“Emily of Emerald Hill”: Singaporean Identity on Stage

Peranakan Museum, 39 Armenian Street
01 Jun 2012 - 07 Apr 2013

Emily of Emerald Hill is a one-woman play that tells the tale of Emily Gan, from a young bride to a typically strong matriarch in the Peranakan enclave of Emerald Hill, in Singapore. The work has captured the imagination of theatregoers around the world, and given expression to Peranakan and Singaporean identity. It was written in 1982 by local playwright Stella Kon, drawing from her own Peranakan upbringing and family experiences. This exhibition will examine the creation and impact of this key work as well as its relevance in contemporary Singaporean culture.

The exhibition will begin with the genesis of Emily by looking at the personal and professional history of the playwright. The highlight of this section will be an installation of a stage-like gallery by Stella Kon, incorporating family objects and other works drawn from the collection of the Peranakan Museum. Emily of Emerald Hill has been performed by various actresses and actors and the exhibition will showcase these different interpretations through displays of original costumes, props, scripts, programmes, posters, photographs, and videos. The exhibition will also place this landmark play within the context of English and Peranakan theatre, or "Wayang Peranakan", in Singapore.