Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty Profiles

National University of Singapore
10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260

Office: AS5/05-29
Email: paulrae@nus.edu.sg
Tel: +65 65163931
Homepage: http://profile.nus.edu.sg/fass/ellrpa/
| Brief Introduction | Teaching Areas | Current Research | Research Interests | Publications | Creative Practice

Brief Introduction Top

I have lived in Singapore since 1996, where I combine my academic teaching and research with making performance as the director of theatre company, spell#7. Wherever possible, I seek to explore the intersections between these two practices, and feel that each informs the concerns of the other in important ways. This is one of the reasons that, in addition to publishing internationally, I contribute actively to local and regional publications, a separate list of which is included below. From 2005-2009 I was the Secretary of Performance Studies international (PSi), and in June 2004, I co-ordinated the 10th annual PSi conference, which took place here in Singapore.

I am the Graduate Coordinator for Theatre Studies, and welcome enquiries about our MA (Research) and PhD Programmes. I convene an Asia Research Institute Roundtable Series on performance studies in Asia, and, with Tania Roy, coordinate the 'Politics and Aesthetics' reading group. Details of that here.

Teaching Areas Top

  • GEK1055 - The Theatre Experience
  • TS3236 - Ecologies of Performance
  • TS4217 - Cultural Performance in Asia
  • TS4221 - Performance Research
  • TS5232 - Performance, History and Cultural Memory
  • TS6770 - Graduate Research Seminar
  • TS6880A - Figures of Theatre and Performance

Current Research Top

  • Theatre in an age of hyper-mobility
  • Cosmopolitan aesthetics
  • Theatre and human rights
  • I'm also presently involved in Danscross, co-ordinated by Rescen and the Beijing Dance Academy. Visit the blog here.

Research Interests Top

  • Contemporary Southeast Asian Theatre and Performance
  • Performance Aesthetics
  • Theories and Practices of Performance Research
  • Cosmopolitanism, Globalization and Interculturalism as they relate to Performance Processes

Publications Top


  • Theatre & Human Rights (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). Click here for details.


    • ‘Performing Singapore: City/State’ in Nicolas Whybrow (ed) Performing Cities (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming)
    • ‘Commuting Performance → Working the Middle Ground’ (with Simon Jones) in D.J. Hopkins and Kim Solga (eds) Performing the Global City (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming)
    • ‘Wayang Studies?’ in James Harding and Cindy Rosenthal (eds) The Rise of Performance Studies: Rethinking Richard Schechner's Broad Spectrum Approach (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 67-84
    • ‘In Tongues: Translation, Embodiment, Performance’ in Jan Van Der Putten and Ronit Ricci (eds) Translation in Asia: Theories, Practices, Histories (Manchester: St Jerome Publishing, 2011), pp. 153-166.
    • ‘Nosing Around: A Singapore Scent Trail’ (with Low Kee Hong) in Nicolas Whybrow (ed.) Performance and the Contempoary City: An Interdisciplinary Reader (Houndmills: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010), pp. 128-142.
    • ‘Say as I Do: Performance Research in Singapore’ (with Ray Langenbach) in Jon McKenzie, Heike Roms and Wee Wan-Ling (eds) Contesting Performance: Emerging Sites of Research (Houndmills: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010), pp. 136-152.
    • ‘Nameless, Sexless, Rootless, Homeless: Performance in a Transnation State’ (with Alvin Lim) in Matthew Cohen and Laura Noszlopy (eds) Contemporary Southeast Asian Performance: Transnational Perspectives (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010), pp. 163-190.
    • ‘No Sweat: Performance and the Care of the Singapore Self’ in Roberta Mock and Colin Counsell (eds) Performance, Embodiment and Cultural Memory (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009) pp. 158-182.
    • ‘Tree Duet’ in Ute Ritschel and Ina-Maria Gerverus (eds) Performing Life - Performed Lives: Aesthetics and Anthropology (Berlin and London: LIT Verlag, 2009) pp. 8-25.
    • ‘Why there is Wind: Power, Trees, Performance’ in Judie Christie, Richard Gough and Daniel Watt (eds) A Performance Cosmology: Testimony from the Future, Evidence of the Past (London and New York: Routledge, 2006), pp. 207-214.
    • ‘At Large in a Small Town: Theatrical and Civil Space in the Work of The Necessary Stage’ in Tan Chong Kee and Ng, Tisa (eds) Ask Not: The Social Theatres of The Necessary Stage (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish, 2004), pp. 138-156.


