New World’s End:
Behind the Scenes
RESEARCHOperating from 1923 to 1987, New World was a
unique amusement park for the everyday Singaporean, filled with cabarets, open-air cinemas, Malay and Chinese opera, gambling, and more.
We looked through academic journals and library archives, diving into newspapers and photos. We also conducted first hand interviews with folks about their memories of the New World Amusement Park -- we wanted to make sure to balance the “official” sources with people’s experiences on the ground.
Find out more about the history of the places that inspired the experience through our journal.
My approach was to create something more archeological, almost as if we were uncovering finds rather than literally reconstructing the past... to imagine that we were travelers from the future discovering a ghostly figment of the past.
The act of looking is also something I wanted the audience to be attuned to. Kiran’s room was very tactile, it had props that people could touch and feel. On the other hand, we wanted Rosa’s room to be more distant and unknowable.
We wanted audiences to wonder: was this really her room? Or what Kiran imagined her room to be?
- Alan Oei, Set Designer
Being based in Melbourne was very challenging. I was ‘walking’ the site through Google Maps! My starting point for developing the script was actually not the amusement park but the collapse of the New World Hotel.
I was aware that the New World Amusement Park was near the site of the disaster and I was trying to find a connection between the two through the idea of a ‘new world’. And with the idea of the new world are dreams, love, ambition and that’s where the lovers came in.
- Kaylene Tan, Writer/Director
I studied Western opera, so I always tell other people’s stories –– stories that have been told and retold for hundreds of years. But I wanted to be part of something Singaporean.
I identify a lot with Rosa. She’s a dreamer and a romantic, so in love with this world she can’t see the cracks. When I was creating her voice, I tried to have this carefree exterior with a deep sadness inside.
- Moira Loh, Actress/Assistant Producer