In every piece I tackle, I seek to address the following three questions:

  1. Why does this story need to be performed in real time, in front of real people?
  2. How is this story connected to the time, place, and space it’s being performed in?
  3. Will the greater community of artists and audiences find the story emotionally resonant?

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


In 2005, while I was still young and naive, 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 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, after obtaining a fancy and overpriced piece of paper (some people call it an “undergraduate degree”), I thought I’d try sticking around the city of Chicago 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 Chicago’s most inspiring talent. I’m currently an artistic associate with Silk Road Rising, where I previously served as the resident dramaturg for two seasons. I’m also an artistic associate with The Comrades, as well as a Directors Inclusion Initiate for the 2017/18 season at Victory Gardens.

In fall 2019, I will be moving to Providence, RI to begin pursuing an MFA in directing from Brown/Trinity.

Need help bringing your story to life? My favorite response to new opportunities and ideas is “YES.” So if you’ve got something big and exciting to share — let’s talk.