    • Associate Editor, Theatre Research International [Learn more]

    • Editorial Associate, Contemporary Theatre Review [more]
    • Editorial Board Member, Performance Research [more]
    • Editorial Panel Member, About Performance [more]

    • Invited Reviewer, Theatre Journal, Ecumenica, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Law Text Culture, Australasian Drama Studies

    • Co-editor, with Martin Welton, of Performance Research Vol. 12, No. 2, June 2007, 'On the Road'
    • Co-editor, with Michael Atavar, of ePAi: Performing Arts International (special issue, 'Presence Online'), (2003), http://www.mdx.ac.uk/www/epai/presencesite/ index.html


    • ‘Two-Trick Pony’ (with Kaylene Tan) in Performance Paradigm, Vol. 8 (2012), here.
    • ‘Pigs Might Fly: Dance in the Time of Swine Flu’ in Theatre Journal, 63 (2011), pp. 403-24.
    • ‘Freedom of Repression’ in Theatre Research International Vol. 36, No. 2, pp. 117-33.
    • ‘Duct Tape His Mouth! On Being Judged’ in Theatre Research International Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 310-15.
    • ‘Introduction: Traveling Performance’, (with Martin Welton) in Performance Research, Vol. 12, No. 2, June 2007, 'On the Road', pp. 1-4.
    • ‘Cat’s Entertainment: Feline Performance in the Lion City’, in The Drama Review, Vol. 51, No. 1, Spring 2007 (special issue on Animals and Performance), pp. 120-137.
    • ‘Where is the Cosmopolitan Stage?’ in Contemporary Theatre Review, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2006 (special issue on Theatre and Globalization), pp. 4-19.
    • ‘Don’t Take It Personally: Arguments for a Weak Interculturalism’ in Performance Research, Vol. 9, No. 3, December 2004, ‘On Civility’, pp. 18-24.
    • ‘Nosing Around: A Singapore Scent Trail’ (with Low Kee Hong) in Performance Research, Vol. 8, No. 3, September 2003, 'On Smell', pp. 44-54.


    • ‘Xeno-' in Contemporary Theatre Review Vol. 22, No. 1, 2013 (forthcoming).
    • ‘Singapore on Sea' in ISSUE No. 1, 2013 (forthcoming).
    • ‘Trees and People' in Eleanor Margolies (ed.) Theatre Materials (London: Centre for Excellence in Training and Theatre, 2009) pp. 40-41.
    • ‘The Street is the State: Rangoon/Yangon, September 2007' in Performance Research Vol. 13, No. 1, 2008, 'On Performatics', pp. 121-122.
    • 'Democracy' in Performance Research Vol. 11, No. 3, September 2006, 'Lexicon', pp. 37-40.
    • ‘Is East East?’ in Contemporary Theatre Review Vol. 16, No. 2, 2006, pp. 261-264.


    • Peter Dickinson, World Stages, Local Audiences: Essays on Performance, Place and Politics (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2010), Contemporary Theatre Review, Vol. 21, No. 1, February 2011, pp. 82-84.
    • Erika Fischer-Lichte, The Transformative Power of Performance: A New Aesthetics (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2008), TDR: The Drama Review, Vol. 55, No. 1, Spring 2011, pp. 161-165.
    • Bonnie Marranca, Performance Histories (New York: PAJ Publications, 2008), TDR: The Drama Review, Vol. 54, No. 3, Fall 2010, pp. 179-181.
    • Susan Broadhurst and Josephine Machon (eds) Performance and Technology: Practices of Virtual Embodiment (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) and Nick Kaye, Multi-Media: Video – Installation – Performance (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2007), Contemporary Theatre Review, Vol. 18, No. 3, August 2008, pp. 383-386.
    • Leon Ruben and I Nyoman Sedana, Performance in Bali (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2007), Contemporary Theatre Review, Vol. 18, No. 4, October 2008, pp. 523-525.


