DrNidya Shanthini Manokara

Academics

Dr Nidya Shanthini Manokara

Lecturer, BA (Hons) Acting, BA (Hons) Musical Theatre, Diploma in Dance
shan-pic
  • PhD (Theatre Studies), National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • BA Honors (Theatre Studies), National University of Singapore, Singapore

Dr Nidya Shanthini Manokara is a dance and theatre practitioner-researcher, educator, performer and dramaturg.

Classically trained in bharatanatyam, she received her Ph.D. in Theatre Studies from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2014. In her doctoral thesis, she draws on her classical bharatanatyam training to explore affective registers of ‘love’ in modern iterations of the practice. In her collaborative performance-as-research projects, Dr Shanthini often pries at the intersection of movement, dance and theatre to critically analyse performance-making. She has also presented papers on her works at multiple international conferences with a number of publications to her name.

Prior to joining LASALLE in a full-time position in 2023, Dr Shanthini had been a part-time lecturer. She has also taught a range of film, theatre and performance courses at NUS and NTU Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information. She has served as an external assessor with the National Arts Council and is currently the resident dramaturg with contemporary dance company, RAW Moves.

Research and Practice

Publications (select)

  • Manokara NS, Samosir NA, Wee L, Rehabilitating Draupadi: From Subservience to Strength in Women’s Innovations in Theatre, Dance, and Performance series, Volume 1: Performers (forthcoming).
  • Women’s Innovations in Theatre, Dance, and Performance series, Volume 1: Performers (forthcoming).
  • Manokara NS, Samosir NA, Wee L, Unpacking the Theatre-Religion Dialectic: Siting Christianity’s Mary Magdalene in Journal of Religion and Popular Culture (forthcoming).
  • Manokara NS, Samosir NA, Wee L, Sacred Sites, Secular Sounds in Ecumenica: Performance and Religion. Vol. 14. No 1 (2021) (pp 108-120).
  • Manokara, NS, Off with the Shaking Heads!! Reel-izing the ‘Singapore Indian’ in the local Tamil films My Magic and Gurushetram – 24 Hours of Anger in Singapore Cinema: New Perspectives. Edited by Liew Kai Khiun and Stephen Teo, United Kingdom: Routledge (2016).
  • Liew KK, Manokara NS, T’a’at L, Televised Minority Beauties: Ethno-cultural Anxieties and the construction of Minority Femininity in Ratu Suria and Miss Vasantham, Critical Studies in Television 1-11 (2016).
  • Manokara NS, Samosir NA, Wee L,  Gender and Theatre as Ideological Sites (under preparation)

Professional Practice (select)

  • Resident dramaturg – Focus on education dramaturgy and performance dramaturgy, (RAW Moves), Singapore.
  • Shivam: Form to Formless An Esplanade Presents – Raga Series. Researcher, Choreographer, soloist, Indian Performing Arts Convention (IPAC) Residency Showcase Performances Esplanade Theatre Studio, Singapore (2021).
  • Punar: Revisiting the Margam, researcher and soloist, Black Box Centre 42, Singapore
    ( 2019).
  • Wandering Women: From Kurukshetra to Magdala, co-investigator/researcher with Ms Nora Samosir, Cake Theatre, Singapore (2019).
  • BITTEN: Return to Our Roots, co-investigator/researcher with Ms Thong Pei Qin, Kampong Bugis, Singapore ( 2018).
  • Becoming Mother, Centre42 Black Box, Singapore (2017).

Public Sharing (select)

  • Esplanade Presents – Talk Exchange: Hula meets Bharatanatyam, moderator, Esplanade Recital Studio, Singapore (2023).
  • Esplanade Offstage - Theatre Made: Why the Mahabharata, researcher (2023).
  • Gestures and Animals: A Movement Workshop, ACRES Singapore, researcher and co-instructor (2022).
  • The Dancer & I, researcher and performer,  library@Esplande, Singapore (2021).
  • C42 Dramaturg’s Works, guest speaker and resident dramaturg (Raw Moves), Centre 42, Singapore (2020).
  • Esplanade Offstage – da:ns docuseries: What is Rasa?, researcher and scriptwriter (2020). 
  • Esplanade Offstage - Aditi Mangaldas: Tradition with a Modern Mind, author (2019).
  • Coffee Chats - da:ns festival, Reflections from a Dance Dramaturg, presenter, Esplanade, Singapore (2017).
Grants, Awards and Residencies
  • Conference Travel Grant – Small Stories We Tell: Rehabilitating Draupadi, International Federation for Theatre Research Conference (IFTR) at University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore (2023).
  • Invitation for research project – Rain Motions: Connecting (with) the Skies of Southeast Asia Scholar and Dramaturg, National Arts Council, Singapore and Ministry of Culture of Thailand in collaboration with SEAMEO SPAFA, Bangkok, Thailand (2023).
  • Research Project Funding Scheme – Nuancing the Sitedness of Metatheatrical Strategies. Co-Investigator with Ms Nora Samosir, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore (2023-2024).
  • Conference Travel Grant – Performing Mary Magdalene in Ideological Sites: Rethinking the Centre-Periphery Distinction, International Federation for Theatre Research Conference (IFTR) at University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland, Research Division, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore (2022).
  • Research Travel Grant – Female Representation in Theatre (working title for project), research in Jerusalem, Israel as co-investigator, Research Division, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore (2018–2019).
  • Harmony Fund – Bitten: Return to Our Roots, co-creator and researcher of Site-specific roving performance, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Singapore  (2018).
  • Our Singapore Fund – Bitten: Return to Our Roots, co-creator and researcher of Site-specific roving performance, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Singapore (2017–2018).
  • Bharatanatyam Dance Residency –  Indian Performing Arts Convention (IPAC), Apsaras Arts, Singapore (2020–2021).