Off Centre: A Necessary Resource

· The Necessary Stage

About this ebook

A Necessary Resource is the much-awaited guide to Off Centre, one of Singapore's most celebrated plays. This resource guide comprises material that will greatly benefit all educators and students of Off Centre. It features pedagogical notes, insights on the play, as well as a question and answer section with the playwright, Haresh Sharma.

Off Centre made history in 2007 by being the first Singapore play selected by the Ministry of Education to be offered as a GCE O- and N-Level literature text. The play, best remembered for presenting an honest and unflinching look at mental illness and the social prejudices surrounding it, is back on the syllabus since 2018.

Off Centre: A Necessary Resource features: 

Founder and Artistic Director of The Necessary Stage, Alvin Tan shares his insight on directing and staging Off Centre

Educator Laremy Lee provides a useful guide on approaching narrative, characters, themes, and theatrical and stylistic devices in the play

Journalist Akanksha Raja reflects on her experience studying Off Centre

Playwright Haresh Sharma responses to frequently asked questions about the play.

About the author

Haresh has been the Resident Playwright of The Necessary Stage since 1990. He was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 2015. To date, he has written more than 100 plays which have been staged in over 20 cities. His play, Off Centre, was selected by the Ministry of Education as a Literature text for GCE N- and O-Levels. 

Haresh has 13 publications of his plays, including TrilogyShorts 1Shorts 2 and Don't Forget to Remember Me. His works have been translated into Malay, Mandarin, Greek and Italian. He was awarded Best Original Script for Fundamentally HappyGood People and Gemuk Girls at the 2007, 2008 and 2009 The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards respectively. Haresh also had the honour of having a selection of his works featured at Esplanade’s first playwright-centred season at The Studios in 2017.

He has participated in several writers' festivals including the inaugural Singapore Literature Festival in New York (2014), New Delhi World Book Fair (2015), Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (2015) and Hong Kong Literary Festival (2015).

Haresh is the first non-American to be awarded the prestigious Goldberg Master Playwright by New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 2011.  In 2014, he was conferred the Southeast Asian Writers (or S.E.A. Write) Award (Singapore), which recognises and honours literary excellence in the ASEAN region. 

A versatile writer and educator, Laremy Lee has the uncanny knack of being one of the few among his generation who crafts compelling narratives across different genres.

Laremy was awarded a Ministry of Education (MOE) Teaching Award for his undergraduate study. He graduated with an honours degree in English literature from National University of Singapore (NUS) and is an alumnus of the University Scholars Programme. Laremy later obtained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary) with a distinction in teaching practice from the National Institute of Education, Singapore.

Laremy has vast experience teaching English language and literature at the International Baccalaureate, GCE A- and GCE O-levels. In addition, he has taught English literature and creative writing courses in School of the Arts, Singapore's school-based syllabus. Beyond the classroom, Laremy has run creative writing workshops for the MOE Creative Arts Programme and junior colleges in Singapore.

As an arts and educational consultant, Laremy has coached playwrights and dramaturged their plays for NUS DramaFest. He has also provided editorial input on teaching and educational content for The Straits Times Education Programme and The Saturday Special Report: Insights to Lesser-Known Worlds.

A published author, Laremy's creative works run the gamut from fiction to non-fiction, and have been produced and studied in schools. He has also been Singapore’s Writer-in-Residence at the Toji Cultural Centre in South Korea. Excerpts of Laremy's works are at

Alvin is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Necessary Stage and a leading proponent of devising theatre in Singapore, having directed more than 80 plays which have been staged locally and at international festivals. He has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and in 1998, was conferred the Young Artist Award for theatre. In 2010, Alvin was conferred the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture, in recognition of his significant contribution to the arts. The following year, he was awarded Best Director at 2011 The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards for Model Citizens by The Necessary Stage. 

Alvin was previously invited by the Ministry of Education to design a drama syllabus at ‘O’ level for implementation in schools. In 2014, Alvin was conferred the Cultural Medallion for his artistic excellence and contribution to Singapore’s arts and cultural landscape. He was also the Artistic Director of Peer Pleasure, an annual youth theatre festival in Singapore presented by ArtsWok Collaborative, from 2015 to 2017.

Akanksha Raja is an arts writer from Singapore. She writes about art primarily because she loves stories that just can’t be told any other way; she believes in its potential to connect, provoke and transform.

She grew up in Singapore and graduated from LASALLE College of the Arts in 2014, where she wrote a dissertation exploring the practice of forum theatre in Singapore. She has been writing reviews on theatre (and occasionally visual art) as part of the editorial team at since its launch in 2016, and is an alumna of the Points of View Performance Writing workshop organised by the Asian Dramaturgs' Network in 2018.

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