Main Season
For its Main Season, The Necessary Stage produces an average of two plays a year at its Black Box and at other venues. The plays are original, mostly devised pieces created in a collaborative process that is based on research, improvisation before scripting, and input from all members of the production. This process has produced many important works, including Boxing Day: The Tsunami Project (2005), godeatgod (2002 & 2004), Completely With/Out Character (1999), Fundamentally Happy (2006), Good People (2007), Gemuk Girls (2009), Model Citizens (2010), Off Centre (1994 and 2007), Still Building (1993), Balek Kampong (2011), Best Of (2013 and 2014) and Poor Thing (2014), all of which received critical and popular acclaim. The Necessary Stage's international collaboration, Separation 40, was produced with Malaysian theatre company Dramalab, and was staged at Esplanade and at Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre. In June 2006, The Necessary Stage presented Mobile, a creative collaboration involving talents from Japan, The Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, as part of the Singapore Arts Festival. Mobile also toured to Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo. Mobile 2: Flat Cities continued our intercultural and intergenerational collaboration with Japanese and regional artists; this premiered in August 2013, followed by a tour to Kuala Lumpur the same year. We continued our intercultural and interdisciplinary explorations with Gitanjali [I feel the earth move] staged in 2014, working with artists across different countries and genres.

Other notable productions include Off Centre, first staged in 1994 and then restaged at the Esplanade Theatre Studio in 2007, with both stagings receiving accolades and warm responses from the audience and press; the script was also selected as part of the GCE 'O' and 'N' Level literature syllabus from 2007, and was republished by the company a year before that. As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations, The Necessary Stage presented Good People in 2007, which was nominated in 7 categories of the 2008 Life! Theatre Awards and won the Best Original Script award. In 2008, the Company presented Gemuk Girls, which had a sold-out run and garnered critical and popular acclaim - the play went on to win Best Script, Production of the Year and Best Actor (Najib Soiman) in the 2009 Life! Theatre Awards. Gemuk Girls was restaged and enjoyed a sold-out run once again in November 2011. Our production Model Citizens in 2010 also saw director Alvin Tan receiving the Best Director accolade at the Life! Theatre Awards.

As part of its 
  20th anniversary  celebrations, The Necessary Stage presented Good People in 2007, which was nominated in 7 categories of the 2008 Life! Theatre Awards and won the Best Original Script award. In 2008, the Company presented Gemuk Girls, which had a sold-out run and garnered critical and popular acclaim - the play went on to win Best Script, Production of the Year and Best Actor (Najib Soiman) in the 2009 Life! Theatre Awards. Gemuk Girls was restaged and enjoyed a sold-out run once again in November 2011.
In 2013, The Necessary Stage presented Best Of, a monologue featuring Young Artist Award winner Siti Khalijah Zainal, which was staged 4 times in Singapore and Malaysia, all to rave reviews; the production also toured to Brisbane Festival and New York's Something to Write Home About Festival in late 2015. In 2014, we explored the use of social media in theatre through Poor Thing, a work that throws the spotlight on road rage in Singapore. The sold-out run of the production received enthusiastic reviews from all quarters.

Other recent works include _____ Can Change (as part of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2010), Model Citizens (as part of our main season in 2010 and restaged in the 2011 M1 Singapore Fringe Festival), Those Who Can't, Teach (as part of the Singapore Arts Festival 2010), Balek Kampong (as part of our main season in 2011). Singapore (as part of the Singapore Arts Festival 2011 and restaged at the 2012 M1 Singapore Fringe Festival), Crossings (staged as part of Esplanade's The Studios season in 2012) , Mobile 2: Flat Cities (as part of our main season in 2013) and Poor Thing. Our main season production October in 2012 was a re-working of our previous work of the same title in 1996, and looks at elderly residents of a precinct undergoing upgrading, and their relationship with one another and a young property agent eager to have them sell their homes. For 2015, The Necessary Stage is presenting an intergenerational main season production entitled Pioneer (Girls) Generation that will feature young theatre practitioners alongside participants from our Theatre for Seniors, as characters in a posh, upmarket senior retirement home.
In 2016, we presented Manifesto, a collaboration with Singapore theatre company Drama Box, an expansive multilingual production that investigates the role of artists in history and politics over events stretching across 70 years. We also premiered Ghost Writer in June the same year, an interdisciplinary production that offered a glimpse into characters whose lives are intertwined by blood and ties that bind—and suffocate. Most recently in November 2016, we presented Best Of (His Story), a monologue featuring Sani Hussin as the husband of the protagonist in Best Of, sharing his point of view on Malay Muslim divorce, as well offering a glimpse into his life, his past, his dreams and his beliefs. 




Drama Box and The Necessary Stage

In 2016, Drama Box and The Necessary Stage presented the groundbreaking sold-out production Manifesto, that delved into the relationship between art and politics.
This year, the two companies collaborate once again on a brand new work that explores poverty, inequality and human dignity in Singapore.
Underclass tells the story of Xinyi, who finds herself in a downward spiral after losing her job and her flat. When she moves into a rental unit, she meets Johari, and they strike up an unlikely friendship. Will they be able to get out of their disadvantaged status with the help of well-meaning friends, entrepreneurs, civil servants and politicians?
Whose responsibility is it to provide assistance for those who fall through the cracks? Can we make a difference and address imbalance in our society? Why should we?
Underclass asks urgent questions about the widening class divide in Singapore today. Who speaks up for the marginalised in society? Or will they be airbrushed out of our national narrative of prosperity and progress?
16 May – 3 June 2018
Wednesday to Saturday: 8.00pm
Saturday & Sunday: 2.30pm
The Necessary Stage Black Box

Tickets (excluding SISTIC ticketing fee):
$36 | $28*
* Concessions for students, senior citizens and NSF

Rating to be advised
Get your tickets now at 
SISTIC Website:
SISTIC Hotline: 6348 5555 and
SISTIC Authorised Agents islandwide.


Created by:
Alvin Tan
Bani Haykal
Brendon Fernandez
Goh Guat Kian
Haresh Sharma
Kok Heng Leun
Petrina Dawn Tan
Siti Khalijah Zainal
Vincent Lim
Yang Shi Bin
Yazid Jalil