Tell us a bit about yourself...
I am 28 years old, British South East Asian, which means a combo of pancakes dipped in fish sauce. I'm here because my parent's little fishing smack drifted to London after a heroic escape from the Vietnam War.
I have always had a strong love for the Theatre since I was a young girl and went on to fiercely pursue a career in it. It all really began after my training at Drama school, where I quickly discovered that in order to survive being an artist in London I had to live in disused buildings as a legal guardian. Two and a half years of running up three flights of stairs to go to the loo and no central heating enabled me to give birth to my own Theatre Company 'Trikhon Theatre'. A lot of the work I now do is connected to the refugee story and community support.
By 2012 I was living in a closed down museum in Old Kent Road, I joined my first Alpha course in the winter and ten weeks later of braving the ice on my little push bike - I met Jesus.
What does it mean to you, to be a leader/influencer?
To be willing to listen first. To be patient. To be consistent. To be accessible.
As a Theatre Director I am not necessarily looking for the brightest and most talented Actor to walk through my doors, I am looking for someone that has the potential and is open and trainable. I enjoy nurturing others and helping them to utilize their hidden strengths. My hope always is that they are able to transfer their skills to where ever they go next. The technique that I use to work with my Actors in the rehearsal room is called the ‘Actor centered’ method, which means as a Director it is my job to discover and draw upon what makes the individual completely unique and empower them through it. I would say this technique is applicable in any circumstance. It forces the Director or the leader to abandon their ego at the door, put down their predetermined ideas and work entirely with what is in front of them - the individual.
I believe a good leader is always looking to replace themselves.
How have others invested into you?
Kristine Landon-Smith, a sensational Theatre Director who nurtured me as a young Director on a bespoke training program. She provided me with continuous opportunities to develop my practice through one to one training, mentor-ship and professional experience. She generously gave me her time, was accessible and made sure that the training was affordable if not free. On several occasions she offered me subsidized rates and bursaries. I would have never been the Director I am today without her investment in me.
Secondly is my shepherd Sophina Tsiang, who has invested in me immensely. We met this year in the summer during a turbulent season of my life and she became like a spiritual mum to me. We walked closely together and despite her busy schedule at work she always made time for me if and when I needed it. Her careful discipleship has seen me mature rapidly in my faith, that otherwise would have not been possible on my own. Her consistency, her accountability and accessible nature has played a huge part in helping me to see breakthrough this year.
Who would you say you look up to and why?
In the theatre world I'd say I look up to Kristine Landon-Smith, she's an exceptional Director and I admire the way she works. She has a great presence, holds a room well and leads a team confidently. Her instructions are clear, simple and applicable. She is sharp, thorough and direct, the kind of energy I appreciate and respond well to.
In the Kingdom it would have to be Joyce Meyer. Another very similar character to Kristine, a very strong and nurturing woman. Her victory in her abusive background speaks volumes to me, as I also grew up in an abusive background; the Vietnam War was over, but it was still so present in my house growing up. I feel strangely connected to Joyce; when she talks I feel like the same person. Most of her struggles and character defects are identical to mine, and the way she thinks and approaches situations is scarily similar to me. Her over coming has been a real inspiration and it would be a dream to meet her one day face to face.
How do you invest in others?
As God has so graciously blessed our theatre company, we feel fortunate enough to offer help and support to others. On every major production we offer observatory places to new directors. The position includes a mentorship, regular feedback sessions and a chance for the individual to participate creatively in the rehearsal process. We also try to take on young actors that have not yet received industry training, to offer them the chance to be nurtured and perform professionally with Trikhon. We always try to continue our investment in these individuals and offer a ladder of opportunity for future jobs and productions. This observatory scheme was inspired by Kristine Landon Smith, who offered me the same level of nurture as a young Director.