Lut Ali



Lut Ali (b. 1 June 1957– ) is a well-known actor, television producer, playwright and director of Malay theatre and drama in Singapore.1 A graduate of Edith Cowan University in Australia, Lut was conferred the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award in 1993 for his contributions to theatre.2 In 1998, he was voted Prime 12 (now known as Suria) channel's Best Actor for his role in Selatan Semananjung.3 Lut was a highly visible figure in the Malay theatre scene in the 1980s. In 1988, he founded Teater Ekamatra. The Malay theatre group has since developed to become one of the most successful Malay theatre companies in Singapore.4

Early life
Lut Ali left his job as a clerk to devote his time and energy to theatre.5 His initial ambition was to be a footballer, but found his calling in theatre instead. He saw theatre as missionary work, a chance to educate the community about the stage.Lut used to participate in theatre on a part-time basis, but each time that he was involved, he had to resign from his day job to concentrate wholly on his artistic pursuits. Thus, he decided to give his full attention to theatre in 1992, and resigned as a clerk to become a full-time theatre director.7


Works and career
Lut's devotion to theatre was concentrated on Teater Ekamatra which he founded with his wife, Rubie Lazim, in 1988.8 He led a group of 11 members whose average age was just 26. Lut had envisioned for Ekamatra to be an independent Malay theatre group, free from the hassles of being a subsidiary of a bigger cultural group. The only other independent group at the time was Teater Nadi. Lut also wanted to promote experimental theatre, and expand the definition and boundaries of Malay theatre  by incorporating elements of traditional Southeast Asian art forms into contemporary theatre.9 His efforts bore fruit.


In 1995, Lut’s play Kakiku (My Legs) was selected by the National Arts Council (NAC) to represent Singapore at the ASEAN Theatre Festival in Brunei Darussalam. Adapted from Singapore’s history, the play tells of people in a village that has experienced colonisation and independence, and their  dilemma of whether to go to Malaysia or remain in Singapore upon separation.10

In 1995, Lut was one of the four Singaporeans involved in one of the three major drama productions staged at the annual Perth Festival. He played the role of the sinister waiter in The Floating World, a play about mental disintegration and prejudice.11

Lut left Singapore in July 1995 to pursue a liberal arts degree at Edith Cowan University in Australia.12 Upon completing his studies in 1997, Lut was appointed producer and head of the drama department at Communications 2000, a production company.13 It was a win-win situation for both parties. With Lut on board, the company was able to expand its core business of producing variety shows to include drama programmes.14 Lut, on the other hand, had wanted to take the opportunity to broaden his interest in television drama other than theatre. He later co-produced and directed Singapore's first Malay soap opera, Gelora, during his stint at the company.15 After directing one season of Gelora, Lut established a production company called L.A. Motion with his wife, and his business partner, Iskandar Johari.16 One of their first projects was a five-part drama series, Sayang Semuanya. The drama went to air on Prime 12 in June 1999.17 After some experience in broadcasting in Singapore, Lut left the arts scene here for life in Perth, Australia, with his family in 2001.18

Other pursuits
Lut also initiated a project through Teater Ekamatra to improve the documentation of Malay theatre. Play scripts, dating back to the 1960s, were collected, catalogued and re-bound in their original form, and kept in mint condition.19 He also tried his entrepreneurial hand in the culinary business when he set up a Malay food stall in a food centre at Clover Way, near Jalan Pemimpin.20

Selected awards
1979
: Best Actor, Sriwana Drama Festival.21

1981: Best Performer Award (Malay Category) for Bila Malam Bertambah, Drama Festival, Ministry of Culture.22
1993: Young Artist Award, National Arts Council.
1998:  Best Male Actor for Selatan Semananjung, Anugerah Pesta Perdana.
2001: Nomination in short story category for Anugerah Persuratan (Malay Literary Awards), Malay Language Council.
23

Selected plays directed
1986
Seniman Menara Gading (The Artiste of the Ivory Tower)24

1986: Bicara (The Trial).25
1988Arwah (The Man Who Was)26
1988: Juara (The Champion)27
1990: Bukan Bunuh Diri (Don’t Commit Suicide) – solo performer and director.
1990: Dalam Keasingan (In Isolation).28
1991, 1995: Kakiku (My Legs)

1991: Seekor Kerbau Hitam Dalam Sang Pengiran Tomtom (A Black Bull in Sang Pengiran Tomtom’s Dream)
1992: Bukan Di Syurga Yang Ini (Not in This Heaven).29
1992: Berakhirnya Sebuah Perjuangan (The End of A Battle).30
1993Perhiasan Kaca (The Glass Menagerie).31
1993: Singkap (Unveil).32
1994: Raja Lawak (King of Comedy).33

Family
Lut is married to Rubiee Lazim and they have two sons, Luq Karisma and Luq Karya.34




