Explore an interactive musical theatre game
Lose yourself in HOUSE IS OPEN: a free online treasure hunt that draws on Singapore’s musical theatre history and is peppered with interesting trivia from iconic Singapore musicals such as Dim Sum Dollies, Monkey Goes West and December Rains.
The interactive online game has been developed by local musical theatre collective Fill the Vamp and runs until 31 Aug. Players will go on a backstage journey to find quirky props from beloved Singapore musicals. Each discovery reveals exciting trivia, insider interviews with show creatives, and videos of Fill the Vamp singing specially rearranged musical covers.
Read on as the game creators Kimberly Chan, Natalie Yeap and Vanessa Kee share the inspiration behind the experience, and explain how the game gives both theatre and non-theatre goers a glimpse into Singapore’s musical theatre history.
What was the idea behind HOUSE IS OPEN and how did it come about?
Chan: We’ve always wanted to explore Singapore’s rich local musical theatre history, and HOUSE IS OPEN is the product of our plans aligning with the needs of the present. Musical theatre archiving and education was also something we hoped to get into down the line, so it was fortunate that we could combine that with the pandemic-driven pivot into the digital medium.
Kee: One of our priorities was to come up with an innovative way to engage audiences digitally. Many theatre shows pivoted to live-streaming during the pandemic, which made online theatre feel quite saturated. On top of that, we wanted to create a product that was both educational and entertaining, so we pushed ourselves to think out of the box.
Where did you get the inspiration for this art experience?
Yeap: We wanted to pay homage to the people and shows who have helped create and shape Singapore’s thriving musical theatre industry. We were also inspired by the idea of cabarets and covering songs from different shows, and we thought that breathing new life into some lesser-known musical theatre songs would be a great way to introduce them to new audiences.
Chan: I’ve always been very passionate about local musical theatre and thought it was a shame how tricky it can be trying to get any material from older shows. However, we were very lucky to have the support of local practitioners who opened the doors to their personal local musical theatre collections for us to do our research.
What was the experience of creating HOUSE IS OPEN like?
Kee: It was pretty crazy dreaming up something so large and seeing it come to life. A few moments truly felt like a dream come true for us, and it was surreal working alongside giants in the industry. We’re so happy to have had a close-up view of their musical genius.
Chan: As stressful as it was putting this game together, HOUSE IS OPEN has opened doors for us to delve into the world of technology. It has been exciting to go beyond the traditional forms of live theatre and dream up other possibilities of how we might be able to merge both.
How does this playful online game foster awareness of our musical theatre heritage?
Yeap: Theatre is typically experienced live, which is an inherent limitation of its reach. When a show ends, there isn’t often a chance to relive it unless there are recordings or reruns, but those are also quite rare. In conceiving HOUSE IS OPEN, we created an online space for the shows featured to be experienced and relived in a different medium, and we hope that helps players feel closer to our musical theatre heritage.
Kee: Theatre is such a visceral experience, and we were driven to create something that could replicate the same feeling of excitement and immersion for audiences. There is so much to appreciate in our local productions that we wanted to share. A game like this will hopefully keep our audience engaged and entertained. So whether you are a theatre nerd or just a hidden object games enthusiast, there’s something for you to enjoy and learn along the way!
Replies were edited and condensed for clarity.
Experience HOUSE IS OPEN here.