#hellotfp: Liew Jia Yi

by fingerplayers

#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 speak with Liew Jia Yi, this year’s Fellow under the Fellowship Programme.

Jia Yi performing in a showcase in Yokohama Wharf Workshop by Makoto Satoh (2019)

I was in the same CCA as Dan Fong (TFP Core Team Member) and Myra (TFP Co-Artistic Director 2020-2023) in secondary school. We had Qing Liang and Huiling from Drama Box for our CCA teachers. 

CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School Chinese Language Drama and Debate Society

I cannot remember the exact setting, but it’s after a short skit competition or something, and during our bus journey back, or during break time, Huiling and us had a “How-has-it-been? conversation”. On hindsight I felt like the conversation was her audition, because we didn’t go through any auditions. We were the ones who started to organize ARTIVATE, who came up with the logo, title, the audition call to other members. Before we were called ARTivate, we were called Youth Incubator, and we were in partnership with Scape Youth Park. At that time there was a bit of funding to continue running the programme, and then we branched out into ARTivate properly. 

ARTivate batch 1 // Photo Credit: Drama Box

This is my second time applying for The Fellowship Programme, the first time I didn’t get selected. I had always been interested in puppetry. The first time I applied, I was more interested in learning about puppets. The second time I applied, I still had interest in puppetry, but by that time had already created my own work, where my role was more producing / artistic direction / looking at the bigger picture. This Fellowship Programme was promoted to me as a mid-career leadership sort of programme, and I thought, besides being an actor on stage, what can the bigger stage be? What other roles can I take on to contribute to the overall landscape of the Arts in Singapore? 

I think for myself, it’s essential to expand my comfort zone, as opposed to getting out of it, because expanding means I gain more territory and comfort in other things, and taking on a more proactive role in this industry. A lot of times as an Actor you are at the mercy of people hiring you, so by placing myself in different roles, I can find out more and have a deeper understanding of the industry.

Jia Yi performing in Puppet Origin Stories @ 126

For most freelancers we are at the mercy of a lot of things, for example there is no corporate welfare, and as I start to gain a foothold on the different roles, I realize I don’t need to wait for things to happen, I can make things happen.