Tan Kheng Hua, Award-Winning Theatre/Television Actress/Producer

Kheng Hua is a well-known award-winning theatre/television actress/producer in Singapore. She is regarded as a veteran of Singapore theatre and was recently selected as one of 50 iconic local stage personalities in an exhibition celebrating 50 years of Singapore theatre.  Onstage, she has appeared in countless local theatre productions of all genres, including leads in landmark plays such as Beauty World, Lao Jiu, Descendants of the Admiral Eunuch, Animal Farm, Cooling Off Day and The Effect. Most recently, she was seen in Pangdemonium Theatre’s Falling, a box office and critical hits, and for which she won Best Actress 2016 at The M1 Life! Theatre Awards, the most noteworthy theatre award event in Singapore.

Tan Kheng Hua

Tan Kheng Hua

Kheng Hua is a household name in Singapore for having played the role of Margaret on Singapore’s longest running and most successful sitcom, Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd. She balances this popular comedic profile with a consistent dramatic presence in well-received television dramas and dramadies in English and Mandarin including War Diary, The Singapore Short Story Project, The Pupil Season 2, Sayang Sayang and Beautiful Connection, many of which earned her nominations at the Asian Television Awards.

Twelve years ago, she decided to try her hand at producing, and today, is one of the more prolific creative producers for stage and television in Singapore. She produced the critically-acclaimed original musical cabaret The Dim Sum Dollies® shows from 2004 to 2006. On television, she created and produced the dramas9 Lives and Do Not Disturb, the latter being the first local TV series to receive the maximum 5-star rating from Straits Times Life! In 2009, she created, produced and acted in her first Mandarin serial, Mr & Mrs Kok, starring opposite local comedy legend Mark Lee. On a lighter note, she also creates, hosts and produces lifestyle infotainment programmes such as Heartland Getaways and Table For Three, both of which were acquired by The Asian Food Channel.  She also creates and produces original works outside of Singapore and was co-creator, producer and performer for No.7, an original theatre piece commissioned by the Georgetown Festival 2011 in Penang. No.7 was sold out with a waiting list. In 2014, she brought more than 64 Singaporean and Malaysian artists together in a project entitled The SIN-PEN Colony back to Penang’s high profile The Georgetown Festival in a mini Singapore festival there, celebrating Singapore and Penang’s shared heritage in food, visual art, music, theatre and design. The theatre segment within The SIN-PEN Colony, 2 Houses, was also sold-out, within four days of ticket sales. She conceptualized and produced The Twenty-Something Theatre Festival 2016 and Tropicana The Musical which opened to rave reviews on April 13, 2017 and is currently running at Singapore’s Capitol Theatre.

On the international scene, she was cast in The Philanthropist (NBC, Lead Supporting, Actor) The Patriarch(UFA, Lead Supporting, Actor), Serangoon Road (HBO Asia Original Series, Lead Guest) and scored a major role as Empress Dowager in Netflix Original Series, Marco Polo. She was one of the 20 Singaporean contemporary artists chosen to represent Singapore in Singapore: Inside Out a showcase presented by The Singapore Tourism Board in Beijing, London and New York City to celebrate the country’s 50th Birthday.  Kheng Hua is proudly represented by FLY Entertainment.

1. What is your dream destination and why?

I have always dreamed about going to see whales and icebergs at the antarctic. when i was young, i harboured a deep interest in whales and still have a huge collection of whale objects from tissue paper box holders to book ends to cups. I also feel i would love to see icebergs before they are gone from our world completely.

2. Three things that you could never travel without?

a) deodorant
b) phone
c) passport

3. Which destination surpassed your expectations and surprised you the most?

Penang. In Penang, i found enough of the old to make me feel at home as a 50 something, and enough new to inspire my curiosity and art creation. I also found people and family there I grew to love deeply. The city made me feel so good, I actually bought a small shophouse there.

4. Where and what was your most memorable meal you have ever had while travelling?

I am not one of those gourmet travellers who need to go to the trendiest spots for a meal. I often feel as if a lot of these food experiences are over priced. My most memorable meal was next to the sea, in some simple kelong, in Penang, and eating charcoal roasted crabs with family when my child was barely a year old. It was memorable not just because of the simplicity and the deliciousness of the food, but the memory of being a young mother and having a new and very deep sense of what family means to me.

5. Where are you looking to travel to next?

I just scoped out a week in September between projects and was just thinking about whether I want to go somewhere. I am still deciding whether to go alone or with someone. And white water rafting was on my list. But nothing is confirmed.

6. What projects are you currently working on?

I am neck deep rehearsing for Dragonflies, an original play by Pangdemonium for SIFA and looking forward to Forever Young with Sing’theatre happening directly after that. The week i was talking about is between these two projects.

7. Do you have any tips or advice for budding actors or actresses?

I don’t really like to give advice, because i feel what works for one person doesn’t work for another. But i do believe in these old fashioned tenets which are not as common today as I would like to see – be hard working, be on time, think not just for yourself but for the project as a whole and the people on it.

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