    • ‘Teachable Moments: Intercultural Pedagogies in Performance,’ invited keynote at Austral + Asia: Cultural Space, Theatricality, and the Performance of Asia in Australasia, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, November 2012
    • ‘One Less Multiculturalism’ at the Kuo Pao Kun International Conference, Asia Research Institute and National Museum of Singapore, September 2012
    • ‘Real Theatre’ at IFTR-FIRT 2011: Mediating Performance, Santiago, Chile, July 2012
    • ‘A Short Guide to a Real Theatre’ at Performance Studies international #18: Creative Industries, Leeds, UK, June 2012
    • ‘Performance and Finance Capital,’ plenary paper at ASTR 2011: Economies of Theatre, Montreal, Canada, November 2011
    • ‘Archipelagic Performance,’ invited keynote at IFTR-FIRT 2011: Tradition, Innovation, Community, Osaka, Japan, August 2011
    • ‘In Rep: The Mysteries’ at Performance Studies international #17: Camillo 2.0, Utrecht, Netherlands, May 2011
    • ‘Pigs Might Fly: Dance in the Time of Swine Flu’ at ASTR 2010: Work over Time: Embodying Power, Seattle, US, November 2010
    • ‘Making Modern Bodies: The Danscross Project’ at IFTR-FIRT 2010: Cultures of Modernity, Munich University, Germany, July 2010
    • ‘Freedom of Repression’ at IFTR-FIRT 2009: Silent Voices, Forbidden Lives: Censorship and Performance, Lisbon University, Portugal, July 2009
    • ‘Material Speech’ at Performance Studies international #15: Misperformance, Zagreb University, Croatia, June 2009
    • ‘In Tongues: Translation, Embodiment, Performance’ at Translation in Asia: Theories, Practices, Histories, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, March 2009
    • Co-convener, with Martin Welton, of the working group 'Transmissions: Mobilizing Theatrical Movement' at Unsettling Theatre: Migration, Map, Memory, ASTR 2008, Boston, US [Visit the wiki site here.]
    • 'Duct Tape His Mouth! On Being Judged' at Performance Studies international #14: Interregnum: In Between States, Copenhagen University, August 2008
    • 'Theatre/Capital: Singapore Performance and Knowledge Economy Aesthetics' at Re-constructing Asian-ness(es) in the Global Age, IFTR-FIRT 2008, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, July 2008
    • 'Teaching What You Don't Know: Intercultural Pedagogies in Performance' [Extended Player] at Theatre Today: Seeking New Paradigms, Asian Intercultural Conference 2008, Theatre Training and Research Programme, Singapore, June 2008
    • 'Tree Duet' at Theatre Materials/Material Theatres, Central School of Speech and Drama, UK, April 2008
    • 'Teaching What You Don't Know: Intercultural Pedagogies in Performance' at Performance Studies international #13: Happening, Performance, Event , New York University, November 2007
    • 'Tearing': Public Weeping and the Singapore Stage' at Extreme States - Issues of Scale: emotional, political, performative , 2007 Conference of the Australasian Association for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (ADSA), University of Melbourne, July 2007
    • ‘Figuring China’s Rise: Globalisation, Zheng He, and the Diplomatic Performative’ at Towards Tomorrow, The Centre for Performance Research, Aberystwyth, April 2005
    • ‘Sheep Shows, or, a Handlist of Terms Concerning the Comfort of Discomfiting Practices, as Peripatetically Performed in the Southeast Asian Region and Beyond’ (with Alfian Sa’at, Lam Yishan and Ray Langenbach) at Performance Studies international #11: Becoming Uncomfortable, Brown University, USA, March 2005
    • ‘Re:invention – On the Limits of Reflective Practice’ at Practice as Research in Performance. Bristol University, September 2003
    • ‘The Scarred Aesthetic’ at Theatre and Cultural Memory, International Federation for Theatre Research, Amsterdam, June 2002
    • ‘Rates of Exchange: The Flying Circus Project in the Context of the Knowledge Economy’ at Transactions: Theatre and Cultural Exchange, International Federation for Theatre Research, Sydney, August 2001
    • ‘From Propagation Park to Perpetual Succour: Performing Travel in the City’ at The City as Text Conference, National University of Singapore, September 1999


