Glory Ngim On Training on Broadway
Singaporean actress talks about training at Circle In The Square in New York
BM: So you recently got back from NYC, what were you doing there?
GN: Painting the town multi colours. Kidding. I was attending a summer program and spent two months training on Broadway.
BM: Lucky you! Could you talk about the summer program and the decision to participate?
GN: I’d been looking for an acting focused school that allowed me the opportunities to dig deeper into acting, as well as work on singing and dance technique. I auditioned for and was accepted into the summer Musical Theatre program at Circle In The Square, which is the only accredited training conservatory associated with a Broadway theatre.
BM: Tell us about the experience. Were there lessons that have stuck with you since?
GN: It was pretty amazing. I got well acquainted with NYC! The program itself was highly intensive and kept me on my toes. I got to sample a good range of training techniques in acting, voice, speech, singing and dance styles, and attended seminars and masterclasses with Broadway and NYC professionals. On top of that, I was right smack on Broadway and the Times Square district, so walking distance to all the big shows.
- Pack light but not too light. My leggings and scarves, thrown in only as an after-thought, saved me from freezing inside the theatre without a jacket!
- Tap Dance is the hardest dance to pick up. Ever.
- A fast and stable Wifi connection falls under basic needs for survival.
BM: You’re right. Connectivity is crucial in an era where almost everything is digitalised!
GN: Absolutely! Though I also really appreciate how scripts and scores tend to still be largely available in hard copy.
BM: What were your challenges during in the highly intensive program?
GN: I had to read a ton of scripts/ books very quickly, and I’m not a fast reader. So I just had to spend more time reading through everything la. Tap dance, which I’ve never done before but which was included in the program, was tough picking up. My ankles refused to obey my brain half the time! Thankfully, about half the class was at my tap dance level, so misery had company, but also the patience to slowly figure out the steps together.
BM: What else have you been working on this year?
GN: I played Adela in W!LD Rice’s ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’ and Ena in Wee Li Lin’s short film, ‘That Loving Feeling’ for the 2014 Singapore Writers’ Festival. I also hosted the 2014 TYR Southeast Asian Swimming Championships (Diving), Panasonic Cooking Seasons 1 & 2 and Gleneagles/ BNP Paribas WTA Finals ad videos.
Photo: That Loving Feeling
BM: You worked with the casts in ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’. You also played the lead role in ‘That Loving Feeling’ short film. What was that like for you?
GN: It was an honor working on The House of Bernarda Alba. I am indebted to Margaret and Jo who took me under their wings and taught me much about life and acting. They are two actresses who I have great admiration and respect for. It’s always a pleasure working with Li Lin. We’d done a commercial 2 years ago and I was looking forward to working with her again. Through the film, I also got to meet my fantastic co-star Kamil, who’s been a source of inspiration and motivation.
Photo: That Loving Feeling
BM: Were there challenges that you faced during production? How different is it acting on-screen as compared to on-stage?
GN: Acting for screen requires more stillness and subtlety, and interestingly enough, that can use up more energy! Also, you get multiple takes in screen work, whereas if you flub a line in front of an audience during a live show, you can’t go back and redo it; you just carry on with the scene.
BM: How do you keep your balance in doing theatre and on-screen work?
GN: I have always aspired to do a mix of screen and stage work. It keeps things exciting and my brain is kept alive with each new challenge of finding truthful performance that is scaled to the right size (depending on whether it’s a stage or screen project). At the end of the day, it’s the truthfulness that’s the most important.
BM: Are you planning on further training in the future?
GN: Yes further training is always important, but for now, I’d like to spend some time applying some of the things I learnt this summer.