Some strong language and content dealing with religion and sexuality]

The Vault: Ties That Bind comprises two short performances devised in response to Eleanor Wong’s Wills and Secession. They were created by the students of TS3103 Theatre Lab from the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Theatre Studies programme.

GEL is about strained relationships. Friends who fail to listen. Sisters who never really meet. Lovers tested by faith. But are these relationships truly that different from one another? What draws us, time and time again, to each other?

The photograph features a group of six girls posing for the camera.

(From left) Lim Shi-An, Shirley Wang, Seow Shiying, Rose Marie Kit Yee Henry, Joe Ong, Rachel Yen


About Wills and Secession (1995)
Wills and Secession is the second play in Eleanor Wong’s landmark trilogy Invitation to Treat, which features Ellen Toh, an ambitious lawyer and gay woman. At the end of the first play, Mergers and Accusations, Ellen has fallen in love with colleague, Lesley, and parted ways with husband-slash-best friend, Jon. In Wills and Secession, Ellen and Lesley now live in London, but when the play opens, Ellen is back in Singapore to attend her mother’s funeral. With her religious sister, Grac
About “Wills and Secession”
Published: 28 April 2021