As a Public Service Commission (PSC) scholar, Edmund Chow graduated with a Second Upper Division Honours degree in English Language at the National University of Singapore in 2000. His other major was in Literature.
He then continued to obtain his Post-graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE Secondary) at the National Institute of Education (NIE).
From 2001, he taught in Dunman Secondary School as an English and Literature teacher. In 2004, Ed decided to make a radical change in his career by teaching adult prison inmates at the Kaki Bukit Centre (Prison School). It was then that his former principal, a well-loved and respected man, asked if he’d like to start a Drama Club as an enrichment activity. With a tinge of nervousness sprinkled with excitement, Ed started the Drama Club in that same year. New experiences arose for him, and it became the fertilisation for his newfound pursuit in the Arts, a force that remained dormant since he was twelve years old.
In 2006, Ed received a full Arts Professional scholarship from the National Arts Council to pursue his Master’s degree in Educational Theatre at New York University. His specialisation in Applied Theatre saw him combining fields as diverse as drama education, political theatre as well as drama therapy in his study and research. Through the NYU Study Abroad Program, Ed traversed to Puebla in Mexico, Dublin in Ireland, Belfast in Northern Ireland, and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil as part of his intercultural immersion and training in various forms of community-engaged theatres, the most notable of which was Forum Theatre and Aesthetics of the Oppressed with the late Augusto Boal.
Ed returned back to the Prison School in Singapore in 2008 to implement further changes in the curriculum to aid in the rehabilitation and socio-emotional development of his students.
By the end of 2009, Ed had “used up” his years seconded (or attached) to the Ministry of Home Affairs, and had to return to mainstream public schools. Another bold choice to widen his teaching experience, he left the Ministry of Education to join Raffles Institution directly. While drama was not in his portfolio, his passion in the arts was evident. He trained a team of boys to compete in Destination Imagination, an international competition akin to an Olympics in creative problem-solving, and they returned as the Champion in 2010. They bagged two awards.
On a separate front, Ed also taught Learning in, through and about Drama (MDR816) and Advanced Topics in Social Theatre (MED895) at the National Institute of Education to postgraduate students on a part-time basis.
He is now pursuing his doctoral degree under Prof James Thompson’s supervision at the University of Manchester, researching on contemporary Afghan theatre practices — with the generous support of the National Arts Council Postgraduate Scholarship and the University of Manchester Drama Department studentship.
For more about his work, Ed maintains the following sites, some of which may not be so actively updated:
(1) PERSONAL http://www.edmundchow.com
There is some information on his prison theatre work.
(2) DRAMA WITHOUT BORDERS http://dramawithoutborders.webs.com
This is the project that he is trying to consolidate: the use of drama in different communities for various purposes. For example, the use of drama for healing and peacebuilding in refugee camps, the use of drama for rehabilitation and therapy for prison inmates, etc.
(3) APPLIED THEATRE SINGAPORE http://appliedtheatresg.blog.com
There is another attempt to document his prison work, albeit in shreds.