W!ld Rice is one of Singapore’s most celebrated professional theatre companies, founded in 2000 by artistic director Ivan Heng, and that exclamation mark is emblematic of the joie de vivre that infuses their performances.
Heng made a name for himself by acting in iconic local plays such as Army Daze and Beauty World, and after stints in London and Malaysia, he started W!ld Rice to stage stories about our nation.
After close to two decades of searching for a home, W!ld Rice has finally found a worthy location in Funan.
W!ld Rice at Funan promises to entertain, inspire, challenge and move you with the best of Singapore theatre.
Spanning 20,000 square feet across three floors comprising the 358-seat Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre, a 60-seat performance studio, as well as W!ld Rice’s administrative office, this is the new home of Singapore theatre.
The one-of-a-kind Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre is the island’s only thrust stage, inspired by the stage that many of William Shakespeare’s own plays actually debuted on, and the furthest audience member will only be 12m away from the performers on stage.
With their place in Funan, W!ld Rice will now be able to programme all year round, continuing their mission of developing new talents and homegrown works.
Watch this space!
Local Hero 5: Climb Central
When Sylvester Stallone fell off a cliff in the Colorado Rockies in the movie ‘Cliff Hanger’, Mohammed Halil was watching in a cinema theatre and in 1994 he signed up for a beginner’s rockclimbing course.
In 1996, he went to rockclimbing mecca Krabi to climb, and came back a transformed (rockclimbing) man.
He started Climb Asia in 2002, and the first Climb Central emerged at Kallang Wave Mall in 2014, designed to be a place where everyone can pick up rockclimbing.
Since then, Climb Central has sprouted out at five more locations, including Bangkok, Manila, and New Delhi just this August.
Climb Central at Funan is one of the most eyecatching features in the mall, rising 15 metres from basement 2 to level 2.
It sports 50 climbing lanes so you spend more time climbing than queueing, a bouldering cave to unleash your inner caveman (or cavewoman), and even a bouldering wall that lights up with thousands of different routes so you can climb till you drop.
The constant flux of shoppers, gawkers, admirers, and neon lights all around makes for a truly unique rockclimbing experience, and given the throngs of rockclimbing devotees and excited beginners, it’s quite the blockbuster.
Local Hero 6: Love, Bonito
Love, Bonito started in 2010 as a humble blogshop selling imported clothes, growing exponentially and venturing into designing its own line of clothing just the next year.
The first collection was so popular that the website crashed due to high traffic, and today it’s also ventured overseas into Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Hong Kong, with three physical stores in Singapore including Funan.
Love, Bonito at Funan is the third and largest physical store, combining technology and tactile experience into a gorgeous 6,000 square feet retail playground.
It’s the definition of ‘instagrammable’, with sublime pastel walls, glowy coloured lights and beautiful fitting rooms.
Throw in the express e-commerce counter, on-your-demand stylists, illuminating workshops and curated events, and it becomes a full-on experience and attraction in its own right.
If you haven’t already been acquainted with our first three local heroes in our previous issue, check out Part 1 featuring PPP Coffee, Tiong Bahru Bakery, and Sinpopo Coffee here!