    • 'Global Cultural Capital' University of Buffalo Arts Management Summer School, Intercultural Training Institute, Singapore, June 2012
    • 'Performer-Network-Theory?' Asia Research Institute, Singapore, April 2011
    • 'Movement and Mobility in Singapore Theatre' for The Arts in Motion, Hwa Chong Junior College, Singapore, May 2010
    • 'Giving Up the Ghost: Writing on Practice' for Is Art Practice Research? School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, April 2010
    • 'New Media and Creativity: the Great Leveller?' Plenary presentation for All In! Young Writers' Seminar 2010: Writing and the New Media. Organised by the National Book Development Council of Singapore, Arts House, Singapore, February 2010
    • Respondent for Culture, Genocide and the Small Matter of Theatre, by Erik Ehn, Mt. Emily, Singapore, January 2010
    • 'Preliminary Reflections', for Danscross, Beijing Dance Academy, China, November 2009
    • 'Theatre People', for The Calculus of Community, NUS Politics & Aesthetics Reading Group Workshop, October 2009
    • 'Tree Poetics', for Get it? The Medium, the Message, and the Environment, SINEMA: International Social Action Film Festival, October 2009
    • 'Performance Studies in Asia: A Roundtable', with Rivka Eisner and Hwang Ha-Young, Asia Research Institute, NUS, March 2009
    • 'Emily v. The Little Nyonya', Performing the Peranakan, NUS Museum, March 2009
    • Convener and Moderator of Life Styles: Theatre and Biography Across Cultures, National Museum of Singapore, Feb 2009 (including short presentation, 'A Life')
    • ‘No Sweat: Performance and the Care of the Singapore Self,’ Workshop on Performance and Southeast Asian Identities, Dept of Geography, NUS, Nov 2008
    • ‘Unaccommodated Man: Theatres of Exposure,’ English Language and Literature Department Seminar, Oct 2008
    • ‘Enter the Durian: Accommodating Theatre in a Performance State,’ London Theatre Seminar, University of London, May 2008
    • ‘Where's the Rub? Thinking Theatre and Human Rights,’ Theatre Studies Department Seminar, University of Warwick, May 2008
    • ‘Where's the Rub? Thinking Theatre and Human Rights,’ English Language and Literature Department Seminar, March 2008
    • ‘Singapore Theatre in an Age of Globalization’ at Raffles Asia Seminar Series, Raffles Junior College, January 2008
    • ‘Memory Machines: Art, History and the Emergency’ at The Singapore Art Museum, November 2007
    • ‘Critics on Criticism: A Dialogue between Paul Rae and Chetana Nagavajara’ at Critically Speaking: Asia & Europe Contemporary Performing Arts Colloquium, The Arts House @ Old Parliament, Singapore, June 2005
    • ‘From “Working-“ to “World-“: Singapore Theatre and the Problem of Class’ at the Singapore Cultural Studies Symposium, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, November 2004
    • ‘Deadweights of the Body Politic: Art, Space and the Contemporary’ at the SENI Symposium: Art and the Contemporary, Singapore Art Museum, November 2004
    • ‘PSi Love You?’ for the “Internationalism” Working Group at Discipline or Perform: Performance Studies in its Global Contexts, Performance Studies Focus Group of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) at the City University of New York, July 2003
    • ‘10/12: The Day Singapore Became the Bali of the 21st Century?’ at The Asian Performance Studies Research Group Meeting, Penang, June 2003
    • ‘The Theatre and Its Double-Bind: Theatrical and Performative Identities in Life, Art, etc.’ at Being Me: Post-Identity Politics, Middlesex University, December 2001
    • ‘Appearing in Person’ at a ResCen Seminar, Middlesex University, November 2001


