Sabri Buang



Sabri Buang (b. 1964, Singapore–) is both a writer and director of theatre and television in Singapore and abroad.1 In his earlier days, Sabri acted in Malay dramas for both theatre and television, and has built up a body of directorial works in English and Malay.2 Known for his professional work in theatre, Sabri has trained actors in Singapore, the United States, Norway and Denmark. He was the head of LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts (now Lasalle College of the Arts) School of Drama from 1999–2003.3 In 2004, Sabri became the creative director at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur's performing arts centre.4

Education and qualifications
Sabri is the eighth of 12 children. As a child, he was more interested in playing football. His involvement in drama began only when he was doing his pre-university studies at the Tanjong Katong Technical School. Sabri graduated as a physical education teacher at the National Institute of Education in Singapore, and subsequently pursued his dreams to study theatre at the Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang.5 He graduated with top honours in performing arts in 1991 and returned to Singapore, determined to develop the theatre scene here. By 1993, Sabri had already been actively contributing to the local arts scene for 10 years such as by directing and penning plays, which were mainly in Malay.6 In 1993, he was awarded the $35,000 S. Rajaratnam Scholarship Award to further his studies at the University of Hawaii where he obtained a Master of Fine Arts (Theatre and Drama).7


International accomplishments
In June 2000, Sabri was selected to represent Singapore at the Mødestedet 2000 International Theatre Festival in Slagese, Denmark.8 For the festival, he wrote, directed and produced a double bill production: an English play titled Waves and a Malay drama, Sangkar (“Cage”). The productions received rave reviews from the organiser, theatre artistes and the audience. The LaSalle-SIA Foundation, Lee Foundation, National Arts Council and the organiser, Mødestedet, sponsored the trip for the entire troupe.9 Besides Singapore, India was the other Asian participant in the event.10 


Following his successful showing at the festival, Sabri received invitations to develop new works for professional theatre companies in Denmark, Russia and Venezuela. In 2000, Sabri was approached by Rick Sperling, artistic director of the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, to direct their drama performance in Detroit for three weeks. Sabri was the first Asian to be invited by an accomplished theatre company like Mosaic, a recipient of the prestigious Taller Award by former US president Bill Clinton. The result of the joint effort was the reinterpretation of classical Greek drama Medea, which was staged in Detroit in late 2000 and in Singapore in July 2001.11

In December 2001, Sabri became the only Asian director to have his work presented at the 5th International Theatre Awards in Caravcas, Venezuela.12 In November the following year, Sabri’s Asian interpretation of the classical Greek play Antigone was staged at the UNESCO-ITI World Theatre Festival in Athens, making his young LASALLE-SIA performers the first Asian group to perform at the festival.13 His expertise, knowledge and experience have been much sought after by theatre companies and arts institutions in  Singapore as well as overseas.

Other involvements
In 1996, Sabri collaborated with retired footballer Fandi Ahmad, the former Singapore Television Twelve and Yayasan Mendaki to produce a 13-episode docu-drama, Meniti Pelangi (“Follow the Rainbow”), which highlighted the successes and struggles of the Malay community.14


In 1998, Sabri was appointed an executive member of Majlis Pusat Pertubuhan-Pertubuhan Budaya Melayu Singapore (Central Council of Malay Cultural Organisations Singapore) to help revitalise its  programmes.15 At the same time, he also became the creative director of Raistar Productions Private Limited (later Raistar International), a local Malay production company.16

A year later, in 1999, Sabri was appointed head of the Public Relations and Education Committee for the Kampong Glam Malay Heritage Project.17 Sabri was the director for the Malay version of the controversial play, Talaq (“Divorce” in Arabic), in 2000. However, the play was not staged due to religious and cultural sensitivities.18 Besides his various roles as playwright, lecturer and creative director, Sabri was also a senior marketing executive at Scotts Holdings and wrote for The Straits Times and Berita Harian newspapers.19

In 2004, Sabri was appointed the creative director for Istana Budaya,  Kuala Lumpur’s performing arts centre. He was the creative force behind the successful Konsert Kasih –Tangan Yang Memberi (“The Hand That Gives Concert”) staged at the centre in January 2005. The concert featured popular Malaysian and Singaporean stars, and was held to raise funds for the victims of the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.20


In 2005, Sabri returned to Singapore to direct the star-studded concert Ribut Damai held on 10 April. The concert was aimed at raising funds for the tsunami-hit Aceh on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.21 During his stint as artistic director at Istana Budaya, Sabri also oversaw several other stage performances such as Teater Puteri Hang Li Po (“Princess Hang Li Po Theatre”), Konsert Nur and Konsert 100 Simfoni Rakyat (“Concert for The 100 People Symphony”).22

Sabri’s mentor is Nadiputra (Almahdi Al-Haj Ibrahim), a well-known local scriptwriter and director for local Malay television drama as well as theatre.23

Selected Malay plays
1982:
 Warna-warna Lakon (“The Colours of Acting”)24

1983: Gersang (Barren)25
1986: Laksamana Muda Lela (“Young Admiral Lela”)
1988: Arwah (“The Deceased”)
1991: Setengah Jalan Merah (“Red 1/2 Way”)26
1992: Anjing Untuk Diplomat (“A Dog for A Diplomat”)27
1999: Laluan (“Passage”)28
2001: Uri (“Placenta”)29

