About

I’m primarily drawn to stories that emphasize the humor and humanity of individuals who find themselves in opposition to the world around them.

On a superficial level, I’m always searching for the punchline; on a deeper level, I’m really looking to empathize with the emotional truth of how societal convention heightens individual isolation. Quite simply, how can I make you laugh—and, in the very next moment, make you feel bad that you laughed at all?

As a director, my rehearsal process follows a text-driven approach, which means I use the language of the play as a springboard for sparking irreverent and subversive staging choices. I specialize in tracking and uplifting the dramaturgy of new plays, as well as reimagining classic plays for the contemporary audience.

Check out my full resume.


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

Well…

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 (okay, fine, my “undergraduate degree”), I thought I’d stick around the city of Chicago for a little while longer.

For four years, I was so lucky to be able to collaborate with and learn from some of Chicago’s best. Today, I’m an artistic associate with Silk Road Rising, where I previously served as the resident dramaturg for two seasons. Past affiliations include being an artistic associate with The Comrades (which closed its doors in August 2020), as well as a Directors Inclusion Initiate for the 2017/18 season at Victory Gardens.

In fall 2019, I moved to Providence, RI to begin pursuing an MFA in directing from Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company. I used the MFA years to tackle genres and styles that I had not been offered in a professional context before, and to generate artistic experiments without the pressure of commercial success. As a result, my MFA experience spans reimagined classics, new plays, and multimedia projects.

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