Isaiah Christopher Lee

Artist | Researcher | Educator | Cultural Diplomat

Isaiah Christopher Lee is a multilingual Singaporean theatre practitioner, art historian, cultural diplomat, researcher and educator with 15 years of experience in performance making and 5 years in education. He is a theatre practitioner and freelance drama educator in Singapore, and the Founder and Managing Director of the independent art, design and theatre company, The CreativeWerkz (2019).

Isaiah is currently the Artistic Curator and Stage Director at New Opera Singapore, teaching acting and stagecraft. He is also an Associate Artist and Drama Educator at inwardBOUND - Transformation through Drama, and is the Co-Founder of In The Round: Network of Emerging Theatre Directors, and a guest lecturer at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore (NAFA) and teaches Contemporary Southeast Asian Theatre for MU4631: Music & Sound Design for Theatre under the School of Music.

A recipient of the prestigious Indonesian Arts and Cultural Scholarship [Beasiswa Seni dan Budaya Indonesia] 2023 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Isaiah studied traditional Indonesian dance and music at Sanggar Ayodya Pala DKI Jakarta from June to August 2023 and is now a cultural diplomat between Singapore and Indonesia.

Isaiah was an Artist-in-Residence with Centre 42 under the The Vault: Lite 2021 with a research specialisation on reimagining Singapore theatre classics, in particular Chong Tze Chien’s Poop!. He has also worked with pioneer Singapore artist Tang Da Wu on 'The Big Rehearsal: What Question' at The Substation, Singapore (2021) and ‘Walk Darkness Walk’ at the National Gallery Singapore (2021).

A graduate of Catholic High School, Singapore and Raffles Institution, Isaiah's repertoire of works include Out Damned Spot! (2014), Cermin (2013), Drowning Demons (2013), Umbrellas in the Rain (2013), Di’Vine (2015), Dive (2015), Ladders to Heaven (2015), When The Bough Breaks (2017), The Old Woman and the Ox (2018), Yatim (2021). Notably, he was the playwright for the interdisciplinary performance Reflections for Esplanade’s HuaYi 2021. His poems have been published in The Kindling Journal, and SingPoWriMo 2018: The Anthology, and he was shortlisted for the 2018 Editorial Consultations by Arts House, Singapore for poetry.

Apart from writing, he is active in performance and is particularly interested in movement and physical theatre. His latest solo performances include The Concubine (2021), and The Visit (2022) part of a community theatre project with Bored Whale Theatre's 'FourPlay' series. As part of his directorial work, Isaiah directed Single Mothers (2019) at the Playden at the Arts House, Singapore and Anamnesis (2021) at Aliwal Arts Centre. As a theatre practitioner, he has worked with New Opera Singapore and MUSA: The Collective. He has worked on various arts projects supported by the National Arts Council Singapore (NAC), the Arts Fund, and the National Youth Council (NYC), Young ChangeMakers (YCM).

Isaiah was an MOE Humanities Scholar, and the Artist-in-Residence and a Drama Educator at inwardBOUND – Transformation through Drama (2019), during which time he worked on Forum Theatre focusing on theatre for intervention in Singapore schools.

Isaiah is graduated with a BA(Hons) Double Major in English Literature and Art History (Highest Distinction) at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore with a Minor in Modern Languages (German). He specialises in the Arts and Literatures of Southeast Asia and is currently researching on Javanese aesthetics in modern Indonesian painting. Isaiah was awarded the Lee Kwan Yew Gold Medal (English) and Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Award.

In parallel with theoretical research within and beyond the disciplines of Art History and English Literature, he explores performance and storytelling through interdisciplinary theatre and education.

Artistic Portfolio & Research Blog

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Directors x Discipline 2021

Directors x Discipline is a ground-up initiative founded and programmed by Adeeb Fazah and Isaiah Christopher Lee that brings together several emerging theatre directors in Singapore for mutual learning workshops. It hopes to become a space for mutual sharing and learning for early career theatre directors in Singapore.

Current Reads

Read Along with Me!

Bali: Sekala & Niskala: Essays on Religion, Ritual and Art

In Bali, what you see--sekala--is a colorful world of ceremony, ritual, dance, and drama. What you don't see what is occult--niskala--is the doctrine underlying the pageants, the code underlying the rites, and the magic underlying the dance. In this book, author Fred Eiseman explores both tangibles and intangibles in the realm of Balinese religion, ritual, and performing arts.

The essays collected here topics ranging from Hindu mythology to modern gamelan music. Eiseman's approach is that of a dedicated reporter in love with his subject--he has the knowledge and patience to explain the near-infinite permutations of the Balinese calendar, and yet he is still moved by the majesty of the great Eka Dasa Rudra ceremony. The author's 28 years experience on the island shows and this book rewards close reading--even by the most seasoned students of Balinese culture.

Kitchen Curse: Stories (2019), Eka Kurniawan

A man captures a caronang, a strange, intelligent dog that walks upright, and brings it home, only to provoke an all-too-human outcome. A girl plots against a witch doctor whose crimes against her are, infuriatingly, like any other man's. Stories explore the turbulent dreams of an ex-prostitute, a perpetual student, victims of anti-communist genocide, an elephant, a stone. Dark, sexual, scatalogical, violent, and mordantly funny, these fractured fables span city and country, animal and human, myth and politics.

Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash (2018), Eka Kurniawan

Saturday, February 15, 2003.

Ajo Kawir is one of the toughest fighters in the Javanese underworld, his fearlessness matched only by his unquenchable thirst for brawling. But the young thug is driven by a painful secret - he is impotent. When he finally meets his match in the shape of the fearsomely beautiful bodyguard Iteung, Ajo is left bruised, battered and overjoyed - he has fallen in love. But will he ever be able to make Iteung happy?

Man Tiger: a novel (2016), Eka Kurniawan

A slim, wry story set in an unnamed town near the Indian Ocean, Man Tiger tells the story of two interlinked and tormented families, and of Margio, an ordinary half-city, half-rural youngster who also happens to be half-man, half-supernatural female white tiger (in many parts of Indonesia, magical tigers protect good villages and families).At once elegant and bawdy, experimental and political, Man Tiger will help to establish Indonesia's new voice, underrepresented in world literature, while demonstrating the influence of world literature on Indonesian writers.