Affiliate Spotlight: Singapore Wolf Trap and The Art Of Turning Lemons Into Lemonade
May 13, 2021
The creativity at Singapore Wolf Trap is contagious. From the moment it was launched by Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) in May 2019 as the first international affiliate for Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, the Singapore Wolf Trap team has brought the same enthusiasm to arts-integrated learning as it does to its stage productions. As one of the leading English language theatre producers and presenters in Asia, its inventive work through the pandemic has been no exception.
“Learning and arts education through the pandemic has been much like the rest of the world. At one point, learning stopped, then the pivot to virtual happened and very quickly,” says Paul Adams, Learning and Engagement Manager for SRT and Affiliate Director for Singapore Wolf Trap. “Although teachers and parents had a steep learning curve with the technology, we supported them and learned together.”
The Singapore Wolf Trap team invigorated its offerings with high-energy artists and used colorful, splashy graphics and audio to bring content to life. They introduced virtual holiday camps and began bringing Wolf Trap’s sixteen-session residencies online.
“The Wolf Trap format works perfectly for virtual lessons. The teachers are fully involved in the planning and execution [of each lesson], so, although the artist wasn’t in the room, their co-facilitator, the teacher, was present in the room with the children,” says Adams. “This partnership meant the digital distance did not affect the flow and did not negatively impact the outcomes for the residencies.”
Though group singing was reduced during the pandemic, Singapore Wolf Trap found that their programs tended to attract audiences interested in a multi-disciplinary approach to learning.
“Our artists do crosscut dance, acting, and singing, and teachers love to request two strategies that usually span across two art forms,” says Adams.
While delivering these disciplines, Singapore Wolf Trap’s Teaching Artists also found ways to adapt to the new technology, and used it to further their storytelling.
“I loved watching my Teaching Artists push the limits of Zoom. Dwayne Tan extended his sessions through an OBS streaming software, embedding lyrics, graphics, and video clips into the Zoom screen for a more interactive format,” Adams continues. “Shanice Stanislaus excelled in the mastery of virtual backgrounds and seamlessly jumped in and out of frame. Each time she landed, [it was] a new ‘world’ to explore. The children loved it.”
This April, the Singapore Wolf Trap team launched “Wake Up! Shake Up!” a fun-filled week of digital broadcasts aimed at highlighting SRT Learning & Engagement alongside the Singapore Wolf Trap program. “Wake Up! Shake Up!” was broadcast live to classrooms and was designed to kick start their day with drama, song, and dance.
“We arranged five artists (including me) to share a thirty-minute session for pre-school audiences,” says Adams. “We engaged approximately 200 pre-school professionals, and had around 4,500 students watching live over the week.”
To see the broadcasts on YouTube, visit https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0qMw-oI2nxtAeuE0oyzVps9Xsgcy3hxn or the full line-up on srt.com.sg/wakeupshakeup.
The development of new programs and the transition of existing programs to a format that worked for both schools and Singapore Wolf Trap’s roster of Teaching Artists meant that the affiliate could continue to keep their Teaching Artists actively engaged, and fulfill their goal of delivering quality professional development to educators.
Overall, teachers and students have responded so well to the new virtual programs that Singapore Wolf Trap is now offering a mixture of digital and in-person programs.
“For Singapore Wolf Trap, there is still nothing like being in the room. However, we are now prepared to deliver digital and deliver it well,” continues Adams. “This means we have the option to support schools that may still need hybrid formats, but also it opens the potential to look at our regional reach in South East Asia long term under both Singapore Repertory Theatre Learning and Engagement and Singapore Wolf Trap.”
Whether in person or via digital, Singapore Wolf Trap has perfected the art of turning a lemon of a year into a future of lemonade, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.