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SINGAPORE, 8 MARCH 2016 - The theatre community pulled out all the stops last year to celebrate the nation’s 50th birthday. Productions examining the idea of nationhood and the Singapore identity, big-budget blockbusters and revivals of the country’s iconic plays, dominated the list of nominees for the  M1-The Straits Times Life Theatre Awards. 

The nation’s premier theatre awards honour the best productions and talents of the preceding year. For the second year running, communications company M1 Limited (M1) is the title sponsor of the awards, which is organised in collaboration with Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay. The 16th edition of the awards takes place onMonday, April 25 at the Esplanade Recital Studio. 

There are 70 nominations across 14 categories this year. Reflecting the nation’s introspective mood in 2015, nominees include the 100-year spanning, five-hour epic Hotel by Wild Rice (seven nominations including Best Production and Best Director); and a musical tribute to Singapore's late founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew with The LKY Musical by Metropolitan Productions (five nominations including Best Production and Best Original Script). Revivals also did well, such as Oliver Chong and Esplanade’s The Studios: fifty production about mental illness, Off Centre (four nominations including Best Actor and Actress), a play originally created by The Necessary Stage. 

A new award, for Best Production for the Young, honouring Singapore companies that create outstanding performances for young audiences aged 12 and below, will be given out from this year. The award is organised in partnership with the National Arts Council (NAC). 

As part of the formalisation of rules for the judging of the awards, the number of nominations for each category has been standardised to a minimum of four and maximum of five, starting this year. Additionally, an optional award, Best Multimedia Design, will be given out this year as there is a sufficient number of deserving contenders.     

As in previous years, readers will get a chance to vote for their choice of Production of the Year. Ten lucky winners will receive a pair of passes to the awards ceremony on April 25. One of these 10 readers will get a chance to win the grand prize of a weekend's stay for two at The South Beach, inclusive of breakfast, sponsored by The South Beach. 

Ms Helen Chia, Editor of The Straits Times Life, says: "SG50 gave our theatre practitioners pause to reflect on the past and look to the future. The works produced were large in both scale and ambition, the results of which can be seen in this year’s crop of nominations for the Life Theatre Awards.” 

Mr Ivan Lim, Director of Corporate Communications, M1, says: “2015 was a spectacular year for Singapore theatre, with audiences spoilt for choice with the year’s packed calendar of insightful and thought-provoking performances in marking our nation’s 50th birthday. As a passionate supporter of the Singapore’s arts scene, M1 is proud to once again partner The Straits Times to stage the M1-The Straits Times Life Theatre Awards 2016, in recognising outstanding works and advancing theatre.”
Ms Yvonne Tham, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of The Esplanade Co Ltd, says: “Theatre, like many other art forms, gives us insight to a place and its people. This was especially significant in 2015 as our artists and audiences came together to reflect, imagine and understand the world around us, our society and ourselves through theatre. We congratulate our theatre community on another meaningful year of theatre-making in Singapore and look forward to celebrating with them at Esplanade again during the Life Theatre Awards.”

Ms Grace Ng, Director of Sector Development at NAC, adds: “Instilling in our young a deep love for theatre builds their imagination and gives them invaluable skills to express themselves. We are thrilled to support the Best Production for the Young award. It acknowledges the tireless efforts of our theatre practitioners and their dedication in creating memorable artistic experiences for our children. Such experiences are also important in moulding lifelong support of the arts.”

Except for the award for Best Production for the Young, the awards are judged by a four-member panel comprising Matthew Lyon from the School of the Arts’ (SOTA) Faculty of Theatre; as well as arts reviewers Helmi Yusof of The Business Times, Tang Hwa Kwee of Lianhe Zaobao and Corrie Tan of The Straits Times.

The judges for the Best Production for the Young award are: independent artist educator and vice-president of the Singapore Drama Educators Association, Peggy Ferroa; seasoned drama educator and assistant director for talent development and programming at the NUS Centre for the Arts, Jeffrey Tan; founder and director of ACT 3 Theatrics, R Chandran; and The Straits Times Life entertainment editor and father of two, Andy Chen.


Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Co. Registration. No. 198402868E 

For more information, please contact:

Nabilah Said (Ms)
The Straits Times Life
English, Malay & Tamil Media Group
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
DID: 6319 5492

Leong Lin Choo (Ms)
Senior Manager
Editorial Projects Unit
English, Malay & Tamil Media Group
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
DID: 6319 5068

Deror Wong (Mr)
Assistant Manager
Corporate Communications & CSR 
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
DID: 6319 1226 

About The Straits Times
The Straits Times, the English-language flagship daily of Singapore Press Holdings, is the most-read newspaper in Singapore and is followed widely in the region for its comprehensive coverage of local, regional and world news, provided by its correspondents in 20 bureaus in major cities worldwide. 

Launched on July 15, 1845, The Straits Times underwent a major redesign across all platforms in July 2015, when it celebrated its 170th anniversary. This revamp is part of its continuing efforts to refresh its products, maintain quality and stay relevant to the changing needs of its readers. Its integrated newsroom operates round-the-clock, providing readers with news as it happens on all platforms, from its website at, Apple and Android apps to social media. 

The Straits Times is a member of three regional and global networks - Asia News Network, the Climate Publishers Network and the Impact Journalism Day alliance of newspapers - and it has won multiple international media awards, including from the Society of Publishers in Asia, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association (Panpa), Society of News Design and Wan-Ifra. It swept 11 awards at the Asia Media Awards 2015, including three Gold for Best News Website (, Best Data Visualisation Project and Best Lifestyle Mobile Service, and five Silver. The paper's school outreach initiatives have won regular top awards, which included the 2015 World Young Reader Prize given by Wan-Ifra, and Best Young Reader programme award by Panpa.

About M1 Limited

M1 is Singapore’s most vibrant and dynamic communications company, providing mobile and fixed services to over 2 million customers. Since the launch of commercial services in 1997, M1 has achieved many firsts, including the first operator to offer nationwide 4G service, as well as ultra high-speed fixed broadband, fixed voice and other services on the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (NGNBN). With a continual focus on network quality, customer service, value and innovation, M1 links anyone and anything; anytime, anywhere. For more information, visit

About Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

Esplanade is Singapore’s national performing arts centre. Its year-round line-up of about 3,000 performances presented by Esplanade, its collaboration partners and hirers include a diverse calendar of ticketed and non-ticketed programmes featuring dance, music, theatre, visual arts and more, making the arts accessible for everyone. The centre works in close partnership with local, regional and international artists to develop artistic capabilities and content, push artistic boundaries and engage audiences. It also develops technical capabilities for the industry nationally. 
This architectural icon, with its distinctive twin shells, houses world-class performance spaces complemented by a comprehensive range of professional support services. Its two main venues are the 1,600-seat Concert Hall and a Theatre with a capacity of 2,000. In May 2015, Esplanade was chosen as one of SG Heart Map’s 50 special places.
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay is operated by The Esplanade Co Ltd, which is a not-for-profit organisation, a registered Charity and an Institution of a Public Character.
Visit for more information. 

About National Arts Council

The National Arts Council champions the arts in Singapore. By nurturing creative excellence and supporting broad audience engagement, we want to develop a distinctive global city for the arts. With a nod to tradition and an eye to the future, we cultivate accomplished artists and vibrant companies. Our support for the arts is comprehensive – from grants and partnerships to industry facilitation and arts housing. The Council welcomes greater private and corporate giving to and through the arts so that together we can make the arts an integral part of everyone's lives. 

For more information on the Council's mission and plans, please visit