Sexual minorities on the Singaporean stage

William Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Singapore in 1988. Two plays by local playwrights which deal with AIDS are scheduled for April, to be co-produced by the Ministry of Community Development and TheatreWorks, arguably Singapore's leading English-language theatre company. One month before the play opens, the ministry withdraws its support for both plays. Comments the ministry's Cultural Affairs Director, Mr Ng Yew Kang: "Homosexuality is portrayed as a natural and acceptable form of sexuality in the play. My ministry will not want to be a joint presenter of the play in its present form. This is in line with the Government's campaign against AIDS and homosexuality is one of its main causes. Homsexuality in Singapore is objectionable." A mere four years later, the newly-formed National Arts Council commissions a play by one of the country's best-known playwrights for the Singapore Festival of Arts; the play focuses on an intimate, though non-sexual, relationship between a transsexual and a male talk show host.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-72
Number of pages12
JournalAustralasian Drama Studies
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Singaporean drama
  • Singaporean plays
  • Sexual minorities
  • Homosexuality
  • Government policy


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