Selected awards
1990:
 Merit award for After Abyss (play), 8th Kemuning Society Youth Theatre Festival.30

2001: Consolation prize for Jeda (novel), Sayembara Novel Watan, Perikatan Sayembara Dayacipta (Persada).31 
2001:  Best Set Design, Best Lighting Effects and Best Sound Effects for Project Woyzeck: Last Walk Within, 5th International Theatre Awards, Caravcas, Venezuela.32 
2003: Merit award for Jeda (novel), Anugerah Persuratan (Literary Awards), Malay Language Council.33

Family
Sabri is married to Junaidah Jumair, a former dramatist.34 His younger brother is Raffi Buang, a former national sepak takraw player.35




Authors

Marsita Omar & Kartini Saparudin



References
1. Dewani Abbas. (1993, July 9). Sabri ingin jadi mangkin seni drama [Sabri wants to be a catalyst for the performing arts] Berita Harian, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Atin Amat. (2001, January 13). Persatuan Kemuning bawa pembaharuan besar. [Kemuning Society brings major reforms]. Berita Harian, p.18; Karya Sabri beri nilai-nilai pemikiran [Sabri’s works provide food for thought]. (1988, June 20). Berita Harian, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Leong, L. G. (Ed.). (2011). Literary Singapore: A directory of contemporary writing in Singapore. Singapore: National Arts Council, p. 129. (Call no.: RSING 809.895957 LIT); LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts. (1999/2000). Annual report. Singapore: LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts, p. 17. (Call no.: RCLOS q700.7105957 LSCAAR-[AR]); LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts. (2000/2001). Annual report. Singapore: LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts, p. 33. (Call no.: RCLOS q700.7105957 LSCAAR-[AR]); LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts. (2003/2004) Annual report. Singapore: LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts, p. 60. (Call no.: RCLOS q700.7105957 LSCAAR-[AR]).
4. Hanim Mohd. Saleh. (2004, April 2). Sabri gembira diundang pulang arah konsert Ribut Damai [Sabri is happy to be invited back to direct Ribut Damai concert]. Berita Harian, p. 30; Hanim Mohd Saleh. (2004, October 13). Konsert Nur: Hiburan rohani membanggakan [Concert Nur: Proud of spiritual entertainment]. Berita Harian, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Dewani Abbas. (1993, July 9). Sabri ingin jadi mangkin seni drama [Sabri wants to be a catalyst for the performing arts]. Berita Harian, p. 5; Ida Bachtiar, et. al. (1992, August 10). Work within constraints. The Straits Times, p. 3; Hanim Mohd Saleh. (1999, May 23). Laluan: Gabungan Nadiputra & Sabri [Passage: A collaboration between Nadiputra & Sabri]. Berita Harian, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Ida Bachtiar, et. al. (1992, August 10). Work within constraints. The Straits Times, p. 3; Dewani Abbas. (1993, July 9). Sabri ingin jadi mangkin seni drama [Sabri wants to be a catalyst for the performing arts]. Berita Harian, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Raja fund to give fewer awards. (1993, August 3). The Straits Times, p. 22; Hanim Mohd. Saleh. (2004, April 2). Sabri gembira diundang pulang arah konsert Ribut Damai [Sabri is happy to be invited back to direct Ribut Damai concert]. Berita Harian, p. 30; Dewani Abbas. (1993, July 9). Sabri ingin jadi mangkin seni drama [Sabri wants to be a catalyst for the performing arts].  Berita Harian, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. College goes to festival. (2000, June 27). The Straits Times, p. 7; Sabri wakil Singapura di pesta teater Denmark [Sabri represents Singapore in Denmark’s theatre festival] (2000, June 24). Berita Harian, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (2000, August 2). Teater Melayu mampu ke taraf antarabangsa [Malay theatre capable of international standing]. Berita Harian, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. College goes to festival. (2000, June 27). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (2000, November 19). Kreativiti Diiktiraf [Creativity recognised]. Berita Harian, p. 16; Hanim Mohd Saleh. (2000, November 19). Teater klasik 'Medea' versi Sabri [Sabri’s version of the classic play, ‘Medea’]. Berita Harian, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (2001, December 15). Maktab Seni LaSalle-SIA menang tiga anugerah teater [LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts wins three theatre awards]. Berita Harian, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. LASALLE-SIA dramatists break new ground in Athens performance. (2002, November 17). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
14. Tuminah Sapawi. (1996, November 4). Fandi fields old friend for TV work. The Straits Times, p. 7; Tuminah Sapawi. (1996, September 17). New TV12 policy allows more variety on Malay TV. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Haryani Ismail. (1998, June 20). 10 'muka baru' dalam MP [10 ‘new faces’ in MP]. Berita Harian, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (1999, May 23). 'Pegangan aktivis teater muda keliru' [Young theatre activists confused]. Berita Harian, p. 13; Rosebi Mohd Sah. (1998, October 10). Pengalaman pelajar Melayu di luar negeri mungkin di TV [Malay students’ overseas studying experience may be aired on TV]. Berita Harian, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Lima jawatankuasa kecil ditubuh untuk gerakkan jentera pembangunan [5 sub-committees set up to move construction]. (1999, December 4). Berita Harian, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG;
18. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (2000, November 19). Kreativiti Diiktiraf [Creativity recognised]. Berita Harian, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; President of drama group behind Talaq play arrested. (2000, October 29). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
19. Dewani Abbas. (1993, July 9). Sabri ingin jadi mangkin seni drama [Sabri wants to be a catalyst for the performing arts]. Berita Harian, p. 5; Sabri Buang. (1990, June 21). Stage talk. The Straits Times, p. 10; Raja fund to give fewer awards. (1993, August 3). The Straits Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Tiong, J. (2005, January 23). A helping hand for those in need. Malay Mail. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Hanim Mohd Saleh. (2005, April 2). Sabri gembira diundang pulang arah konsert Ribut Damai [Sabri is happy to be invited back to direct Ribut Damai concert]. Berita Harian, p. 30; Hanim Mohd Saleh. (2004, October 13). Konsert Nur: Hiburan rohani membanggakan [Concert Nur: Proud of spiritual entertainment]. Berita Harian, p. 13; Hanim Mohd Saleh. (2004, October 24). Anak-anak seni kita pikul peranan penting di KL [Our artists play an important role in KL]. Berita Harian, p. 21. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (2005, April 2). Sabri gembira diundang pulang arah konsert Ribut Damai [Sabri is happy to be invited back to direct Ribut Damai concert]. Berita Harian, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (2004, October 13). Konsert Nur: Hiburan rohani membanggakan [Concert Nur: Proud of spiritual entertainment]. Berita Harian, p. 13; Hanim Mohd Saleh. (2005, April 2). Sabri gembira diundang pulang ke arah konsert Ribut Damai [Sabri is happy to be invited back to direct Ribut Damai concert]. Berita Harian, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Hanim Mohd  Saleh. (1999, 23 May). Laluan: Gabungan Nadiputra & Sabri Buang [Passage: A collaboration between Nadiputra & Sabri]. Berita Harian, p. 13; Tuminah Sapawi. (1988, August 2). The humorous, jovial, but serious Nadi. The Straits Times, p. 5; Z. N. Soharman. (1986, October 7). Special presentation for first anniversary. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Nor E. Badron. (1990, July 18). Abyss of chaos.  The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Dewani Abbas. (1993, July 9). Sabri ingin jadi mangkin seni drama [Sabri wants to be a catalyst for the performing arts]. Berita Harian, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
26. Yaakub Rashid. (1991, August 8). Red hot brew. The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
27. Yaakub Rashid. (1992, May 21). Another dog has its day. The Straits Times, p. 10; Yaakub Rashid. (1992, June 18). Gone to the dogs. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
28. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (1999, May 23). Laluan: Gabungan Nadiputra & Sabri Buang. [Passage: A collaboration between Nadiputra & Sabri]. Berita Harian, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Helmi Yusof. (1999, June 10). Theatre – Oh brother, why must he fall and drown? The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg 
29. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (2001, August 25). Tekad cari ilmu lebih membara [Burning desire for knowledge.] Berita Harian, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30. Yaakub Rashid. (1990, January 2).  Poly’s winning debut. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
31. Yusmawati Yahya. (2001, November 11). 'Anugerah Buat Syamsiah' menang. [‘Award for Syamsiah’ wins]. Berita Harian, p. 1; Dewasi Abbas. (2001, November 18). Sinopsis [Synopsis]. Berita Harian, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
32. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (2001, December 15). Maktab Seni LaSalle-SIA menang tiga anugerah teater [LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts wins three theatre awards]. Berita Harian, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
33. Dewani Abbas. (2003, November 2). Anugerah Persuratan 2003: Hadirin ‘sebak’ dengar sajak Mohd Latiff [Literary Awards 2003: Attendees ‘tear up’ listening to Mohd Latiff’s poems.] Berita Harian, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
34. Tuminah Sapawi. (1996, November 4). Fandi fields old friend for TV work. The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
35. Dewani Abbas. (1998, September 13). Aktif bersukan cemerlang dalam pelajaran. [Active in sports, excels in studies]. Berita Harian, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resources
Teo, P. L. (2000, October 20). Plot thickens over Talaq. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Tuminah Sapawi. (1992, October 14).  Different but united. The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Tuminah Sapawi. (1999, May 22).  Brother, I want to run away from home. The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Yaakub Rashid. (1990, June 13). The young ones. The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Yohanna Abdullah. (1992, November 22). Looking for a woman of substance. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is as valid as at 2007 and correct as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Personalities>>Biographies>>Artists
Television producers and directors--Singapore--Biography
Theatrical producers and directors--Singapore--Biography
Language and literature>>Literatures>>Austronesian and Oceanian literatures>>Malay literature
Drama
Dramatists, Malay--Singapore--Biography
Sabri Buang, 1964-
Artists
Arts>>Literature>>Malay Literature>>Drama