Last week, I sat with Parveen Nisha, Marketing Manager of Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) and had a chat with her about parenting, arts and crafts and what it was like to work at the premier children’s theatre. Here is what the mother of two — Sofea 6 and Shariq, 3 shares:
What is your daily routine like?
I wake up really early and get Sofea dressed for school. Sends her to school, goes to work and then come straight home. On certain nights and weekends when we have shows, I stay back but usually I work from 9am to 5pm and is usually home by 630pm.
I am really lucky that I found a good helper who can look after my kids well. By the time I get home, my maid ensures they are clean and fed so that I can spend quality time with my kids. I read with them and they tell me about their day. I eat at about 830 or 9pm when the kids are asleep.
What do you and your hubby do with the kids on weekends?
My husband works shifts so when he is not around on weekends, I pack it with lots of ideas. I am obsessed with Pinterest for ideas on all sorts of fun craft projects to do with the kids on Saturday morning. So they have come to look forward to these art and crafts activities on weekends. We’ll stick crayons and blow them dry, then we’ll melt it. They love Saturday mornings. I think art is pretty fun and interesting for the kids. Even at the theatre, I do a lot of creating and designing. I really enjoy it. I am a really hands-on creative person.
When my hubby is around, we try to take them out as much as possible to watch shows or the museums. Our current fave destination is the National Gallery Museum. Oh my god, they love it there and really enjoy the activities there.
Do Your Kids Have Any Dramatic Flair?
Sofea is very vocal and extremely dramatic. She really enjoys her speech and drama classes. I think theatre is really important and it makes a difference to the kids. Sofea watched her first show at 9 months. Till today, she can remember the songs and details of the productions she watched and can absorbed. Two weekends ago, I brought them to The Hungry Caterpillar and they really enjoy it. We also bring them to more commercial stuff like Disney on Ice. They LOVE it.
How did you end up working for a theatre company?
I was interested in theatre even as a secondary school student. When I graduate from university, I saw the job opening at SRT, applied for it and got the job. I began as a coordinator and nine years later, I currently oversee the marketing department.
Wow! Nine years. What are some of the changes you see in the theatre industry?
The changes are huge. Back then, you get print proofs in paper form. Nowadays, everything is digital and online. It’s a theatre company and I have helped the company morphed and followed the trends into the digital age. I’ve brought the company into social media aspect of it. It’s quite mind boggling to create content, work with bloggers and bounce ideas off each other.
The way we market our productions has also evolved. We cut down on print ads. Today, it’s not just about marketing our shows but also allowing our stories and content be heard in the world.
Why are kids’ theatre are so popular these days?
Young parents see the need to expose the kids to arts and they realize that their kids don’t necessary get that exposure in schools. Having said that, our weekday shows are packed with schools who bring their students. It’s good that schools see that and is part of their curriculum. Kids are interested in watching theatre.
TLC and other theatre companies are doing stories from books that children are familiar like Cat in the Hat or Little Red Riding Hood. Its very nice for the kids to see the stories come to life from page to stage.
Aside from doing popular titles, TLC and SRT also want to create or give the theatre an avenue to tell other stories that is more environmental like the Green Play or Asian stories like our upcoming Hanuman play.
Tell us a bit about your new play, Hanuman The SuperHero Monkey?
Hanuman the Super Monkey is totally different from the other productions that we have. Working with Imitating the Dot from the UK, it is loosely adapted from the story of the Ramayana.
Hanuman is very naughty and mischievous but in the end he saves the day with his band of monkey friends. What is different about the show is not just the acting but it plays a lot with video projection and multimedia. It has a lot of clever movements. It’s even for older kids up to secondary school.
The Indian community will be well verse with this character but we hope everyone will come watch this play because of the way we have done it and we hope parents will expose the kids to different story. We work with the best in the industry because we believe in doing quality shows and inculcating a love of theatre for the kids.
What Are The Benefits Of Bringing Kids To Theatre?
A good age to expose kids to theatre is two years old. what you are exposing them to is seeing things life in front of them — the sound, the visual, even the language. When they are older, there is a learning element to theatre with the understanding of the morals of the story. The third benefit is about going out as a family and doing things together.
Theatre is very different from cinema. Cartoons or animations that you watch on TV is very different from watching a 360-degree performance on stage.
Tips on how parents can save to enjoy theatre
- Look for discounts like family packages, card discounts or early-bird offers. Usually theatre tickets go on sale 3 to 4 months in advance. Plan your calendar in advance.Go to SISTIC and look through what is offered in the next months or quarter.
- Buy aisle seats if its your young child’s first show or if you child is not comfortable being in the dark.
- Prep them that the lights in the theatre will go dark before the show begins so they are not startle when it happens.
- If your young child begins to squirm or cry, do carry him or her to the back of the theatre so that you can continue to soothe your child and enjoy the show.
- If your child is unable to calm down after 2 minutes, do bring him/her outside the theatre. We have a screen outside where you can watch the play and negotiate with your child on your return back into the theatre.
What is most challenging about parenting for you?
Time. it’s not about balancing work and family. It’s that the kids are growing up way too fast. Next year, my son will be in school and I have no more babies. I really want to hang on to them when they are young and still allow me to cuddle and baby them.
Tips on Discipline: My husband and I are quite cohesive with our parenting styles. They hardly misbehave. We tried time out, but my kids find it funny. Our only discipline is to inform them that if they continue to misbehave, we will not bring them to their monthly trip to Toys R Us. We also try to be as fair as we can in terms of hugs or gifts, so not too much rivalry issues at the moment.
Tips on Travel: My husband and I love to travel so we want to impart this trait to our kids. Besides theatre, I think travelling is the next best thing to expose kids to different cultures and experiences. We plan trips with activities that even my kids can do. My advice is to try to get night flights when travelling with young kids and pack snacks for your trip. My husband loves to drive so we do a lot of road trips. We can stop wherever and whenever and I find it so easy even when we stay out late.
Hanuman — The Superhero Monkey is performing at the following dates and time:
|Date:||1st to 30th April 2016|
|Opening hours:||Tuesday to Friday 10am
Saturday and Sunday 11am and 2pm
|Venue:||Home of Singapore Repertory Theatre20 Merbau Road|
|Admission:||From $25 – excluding SISTIC fee
SISTIC at 6348 5555 or www.sistic.com.sg
Group discounts/ Family Packages available
We are giving away tickets to a family of four to catch the show on 10 April Sunday, 2pm. To take part and qualify, please make sure all the following steps are completed:
1) LIKE Universal Scribbles Facebook Page (if you haven’t already).
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Terms and Conditions:
- Giveaway starts on 3 April 2016 and ends 8 April 2016, Friday at 11.59PM.
- This giveaway is open to Singapore residents above 18 years old only.
- To take part and qualify, please follow the above giveaway steps.
- The number of eligible entries received determine the odds of winning.
- Winners are picked randomly and decisions are final and at the discretion of the blog owner. No changes/disputes will be entertained.
- The Winner will be notified by the email provided in the participation form and must reply within 24 hours, failing which, a new winner will be drawn, without notice.
- If potential Prize winner forfeits or does not claim the prize, the said prize will be re-awarded, in Sponsor’s sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded.
- No purchase is necessary.
- Void Where Prohibited.
- This promotion is kindly sponsored by Singapore Repertory Theatre.
Till our next post, love yourself, love one another.