Authors

Marsita Omar & Kartini Saparudin




References
1. Biodata. (1997, October 5). Berita Harian, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Phan, M. Y. (1994, August 30). Young Artist Award winners. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Arts Council. (2016, February 24). About the Young Artist Award. Retrieved 2016, August 17 from National Arts Council https://www.nac.gov.sg/singaporeartsscene/youngArtistAward/overview.html; Lut sebarang laut cari ilmu. (1995, July 9). Berita Harian, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (1998, November 26). Terbaik akan terjunjung. Berita Harian, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Leiter, S. L. (2007). Encyclopedia of Asian Theatre (Vol. 2). Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, p. 759. (Call no.: RSING 792.095 ENC); Chia, A. (2009). New faces in Ekamatra. The Straits Times, p. 45. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Yaakub Rashid. (1992, May 7). Selling theatre full-timeThe Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Mardiana Abu Bakar. (1989, February 21). Not to be weighed down by words. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Yaakub Rashid. (1992, May 7). Selling theatre full-timeThe Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Phan, M. Y. (1994, August 30). Young Artist Award winners. The Straits Times, p. 2; Mardiana Abu Bakar. (1989, February 21). Not to be weighed down by words. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. [Note: Teater Ekamatra spells his wife’s name as Rubie; see Teater Ekamatra. (2016). About us. Retrieved 2016, August 17 from Teater Ekamatra website: http://www.ekamatra.org.sg/home/about/
9. Mardiana Abu Bakar. (1989, February 21). Not to be weighed down by words. The Straits Times, p. 6; Phan, M. Y. (1994, August 30). Young Artist Award winners. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Tuminah Sapawi. (1995, June 28). Malay play is this year’s Asean’s festival entry. The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Perera, A. (1995, March 9). Singaporeans make an impact on drama in Western Australia. The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Mardiana Abu Bakar. (1995, January 9). More Malay plays to be staged this year. The Straits Times, p. 10; Lut sebarang laut cari ilmu. (1995, July 9). Berita Harian, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Lut Ali ditugas hasilkan drama TV. (1997, October 22). Berita Harian, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Lut Ali ditugas hasilkan drama TV. (1997, October 22). Berita Harian, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Tuminah Sapawi. (1998, July 7). Love, betrayal and scandalThe Straits Times, p. 2; Lut Ali raih ijazah Seni Teater & TV (1999, June 8). Berita Harian, p. 6; Lut Ali ditugas hasilkan drama TV (1997, October 22). Berita Harian, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (1998, November 15). Lut ‘berGelora’. Berita Harian, p. 12; Hanim Mohd Saleh. (1999, May 3). L.A. Motion bukan hebat setakat. Berita Harian, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (1999, May 31). Drama ‘Sayang Semuanya’ papar hidup yatim piatu. Berita Harian, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Lut hijrah ke Australia. (2001, October 3). Berita Harian, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Ong, S. F. (2002, April 13). New collection of Malay playsThe Straits Times, p. 17.  Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Lut Ali merajuk… (2001, July 8). Berita Harian, p.13; Lut hijrah ke Australia. (2001, October 3). Berita Harian, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Young cast with a wealth of experience. (1986, 20 June). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Edi Sedyawati. (2001). The Theater of ASEAN. Jakarta: ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information, p. 138. (Call no.: RSING 792.0959 THE)
23. Hanim Mohd Saleh. (1998, November 26). Terbaik akan terjunjung. Berita Harian, p. 6; Senarai Pemenang. (1998, December 9). Berita Harian, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. 16 bodies join hands to present drama. (1986,  April 24). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Azman Siraj. (1986, October 27). Reenacting a Malay legend in a play. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
26. Mardiana Abu Bakar. (1988, June 20). Bringing life to play about the living dead. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
27. Mardiana Abu Bakar. (1988, April 14). Champion of society who fails as a father. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
28. Yaakub Rashid. (1990, September 10). Lut’s solo. The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
29. Yaakub Rashid. (1992, January 8). Lut’s odyssey. The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30. Norenshah Sahari. (1992, May 5). Local play with French flavor. The New Paper, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
31. Mardiana Abu Bakar. (1993, April 22). Who’s afraid of Tennesse Williams? The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
32. The play unveiled. (1993, November 2). The Straits Times¸ p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
33. Ang, E. E. (1994, June 25). Script didn't come, sold-out show nearly cancelled. The Straits Times, p. 21. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
34. Lut Ali raih ijazah Seni Teater & TV. (1999, June 8). Berita Harian, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resources
Abdul Rahman Napiah. (2003). Sastera Singapura dan Malaysia. Singapore: UTS Printing & Enterprise, pp. 253­-254.

(Call no.: Malay RSING 899.288 MAN)

Going back to basics [Microfilm no.: NL 25131]. (2001, June 4). New Straits Times.

Koh, N. (1986, June 20). One man’s quest. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Mohd. Lut Ali (19--?). Mendaki. (Unpublished; typescript).
(Call no.: RCLOS 899.282 MOH)

Yaakub Rashid. (1991, June 20). Poetic licence. The Straits Times, p. 11. 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
Lut Ali
Artists
Arts>>Literature>>Malay Literature>>Drama