It’s hard not to be pulled in by Krish’s laid-back vibes and zany humour. As one of the founders of Patch and Punnet, a Singapore-based youth theatre collective, he’s the up and coming theatre practitioner you need to keep an eye on. And what better place to start than at M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2019?

That’s where Krish, along with Patch and Punnet, will perform The Adventures of Abhijeet – a whimsical tale of a man’s quest to save his family that’s also a though provoking reflection on the living conditions of Singapore’s migrant workers. We sat down with the mastermind himself to find out more.

Hi Krish! You’re clearly very passionate about theatre – having graduated from School of the Arts Singapore (SOTA) with a specialisation in theatre and then going on to study it at LASALLE College of the Arts. What drives you to pursue your passion so relentlessly?

Since I started acting, I immediately fell in love with it. In SOTA – it wasn’t just acting, but a lot of devising and creating, which made me enjoy the process of creating more. After SOTA, I went to Young and Wild, where I met a lot of young and passionate theatre practitioners – fueling my creativity even more. Eventually, it became less about “I want to be an actor” to “I want to be a theatre-maker, and I want to create work.” I can’t see myself doing anything else.

What are your thoughts about Singapore’s current theatre scene?

The current theatre scene in Singapore is great, there’s a lot of diversity and experimental work. But what I do feel is that it could use a bit more provocation. That’s what I think theatre is meant to do, it’s meant to invoke some kind of change, stir the pot a bit. And I think that’s exactly what I want to do with Patch and Punnet in a more light-hearted and fun way.

Patch and Punnet performing Stupid Cupid at The Moon

If you could change one thing about Singapore’s theatre scene, what would it be and why?

I think there’s an intimidation factor that still surrounds theatre. For example, my friends who aren’t actors or theatre practitioners feel theatre performances are too “atas” and therefore won’t attend performances. I want to eradicate that, which is why our first show, Stupid Cupid, was in a cosy and intimate kind of location (The Moon) and I think the theatre scene should be more about intimacy, like friends making theatre for friends.

Is that’s where Patch and Punnet comes into the picture?

Our main mission is to make the [theatre] scene more accessible, but what we also try to do is to legitimize the youth voice. Youth theatre companies are often seen as “youth theatre companies that will one day become a professional theatre company”. But why can’t youth theatre companies be professional theatre companies? I want us to be known as a professional company that creates millennial work, which is both refreshing and entertaining for people our age who are interested in similar issues.

Members of Patch and Punnet – Krish Natarajan, Astley Xie, Sharmaine Goh and Nisa Syarafana.

How did Patch and Punnet come to be in the first place?

Patch and Punnet actually started as a play (2024). From then onwards, after doing the show, we decided to create a theatre company. We asked ourselves, “did that performance really represent who we are?” and after a lot of debating, we re-branded Patch and Punnet to what it is today.

What’s your vision for Patch and Punnet in the future?

I hope for it to become a theatre mainstay. I hope to create more works like Stupid Cupid and Adventures of Abhijeet – satirical, fun, and light-hearted. I think we need to bring some irreverence back to the Singapore theatre scene itself.

What were your initial reactions to performing in the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, especially in regards to this year’s theme, “Still Waters”?

We’re really excited. I’ve always enjoyed M1 Fringe and it’s such an honour to share the stage with so many talented artists. I first heard about the festival through Sean Tobin, whom I’ve always looked up to. We already had the idea of Adventures of Abhijeet, and after hearing about Still Waters – which illustrated artists who feel stuck in the water, refugees, and liminality to me – it immediately brought me to foreign workers in Singapore. It was a perfect fit and we thought, great, this will be the perfect platform to develop and showcase Adventures of Abhijeet.

Patch and Punnet performing Stupid Cupid at The Moon

What’s a dream stage or location that you hope to perform on one day?

I’ve always wanted to perform in an abandoned warehouse or just an abandoned house. I’ve never really liked conventional spaces. Don’t get me wrong, I think a lot of Patch and Punnet’s future work will be held in such spaces, but I also like exploring alternative spaces, especially houses. I think houses are just so intimate.

If you could work or collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

This is a hard question. My first response was Bo Burnham – who’s a musical comedian. He’s inspired a lot of our style and the things we do. He basically writes funny songs and each song has a kind of agenda that makes his work provocative. That’s what we want to do. We want to make our audience go “hahaha- eh?”.

Finally, any words of advice for rising theatre practitioners?

I’m the one that needs advice. I feel that I have no place to give advice because I’m still growing. There are still a lot of things I don’t know. But if I had to give advice, it would be to just do it and love what you’re doing. Over the past year of growing this company, I came to understand more of why I want to make theatre and what kind of theatre I want to make.

Part of Singapore’s M1 Fringe Festival 2019The Adventures of Abhijeet is happening on 20 January 2019, at the Esplanade Annexe Studio. Tickets can be purchased here for $15.