About Liu Xiaoyi

Liu Xiaoyi is the Artistic Director of Emergency Stairs.

A committed practitioner with a desire to push artistic boundaries, he is regarded as a promising figure at the forefront of the experimental theatre scene in Asia. Xiaoyi received the Young Artist Award awarded by the National Arts Council in 2016. 

Experimental Arts

A multi-faceted and multi-talented artist, Xiaoyi was involved in over 70 theatre productions as director, playwright, and actor over the past two decades. On stage, he is considered one of the most acclaimed male actors from the Singapore theatre scene; as a playwright, he has penned more than 40 plays and is one of the nation’s most prolific playwrights. 

As a director, the cornerstones of Xiaoyi’s oft lauded but controversial work are unsurprisingly experimentation, introspection, and poetry. Between 2017 and 2019, he created three new works under his Postdramatic Series in Esplanade that challenged the often-sacred theatre traditions here by introducing a new exploratory theatre format to the discomfort of his audiences. Xiaoyi’s works often polarize, drawing both praise and debate. An example of his much-discussed works, Journey to Nowhere was a creative response to the then-newly unveiled government’s cultural policy paper – Our SG Arts Plan 2018-2022.

Starting with Einstein in the Carpark in 2018, Xiaoyi began to explore the relationship between art and science, expanding theatre space to other fields. In 2019, he started a new project, No More Theatre, to develop collaboration between digital technology and arts, including AI, AR, VR and More. He devotes himself to seeking the development and breakthrough of theatre forms.

Cultural Exchanges

A strong proponent of artistic exchanges across artforms, Xiaoyi has been actively promoting dialogues and creation across cultural and geographical lines for many years, particularly the exchange between tradition and contemporary art forms. 

As the Artistic Director, Xiaoyi has curated the Southernmost Project, an annual, first-of-its-kind “arts festival for the future” in Singapore since 2017. The inter-cultural festival has regularly brought prominent artists across the region to Singapore for exchange with our artistic community. This inadvertently supports a new network of artists interested to work collaboratively across diverse artforms in Asia. 

Xiaoyi is also often invited to prominent cultural exchanges as a speaker and as an artist to collaborate with other established artists from Asia and Europe. To date, his body of works has been staged in many major cities. He has worked with arts companies and tertiary institutions in Singapore, Nanjing, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Yokohama, Yogyakarta, Bali, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, London, Zurich, Brussels and more.

Talents Incubation

An educator at heart, Xiaoyi keeps a keen eye on the development of art critique in Singapore and the Asia Pacific region. Over the years, he has started and helmed several talent development platforms in Singapore- the Practice Lab (The Theatre Practice), Emergency Shelter and most recently, the Emergency Academy (Emergency Stairs). The Academy is designed as an incubation programme for promising young Asian cultural leaders and has attracted 18 artists from ten Asian cities in its two-year programme.

In a response to the dearth of critical writing in Singapore, he founded the first Chinese theatre review platform, the Re-Viewers 众观 (http://www.re-viewers.org/) and has served as both its Editor and a mentor since its inception. 

Xiaoyi is highly regarded as a mentor and has served on several international artist training/ development programmes, that include The Wharf Workshop (Yokohama), Zurich University of the Arts (Zurich), Silence | Satire by Sàn Art (Ho Chi Minh City), National Taiwan College of Performing Arts (Taipei) and HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity (Hong Kong). 

Major Awards:

2020

Life! Theatre Award Best Original Script – Four Four Eight (Nominated) The Straits Times,2020

Life! Theatre Award Best Production – Four Four Eight (Nominated) The Straits Times,2020

2010-2019

Singapore Golden Point Awards – Poetry (3rd Prize) National Arts Council of Singapore,2017

Young Artist Awards National Arts Council of Singapore, 2016

Life! Theatre Award Best Original Script – FLUID (Winner) The Straits Times, 2015

Life! Theatre Award Best Original Script – Citizen Pig (Nominated) The Straits Times, 2014 Life! Theatre Award Best Director – Citizen Pig (Nominated) The Straits Times, 2014

Life! Theatre Award Best Director – 11.Kuo Pao Kun Devised (Nominated) The Straits Times, 2013

Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal Nanyang Technological University, 2010

2000-2009

Singapore Tertiary Chinese Literature Awards – Poetry (3rd Prize) NTU & NUS, 2009

Singapore Tertiary Chinese Literature Awards – Essay (3rd Prize) NTU & NUS, 2008

Singapore Tertiary Chinese Literature Awards – Poetry (1st prize) NTU & NUS, 2008

Singapore Tertiary Chinese Literature Awards – Novel (3rd Prize) NTU & NUS, 2008

Singapore Nationals Speech Competition (1st Prize) International Toastmaster Club, 2005

Singapore Nationals Impromptu Speech Competition (1st Prize) International Toastmaster Club, 2005

Singapore Tertiary Chinese Literature Awards – Critique (1st Prize) NTU & NUS, 2004

Singapore Tertiary Chinese Literature Awards – Poetry (Excellent Prize) NTU & NUS, 2004

Singapore Tertiary Chinese Literature Awards – Novel (Excellent Prize) NTU & NUS, 2004

Singapore Tertiary Chinese Literature Awards – Essay (3rd Prize) NTU & NUS, 2004

Singapore Nationals Speech Competition (1st Prize) International Toastmaster Club, 2004

Singapore Nationals Impromptu Speech Competition (1st Prize) International Toastmaster Club, 2004

Singapore Tertiary Chinese Literature Awards – Poetry (3rd Prize) NTU & NUS, 2003

Singapore Tertiary Chinese Literature Awards – Novel (1st Prize) NTU & NUS, 2003

Singapore National Evaluation Speech Competition (3rd Prize) International Toastmaster Club, 2003

Singapore Nationals Impromptu Speech Competition (1st Prize) International Toastmaster Club, 2002

Global Chinese Book Review Writing Competition (1st prize) The Commercial Press, 2002

Global Chinese Book Review Writing Competition (1st prize) The Commercial Press,2000

Before 2000

Singapore MOE JM3 scholarship Ministry of Education of Singapore, 1998

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