    • ‘Reverse Parking’ in Singapore: Insights from the Inside, David Fedo (Ed.) (Singapore: Singapore International Foundation, 2012) pp. 145-48. Reproduced in Today newspaper (Singapore) on 12 March 2012, and The Malaysian Insider.
    • ‘Occupation’ in Preoccupations: Things Artists Do Anyway, Cornelia Erdman and Michael Lee Hong Hwee (eds) (Hong Kong: Laiyan Projects and Studio Bibliothèque, 2008) pp. 160-1.
    • ‘Yes’ in What is your Position as an Artist?, Heman Cheong (ed.) (Singapore, 2007) p. 45, available at http://www.hemanchong.com/positions/
    • ‘Integrating Singapore 2006’ in Singapore Architect, No. 236, December 2006/ January 2007, pp. 112-119.
    • ‘Suspending Dis/belief’ in the ‘Critical Reader – Singapore Biennale 2006’, The Substation Magazine, November 2006, available at http://www.substation.org/magazine/issue06/ SB_SuspendingDisBelief.html
    • ‘Lost and Found’, in the ‘Critical Reader – Singapore Biennale 2006’, The Substation Magazine, November 2006, available at http://www.substation.org/magazine/issue06/SB_LostnFound. html
    • ‘Public Relations, or, Repopulating the Public’ in The Substation Magazine, September 2005, available at http://www.substation.org/magazine/issue02/ft_publicrelations.html
    • ‘City Scripts: Writing Against the Text’ in Michael Lee (ed) Txtrapolis: Text-Based Art from Singapore (Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts) (2005, no page numbers)
    • ‘Performing Wrighting: An Interview with Leow Puay Tin’ in The Substation Magazine, May 2005, available at: http://www.substation.org/magazine/features_puaytin.html
    • ‘Deadweights of the Body Politic: Art, Space and the Contemporary’ in T. K. Sabapathy (ed) SENI 2004: Art and the Contemporary (Singapore: Singapore Art Museum, 2004), pp. 194-205.
    • ‘”10/12”: When Singapore Became the Bali of the Twenty-First Century?’ in focas: Forum on Contemporary Art and Society, Vol. 5, pp. 222-259 (2004)
    • ‘Rates of Exchange: The Flying Circus Project in the Context of Globalisation’ in focas: Forum on Contemporary Art and Society, Vol. 2, July 2001, pp. 193-206.


    • Relating Singapore: Cosmopolitan Aesthetics and Contemporary Performance (PhD Thesis, Middlesex University, 2005)
    • Operating Theatre, Medicine Shows: Medicalized Bodies in Performance (MA by Research Thesis, University of Warwick, 2000)

Creative Practice Top


  • Family Duet (director, performer)
  • 2013: The Studios, Esplanade

  • Epic Poem of Malaya (director)
  • 2010: The Studios, Esplanade

  • Dream-Work / Dream-Home (director)
  • 2010: Mayfest, Bristol, UK
    2009: Singapore Arts Festival

  • Sky Duet (dramaturg, script editor)
  • 2008: Singapore Biennale

  • Tree Duet (writer, performer)
  • 2009: University Cultural Centre, Singapore; Edinburgh Festival, UK
    2008: Central School of Speech and Drama, UK; Singapore Theatre Festival
    2007: Live Arts Bangkok; Substation Septfest, Singapore

  • National Language Class (director, co-writer)
  • 2008: National Institute of Education, Singapore; The Studios, Esplanade, Singapore
    2006: Indonesian Dance Festival, Jakarta; Singapore Theatre Festival
    2005: Bangkok Fringe Festival

Full details of my work with spell#7 are available at the company's website here

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