Dream Academy Productions



Dream Academy Productions (DAP) is a theatre production company established by local actress and comedian Selena Tan in 2000.1 The company is well known for its comedic productions featuring music and satire, such as the popular Dim Sum Dollies and Broadway Beng.2 Besides theatre productions, DAP also provides hosting services for corporate events.3

Background
Tan graduated from the National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Law in 1994 and worked as a litigation lawyer for several years. In 1997, she quit the legal profession to pursue a career in theatre. In 1999, she debuted as a stand-up comic in Selena Exposed, a one-woman revue that performed for three nights to sell-out audiences. After doing some research and consulting ex-colleagues, she founded DAP in February 2000 using S$13,000 of her own savings. Since then, she has acted, directed, produced as well as run the marketing, funding and ticketing aspects of the business.4


In June 2006, Tan set up two Dream Academy subsidiary groups: Dream Academy Playhouse, which produces smaller-scale productions, and Dream TV, which develops television projects.5 DAP remained the main company producing blockbuster shows.6

Unlike most non-profit theatre companies in Singapore, DAP is a private limited company that pays taxes on its profits and does not receive government funding. Tan has stated that her aim upon establishing the company was for it to be economically viable as a business.7 The company made its first profit after four years.8

Productions
In line with its aim of encouraging Singaporeans to laugh at themselves, DAP has produced popular stand-up comedies focusing on Singapore society and culture. These include PS21+ Positive Signs, a musical comedy that spoofs public servants; It Takes Two; Wanton Me; and The Hossan Leong Show.9 Kumar, The Queen and its sequel Kumar: Stripped Bare and Standing Up, featuring local cross-dressing comedian Kumar and focusing on sexual themes, were rated R18 by the Media Development Authority. However, they were well received by local audiences.10


Broadway Beng, a multilingual stand-up comedy featuring an English, Mandarin and Hokkien-speaking character played by actor Sebastian Tan, has had a long run due to its success in spoofing local social and political events and issues. Broadway Beng was so successful that Tan is reportedly writing a semi-autobiographical screenplay based on the stage production. The film will be produced by DAP.11

DAP’s most successful and best-known productions to date feature the Dim Sum Dollies, a flamboyant trio comprising Tan and actresses Pamela Oei and the late Emma Yong.12 With the titular characters debuting in 2002,13 the Dim Sum Dollies productions revolve around light-hearted and satirical song-and-dance numbers about life in Singapore. The series has received an overwhelming response.14 Dim Sum Dollies: The History of Singapore, for instance, sold 25,000 tickets over a 10-day run at the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay in July 2007.15 Due to the Dollies’ popularity, local department store Tangs selected the trio to endorse its Great Singapore Sale advertising campaign in 2004.16 In 2010, the trio again entered the national spotlight when it became the face of the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit courtesy campaign featuring the tagline “Love Your Ride”.17

Selected productions18
2000:
PS21+ Positive Signs; Medicares (MCs Sold Separately)

2003: The Dim Sum Dollies in Steaming!
2004: Wanton Me!; The Revenge of the Dim Sum Dollies19
2005: It Takes Two; Dim Sum Dollies: Singapore’s Most Wanted20
2006: Broadway Beng!; Dim Sum Dollies: The Little Shop of Horrors21
2007: Multiple Personalities Disorder!; Broadway Beng Returns; Dim Sum Dollies: The History of Singapore; Kumar, The Queen;22 A Crazy Christmas!
2008: Selena Tan: One Singular Sensation; Broadway Beng 3: You Can’t Keep A Good Beng Down!;23 Seriously Hossan: The Pianofunny Man; Happy Robin: Singing and Swinging; Another Crazy Christmas
2009: Kumar: Stripped Bare and Standing Up; Sing Dollar! The Musical Comedy about Money; The Hossan Leong Show!; Broadway Beng: Jiak Liu Lian!24

2010: The Hossan Leong Show! (Episode 2); Crazy Christmas 2010
2011: Kumar’s Amazing Race; The Hossan Leong Show 2011 (Episode 3); Into the Woods; Crazy Christmas 2011
2012: Happy Ever Laughter; The Hossan Leong Show 2012 – Flying SOLO!; Company; Crazy Christmas 2012
2013: Kumar: What Makes a Man a Man; Broadway Beng! Benging you back to Basics; Crazy Christmas Ting Tong Belles
2014: The Henderson Project; Happy Ever Laughter – Standup Comedy Madness; Dim Sum Dollies – The History of Singapore Part 2
2015: Kumar Stands up for Singapore; Dim Sum Dollies – The History of Singapore Part 1; Crazy Christmas – A Groundnutcracker
2016: Meenah and Cheenah; Broadway Beng: 10th Anniversary Concert; Happy Ever Laugher – Standup Comedy Madness; Dream Date 2016

