Stand Up! A Storytelling Workshop

This year, Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival is themed “You, Me + The Arts” to focus on including and empowering different communities of people. Leading up to the festival’s Finale Weekend, we launched Stand Up! a satellite programme that focuses on issues of oppression faced by many students today.

Stand Up! is centred around potential oppressive scenarios in students’ lives, such as racism and bullying. During the programme, students are encouraged to analyse and discuss these issues, before being empowered to place their stories on the stage themselves.

Before Stand Up! was launched in schools, 15 programme facilitators from The Actors Studio Academy (TAS) @ klpac underwent a 12-session training programme based on the teachings of Augusto Boal, a Brazillian theatre practitioner, theorist, activist, and founder of Theatre of the Oppressed.

Once they completed the training, the facilitators performed in six national schools to groups of students aged 13 to 16. An average of 250 students attended this programme.

“To see the students light up as they step into their roles as actors, writers, and directors; to hear [their] experiences of being bullied and [contributing them] to the performance, to see the pride on their faces when they’re applauded… That’s when you know you’re getting it right.”

Rosheen Fatima, Producer and Lead Master of Stand Up!

At the beginning of Stand Up!, students watched short skits performed by the facilitators. Students were then asked to think about the performances, and to voice out their thoughts and opinions via large-group discussions.

These conversations were soon stitched together when students were organised into smaller groups and paired with facilitators, to reconstruct and re-enact these stories with the intention of tackling the issues they most resonated with. From this, students were empowered to share their narratives and propose solutions to their peers.

 “I enjoyed it because it taught me to stand up for a victim instead of [just] witnessing. And I learnt that in every situation, [I should] ask myself what role am I [playing]. Love it!”

Student, Stand Up! Programme at SMK Taman Sea

The Actors Studio Academy @ klpac regularly runs outreach and customised programmes such as Stand Up! for schools and underprivileged communities. If you are interested to engage the Academy, please send an email to


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