Hello. Thank you for coming here to read about me. My name is Deborah Emmanuel and I am a Singaporean writer, performer, educator and speaker. Even though I was born and raised in Singapore, I often feel like I do not belong there or anywhere. There was a time when this alienation was uncomfortable, but now I embrace it as an invitation to exist peacefully wherever I may be.
My aim as an artist is to make work that is profoundly personal, provocative and passionate while exploring universal questions and my ever-evolving ethics. My aim as an artist is to make a positive impact on other people and my environment. To help.
Since I was a child there were poems and word trails scribbled in secret. I did it when the emotions grew so big they had to spill out of me…but I never knew that writing would become my livelihood until suddenly it was. When I was a teenager, I decided to be an actor and so have received formal training (if you’re into that stuff) in applied theatre and performance with institutions like Lasalle-SIA College Of The Arts (Singapore), the Singapore Repertory Theatre and Griffith University (Brisbane). This training helped me to develop the foundational performance abilities within my live work.
I have been blessed that my writing and dialogue has featured at writers festivals like the Makassar International Writers Festival, the Barcelona Poetry Festival and the Queensland Poetry Festival. As a slam poet, I have won competitions in Singapore, Germany and Australia. My performances have seen places like Melbourne, Berlin, London, Bali and Kathmandu, and I have toured alongside poets like Anthony Anaxagorou and Sarah Kay.
But being a creator is not just a list of what has been achieved, it is also about the living in the present and having visions for the future. Most recently and now I have been working on –
movement poetry, a re-creation method of moving poetry into the body
my new one-woman show Alien Flower In Fundamentalist Fields which made its debut in Sydney at Word Travels Story-Fest 2018
radical experiments in improvisation and looping with Randolf Arriola
practicing visual art like painting and illustration as a different way to experience metaphor
Thus far I have written three books: When I Giggle In My Sleep (2015), my first collection of poetry, Rebel Rites (2016); a creative non-fiction work and Genesis: Visual Poetry Collection. When not writing, I make the occasional appearance on stage and screen. Within the last 5 years I have made music with bands like Mantravine, Wobology and The Ditha Project.
Yet it’s been clear from early on that my acts of making are fed by by work as an educator. I have trained as a facilitator and work with clients looking for all sorts of guidance; be it how to write poetry, how to develop more confidence as a performer or how to express stories physically. Sharing what I have discovered as a way to help people explore their inner world is a fundamental part of my journey as an artist.