Photos by Tuckys Photography ENGLISH | PLAIN ENGLISH

Never the Bride

The Necessary Stage (Singapore)

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Three men wear bridal veils and walk to the altar. They talk about how they have learnt more about who they are.

These gay Singaporean men think about the past, while trying to overcome their current struggles. Today, queer people cannot get married in Singapore. So, they imagine a future where they can get married, and have their dream weddings.

There is a saying: "Always the bridesmaid, never the bride." Must they accept that they will never marry? Or can they find their own way to do so, even if it is hard?

Three artists created this work. They will also perform it. They are: Ryan Ang, Fadhil Daud and Rajkumar Thiagaras. This work was first shown at a programme called Devising with Actors and Playwrights. It was part of The Necessary Stage's Devising Platform in 2021.

Open captions in English for all shows.
Post-show dialogue on 5 January 2023, with speech to text interpretation available upon request. Please email your request to before 22 December 2022.

Artist Statement

The work deals with two issues:

  1. Figuring out what marriage means for queer people
  2. How gay men in Singapore cannot get legally married.

It is unfair that queer partners cannot get married. This makes it extra hard for them to own a home, or adopt. It can also be hard to get big items like money or a home from loved ones who have passed on.

Singapore is seen as a first world country. But, for a long time, being gay was a crime. Also, very few laws talk about queer issues. This makes Singapore slow to admit that we don’t treat queer people fairly. It is tough for the local queer community to progress.

Section 377A, the law which makes gay sex illegal, will be removed. Even so, it is still illegal for queer people to get married. Not being able to choose to get married means you don’t get treated fairly. This impacts the dreams of the local queer community. The people who talk about queer issues often aren’t queer themselves. These talks often don’t show a full understanding of queer people. That’s why this work focuses on personal stories from queer people. This makes the topic more relatable. It also aims to give hope that the future can change, even for those who aren’t fully accepted right now.

Three queer Singaporean men cast a little gay spell, don their bridal veils, and embark on a whirlwind journey towards matrimony. They dream through the past, the present and an imagined future to discover what a big, fat, fabulously gay wedding would look like for them!

In a country where the legal right to marriage is denied to the queer community, these individuals navigate the political, social, cultural, and personal reality of their lives, along with saying “yes” to whimsical wedding fantasies. “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.” Is that the ultimate ultimatum, or is there a possible way to find marital bliss amidst the chaos?

Devised and performed by Ryan Ang, Fadhil Daud and Rajkumar Thiagaras, Never the Bride was first created and presented at the Devising with Actors and Playwrights programme as part of The Necessary Stage’s Devising Platform in 2021.

Post-show dialogue on 5 January 2023.

Artist Statement

The work deals with the concept of queering marriage and suppression of legal marital choice for the queer community, in relation to gay men specifically.

The denial of the right to marriage is an obstacle for queer partners wishing to access legal and civil rights such as housing, inheritance, and adoption. Singapore as a first world country, with its history of criminalising homosexuality and lack of political attention towards queer issues, is far behind in acknowledging the lack of these rights, thereby impeding on the true progress of the local queer community. The lack of choice in marriage is an infringement of rights, which impacts upon the dreams of the local queer community.

The current debate on queer rights is reliant on the macro views of the larger society, which are largely cold, distant, and devoid of empathy. This work takes a micro view by focusing on personal narratives of the actors and lived experiences of queer people who are directly impacted, thereby providing much needed heart, relatability, and awareness to the subject. It also serves as a response to the current local queer theatre canon and provide hope of a changing future to those on the fringes of society.

Download artist biographies

Date & Duration
4 to 7 January 2023, 8pm
7 to 8 January 2023, 3pm
60 min with no intermission

Esplanade Annexe Studio

$32 | $24* *Concession for students, NSF, senior citizens and PWD cardholders

In English, with some Mandarin, Malay and Tamil

Accessibility Features
Open captions in English

Restricted 18 and above

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