Awards
In March 2010, DAP received the Best Ensemble award at the 10th Life! Theatre Awards for the cast of Emma Yong, Hossan Leong, Kumar, Lim Kay Siu, Najip Ali, Pamela Oei, Sebastian Tan and Selena Tan in the performance Sing Dollar! The Musical Comedy about Money. Although the company had been nominated in 2007 in the Best Supporting Actor category for The Little Shop of Horrors, this was the first time it was recognised at the Life! Theatre Awards.25



Author
Joyce Y. Lim




References
1. Cheong, S. (2006, July 31). Selena exposed. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Hong, X. Y. (2007, July 5). History girls. The Straits Times, p. 52; Chia, A. (2010, March 31). Sweet dreams made of these. The Straits Times, p. 4; Chia, A. (2009, November 19). Beng it on. The Straits Times, p. 61. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Dream Academy. (2016). Hire us. Retrieved 2016, December 13 from Dream Academy website: http://www.dreamacademy.com.sg/hire-us/artists/
4. Cheong, S. (2006, July 31). Selena exposed. The Straits Times, p. 4; She watches the bottom line. (2005, April 5). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Dream Academy (2016). Selena Tan bio. Retrieved 2016, December 13 from Dream Academy website: http://www.dreamacademy.com.sg/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Selena-Tan-Bio.pdf
5. Cheong, S. (2006, July 31). Selena exposed. The Straits Times, p. 4; Hong, X. Y. (2006, August 31). A Dolly’s big dream. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Hong, X. Y. (2006, August 31). A Dolly’s big dream. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Hong, X. Y. (2006, August 31). A Dolly’s big dream. The Straits Times, p. 8; Nanda, A. (2010, March 4). Anatomy of a stage flop. The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. She watches the bottom line. (2005, April 5). The Straits Times, p. 3; Hong, X. Y. (2007, July 5). History girls. The Straits Times, p. 52. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Dream Academy. (2016). Shows. Retrieved 2016, December 13 from Dream Academy website: http://www.dreamacademy.com.sg/shows/
10. Narayanan, S. (2007, September 22). Kumar, The Queen, just got bigger. The New Paper, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Dream Academy. (2016). Shows. Retrieved 2016, December 13 from Dream Academy website: http://www.dreamacademy.com.sg/shows/
11. Chia, A. (2009, November 19). Beng it on. The Straits Times, p. 61; Toh, C. (2008, May 9). And the Beng played on. Today, p. 66. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Black hole of D&D is no joke. (2004, September 27). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Cabaret girls are back and steaming. (2003, July 15). Today, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Chandran, K. (2005, September 17). Seriously funny. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Hong, X. Y. (2007, July 5). History girls. The Straits Times, p. 52; Chia, A. (2008, February 7). History repeats itself on stage. The Straits Times, p. 45. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Oon, C. (2004, May 25). Dim sum on wheels. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Land Transport Authority. (2010). Love your ride! Retrieved 2016, December 13 from Land Transport Authority website: https://www.lta.gov.sg/apps/news/page.aspx?c=2&id=azpg3o58mt4vixzo1z345a2bj102yxp9mp5zu9m3o0ao078qmx
18. Dream Academy. (2016). Shows. Retrieved 2016, December 13 from Dream Academy website: http://www.dreamacademy.com.sg/shows/
19. Black hole of D&D is no joke. (2004, September 27). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. She watches the bottom line. (2005, April 5). The Straits Times, p. 3; Chandran, K. (2005, September 17). Seriously funny. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Chia, A. (2009, November 19). Beng it on. The Straits Times, p. 61; Cheong, S. (2006, July 31). Selena exposed. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Hong, X. Y. (2007, July 5). History girls. The Straits Times, p. 52; Chia, A. (2008, February 7). History repeats itself on stage. The Straits Times, p. 45; Narayanan, S. (2007, September 22). Kumar, The Queen, just got bigger. The New Paper, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Toh, C. (2008, May 9). And the Beng played on. Today, p. 66. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Chia, A. (2009, November 19). Beng it on. The Straits Times, p. 61. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Chia, A. (2010, March 31). Sweet dreams made of these. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resources
Chan, S. F. (1998, November 20). Now Selena seeks judgment in comedy. The New Paper, p. 52. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.


Chen, S. (2000, July-August). Theatre of the heart. Esplanade: The arts magazine, 30–32.

(Call no.: RSING 791.095957 E)

Chow, C. (2005, July 29). Dim Sum Dollies is on, provided… The Straits Times, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Dream Academy Productions. (2000). Dream Academy Productions. Singapore: Author.

(Call no.: RCLOS EPHE O999 v.1)

Hong, X. Y. (2004, August 9). Sweet revenge. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Hong, X. Y. (2005, August 12). Most wanted: Fresh serving of Dim Sum. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Oon, C. (1998, December 4). I’d really, really wannabe like Scary Spice. The Straits Times, p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Oon, C. (2004, July 24). Welcome to Dollywood. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far 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
Theater--Production and direction--Singapore
Theatrical companies--Singapore
Arts>>Theatre>>Theatre direction and production
Theatre
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Organisations>>Associations>>Arts Groups
Arts>>Performing Arts>>Theatre
Theatre companies