#HelloTFP is a series of anecdotes where we introduce and share more about the members of the TFP family; from core team members to office interns. In this latest #HelloTFP feature, we hear from Core Team Member and former TFP full-time Production Manager Lam Dan Fong, on how she got her start in Production Management, her relationship with the company, and her favourite aspect of the job.
“I got in touch with theatre professionally because of ARTivate (youth wing of Drama Box Ltd). When I was in secondary school, our Chinese Drama CCA instructors were from Drama Box. When we were about to graduate, Koh Hui Ling (our instructor, from Drama Box) asked us if we were keen to form a youth wing with them. I was like, “Sure, why not”.
I started off mostly as a Stage Manager in my earlier years. Drama Box, especially Li Xie, gave me many opportunities by constantly hiring me even though I was only a newbie. There were also many mentors and veterans who guided me and embraced my mistakes as I learnt on the job. It wasn’t easy juggling school & theatre because while my peers were hanging out and studying, I was always going for rehearsals (and skipping school). But I felt theatre is very humane. I don’t just learn hard skills nor is it just a job or career. I learn how to be a better human being. That’s what keeps me going till now.
I actually studied Accountancy, and upon graduation, I went on to practice audit. Towards the end of my second year in audit, TFP approached me to join them as full time Production Manager (while I was still in audit) even though I had very little experience in it. I took a leap of faith and went into theatre full-time. During my years in TFP, that’s when I realised I really do enjoy production management and gain a lot of satisfaction from the work (much more than stage management).
TFP is made up of very giving members. They are almost like family members. I remember when I first joined the company, the first production I got thrown into was a festival (10th Anniversary of The Arts House). I had to coordinate between all the spaces in the building and many teams of artists. It was a really steep learning curve but Tze Chien who was the Artistic Director (of the festival) trusted me entirely in handling this festival. I am thankful for the opportunity and trust that every member in TFP had in me.
I continued on the journey with TFP as a Core Team Member as I felt I wanted to give and contribute back to TFP. To be honest, if TFP hadn’t approached me back then, I think I might still be in audit?
I always call myself an introvert because I recharge more when I am left alone and I dislike big gatherings or parties or galas or having to socialise with new people. Ironically, the part I find the most satisfying as a PM is the conversations I have with my artists, designers, directors and production team. I enjoy the discussions we have during the process and how I try to bring everything together, executing and realising their visions through my understanding of our conversations.”
Dan Fong is a Core Team Member of TFP, and currently a freelance Production Manager. She will be helming the upcoming Production Bridging Initiative, a seven month-long programme for mid-career practitioners to gain entry into managerial positions in the fields of Production or Stage Management. Dan Fong will be mentoring the selected individual through various TFP productions to ensure the candidate gets to hone the different and specific skill sets needed for the respective production types.
Click here to find out more about the programme and download the application form.