International Storytelling Festival Singapore 2021

Performance • Adult Audience

ReStory: Celebrating the Feminine in Folklore – Night 1
The Singapore Showcase

Kamil Haque, Verena Tay, Mindy Neo, Dawn Lau, Akshita Nanda, Soumee De, Cyril Wong

Fri 25 June 2021
8:00pm – 9:30pm
Play Den, The Arts House (Map)

Advisory (Some Mature Content). Recommended for adult audiences ages 16 years old and above. No admission for ages 15 years old and below.

  • Due to Safe Management Measures, patrons may not be seated together.
  • We seek your cooperation in adhering to safe distancing guidelines for audience seating.

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In celebration of our fifth anniversary, we honour the extraordinary stories of women. Women who are silenced when they choose to honour their roots. Women who use their wits against those who feel entitled to their beauty. Women who uplift their sisters. Women who give men strength. Women who betray their own. Women who are painted as villains, even as their aggressors leave with sympathy.

While we have come a long way, these narratives remain all too familiar today. Through these stories, revisit female archetypes from mythology who revelled in their own skins and manifested power, even when the odds were stacked against them.

Experience the different forms each story can take with not one, but two collections. Each collection features 6 unique stories of betrayal, strength and more performed by oral storytellers, spoken word artists, dancers, writers and poets. Delve into the stories below. Featuring a different set of storytellers and host on each night.

Night 1 is hosted by Kamil Haque.

Night 2

Vengeance is Mine (Singapore)
Verena Tay

When a village girl announces that she is carrying his child, the young Datuk who had promised her the world abandons her. The girl, who transforms into a Pontianak after dying during childbirth, waits patiently to get even. Adapted from Malay folklore, Verena retells her chilling revenge story ‘Broken’ from Spectre: Stories from Dark to Light.

Includes the Malaysian and Indonesian folk song: ‘Burung Kakak Tua’

Amrita’s Tree (India)
Mindy Neo

Before ‘sustainability’ became a buzzword, Amrita Devi sacrificed her life in 1730 to prevent the destruction of Khejri trees. She believed in the sacred tree and in protecting nature. Her actions sparked a movement that led 363 Bishnoi people to do the same. They are considered to be India’s first environmentalists, and their beliefs that continue to inspire the country.

The Golden Lotus (China)
Dawn Lau

All Pan Jinlian ever wanted a better life for herself. Driven solely by this goal, she turns from devoted daughter to adulteress, using the most powerful tool she had – her beauty. Examine the life of one of the most notorious femme fatales in classic Chinese literature in this tale rife with betrayal and seduction.

Savitri: The Woman Who Walked With Death (India)
Akshita Nanda

How far would you go to save the person you love? Princess Savitri marries the dispossessed prince Satyavan despite knowing that he only has a year to live. When Yama, the God of Death, claims her husband, she refuses to accept his fate. Find out how she charms Yama into reviving her fallen husband in a retelling of the legendary couple’s timeless story.

From Dirt to Dust (India)
Soumee De

Get a peek into how the universe emerged from darkness through the eyes of Kali, the goddess from Indian mythology who governs time, death and change. In this retelling accompanied by live beats from the dhak, the goddess Kali transforms fears and embraces freedom, if only for a moment, before life emerges from the dirt and concludes in dust.

The Angel’s Dream (Singapore)
Cyril Wong

An angel once had a strange dream. In it she saw a row of oddly dressed people, sitting inside a train. Out the window lay a realm where nobody grew old and everyone would play, make love, then sleep and enter dreams about strange, alternate worlds. Experience this tale from Let Me Tell You Something About That Night as it is told and sung.


Photography & Video Recording Rules:

  • Unauthorised video and audio recording is not permitted for this event.
  • Photography without flash and without disrupting the artists/event is permitted within reason.

Admittance Rules:

  • All patrons are required to purchase tickets for admission.
  • Admission is subject to proof of tickets purchased.
  • Latecomers advisory: All latecomers must wait for suitable cue for seating.
  • No refunds, no exchange of tickets.


Kamil Haque
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Kamil Haque (Singapore)

Kamil Haque is the founder and Artistic Director of Haque Centre of Acting & Creativity (HCAC), Singapore’s first professional acting studio for everyone and Asia’s first centre to teach the preeminent Lee Strasberg’s method of acting. Kamil has coached over 3,000 students, many of whom have appeared in major award-winning Hollywood films, stage productions and television shows around the world. An award-winning actor and storyteller, Kamil has also produced and directed critically-acclaimed productions.

Verena Tay
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Verena Tay (Singapore)

Verena Tay is a seasoned storyteller, theatre practitioner and writer. With over 25 years of experience performing, directing and writing for Singapore English language theatre, Verena has published four collections of her plays as well as two short story anthologies. She has edited 12 volumes of short stories including the popular Balik Kampung series. She has also successfully coached adults to improve their storytelling craft and conducted numerous creative writing workshops.

Mindy Neo
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Mindy Neo (Singapore)

Mindy enjoys telling stories to both adults and children. A member of the Storytelling Association of Singapore, Mindy has performed for adult audiences, told stories to children at libraries. She hopes to grow an appreciation for biodiversity through telling nature stories to children at Jurong Lake Gardens. Mindy has conducted storytelling workshops for Primary school students and uses her skills in storytelling to make her lessons come alive.

Dawn Lau
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Dawn Lau (Singapore)

Dawn is a performer who loves stories. She actively participates in creative writing, movement, voice, storytelling, improv, and spoken word workshops. As a result of some of these workshops, she has been featured in Body Poetry and Spoken Word performances. She has performed at Stories for Grown Ups with Moonshadow Stories at NLB and at both the 2019 and 2020 editions of StoryFest.

Akshita Nanda
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Akshita Nanda (Singapore)

Akshita Nanda grew up in a family that used the power of storytelling to build bridges between new nations, and shape lives. She tells stories through her journalism, policy research and also novels. Her debut Nimita's Place (Epigram Books) co-won the 2020 Singapore Literature Prize for English fiction. She is also the author of Beauty Queens of Bishan (Penguin Randomhouse SEA).

Soumee De
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Soumee De (Singapore)

Soumee De is a dancer, teacher, choreographer who has trained in the Indian Classical dance forms of Kathak and Odissi since she was four. Soumee currently teaches Odissi at Apsaras Arts. She founded Ethos-Exploring the Odissi Spirit, a dance collective in Singapore for Odissi dancers and offers ‘Dance-telling’ programs at The Artground for young children. When not dancing, she works as a management consultant to create a better working world.

Cyril Wong
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Cyril Wong (Singapore)

Cyril Wong is a poet and fictionist in Singapore. His recent book was Infinity Diary, published by Seagull Books in 2020.