The stories I tell are motivated by three overarching principles:

  1. They must delight in both the traditions and subversions of the live theatrical form.
  2. They must find the universal within the particular by truthfully speaking to an underrepresented perspective.
  3. They must serve a community that has been institutionally denied access to public storytelling opportunities.

Okay, but that doesn’t tell me too much about you as a person.


In 2005, while I was still young and naive, I decided that I wanted nothing more than to play Christine Daaé in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. Yes, really.

In 2010, my first attempt to write and direct a short play ended up banned by my high school following its first performance because of the play’s stance on homosexuality. Devastated, I swore that I would never ever write or direct another play. (Famous last words.)

carol ann tan

In 2011, I earned a Grade 8 (Distinction) in Singing from Trinity College London. One step closer towards that Christine goal! Shortly afterwards, I relocated to the United States for college.

In 2013, I was approached by the Singaporean and Malaysian Students’ Union (SAMSU) at the University of Chicago to write and direct a play. The success of this play, Domestic Departure, convinced me that I should quit acting for good. (Famous last words — yup, sensing a theme here.) But I mean, why settle for playing Christine when I could be helping to chip away at existing systemic inequalities, right?!

In 2014, SAMSU threw more money my way, this time to stage my senior thesis, Apartment Complex. Thanks, SAMSU!

In 2015, I graduated from the University of Chicago — and then promptly decided to stick around the city of Chicago itself for a little while longer.

Thanks to the support of Haven Theatre, I was given an incredible opportunity to kick off my artistic journey with a remount of Domestic Departure. Since then, I’ve been so lucky to be able to collaborate with and learn from some of this city’s most inspiring talent. I’m currently the resident dramaturg at Silk Road Rising and an artistic associate with The Comrades. Previously, I was a Directors Inclusion Initiate at Victory Gardens for their 2017/18 season.

My skill set includes directing, writing, and dramaturgy. I’m primarily interested in issues surrounding race and immigration, especially as it relates to the Asian diaspora. But I generally gravitate towards any project which platforms the perspectives of marginalized individuals or communities.

Seriously though, my favorite response to new opportunities and ideas is “YES.” So if you’ve got anything in mind at all — let’s talk.