When Kamil Haque first envisioned having his own acting school in Singapore, he’d thought he would’ve been well into his 40s, following a move home from the States.
Instead, at 37, Haque has already returned to Singapore after eight years in Hollywood (which included his time at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute as well as the prestigious The Actor’s Studio) and owns a method acting studio, the Haque Centre of Acting and Creativity (HCAC), and now a brand-new theatre company with members of the HCAC.
Having coached plenty of working professionals who are interested in the performing arts, one of HCAC’s most notable alumni includes household name Henry Goulding. The Crazy Rich Asians actor was a student of Haque himself, and took classes from the founder and artistic director when he was seriously being considered for the lead role of the blockbuster hit.
So while HCAC isn’t new to the scene, The Haque Collective is. Fueled by a raw passion and complete love for acting, Haque and his team strongly believed in creating an independent theatre company that’s flexible and provides working opportunities for actors of diverse backgrounds.
In a brave and victorious attempt, the crew ran a Kickstarter campaign where they raised over $20,000 that would help them debut an original production.
The Haque Collective’s campaign page reads: “125 backers pledged $24,757 to help bring this project to life.” Check the breakdown and you’ll find that 61 backers pledged $35 and above, 15 backers pledged $150 and more, while 14 backers pledged $500 and up. Admittedly, some of the donors are friends and family members of the HCAC team. But there are plenty of contributors that Haque has no idea who they are either.
When asked if $20,000 seemed like a reach, founding member and writer at The Haque Collective James Thoo laughs. Haque responds honestly saying yes, but they had faith; to put their passion out there and have it be well-received and reciprocated.
Kamil Haque (left) directing The Jugular Vein
Late last month, their first show, The Jugular Vein, about a bachelorette party that goes awry, debuted at Centre 42 to much success.
The humble crew knows that without their donors, the show would not have been possible. Which is why last Friday (Oct 4), they thanked their VIP backers with a dinner, where they met folks who were very willing to promote and forward their cause, by helping them register as a non-profit organisation as well as fundraise. But those details have yet to be worked out.
Just yesterday (Oct 6), The Haque Collective also had a post-mortem, in which they discussed responses gathered from their first show survey: 98% of their audiences would watch another one of their shows again, and 99% reported being extremely satisfied or satisfied with how The Jugular Vein turned out, which meant good news for the new theatre troupe.
And as they tie up all the loose ends of their inaugural production, they’ll soon begin their preparations for 2020. In fact, there’s already plenty to be done. With one of the founding members moving back to Seattle with her husband and another looking to start a family in the near future, the group will commence an audition process to garner new members and support. Plus, they’re exploring the possibility of bringing The Jugular Vein to Kuala Lumpur.
The Jugular Vein
But the crew remains grounded and as dedicated as ever to their aim, which is so pure, it really shines through—to hone the skills of amateur actors looking to go professional, especially those already in the HCAC community. “We want to be able to look after our own,” Haque remarks. And seeing how they’ve birthed some truly talented actors so far, we can safely say he’s been true to that promise.
Both the Haque Centre of Acting and Creativity (HCAC) and The Haque Collective is located at 89A Desker Road.