Dr Alvin Lim

Postdoctoral Fellow

Home Institution: National University of Singapore



Alvin Eng Hui Lim holds a PhD in Theatre Studies jointly awarded by the National University of Singapore and King’s College London. His key research interests are popular religious practices, spirit mediums and rituals, with emphasis on new media and digital technology. He is Senior Tutor with the Theatre Studies Programme at the Department of English Language and Literature, National University of Singapore. He is also Deputy Director and Technology and Online Editor (Mandarin) of the Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive (A|S|I|A, http://a-s-i-a-web.org/), and Editor of Theatre Makers Asia archive (http://tma-web.org/). They are part of the Asian Intercultural Digital Archives (AIDA) project that aims to make some of the most important contemporary theatre practices in Asia available and accessible online to a wide audience. He has published on Singapore theatre, religious practices, and digital archiving. He is also a member of the “After Performance” working group, which explores experimental modes of writing on performance and co-authorship.

Project: Island Performatives and Spiritualities: The voyages of travelling troupes, religious practices and performing communities in Southeast Asia

This project will explore how islands are embodied in and through performance. By looking at “islands” as a theoretical trope, along with its derivatives—arrivals and derivations, modes of transport and vessels, one can examine the nature of an assemblage of performances, spirits, histories, technologies, translations, messengers, vessels, mediums, and migrant communities. It will study travelling performances and performers in the Southeast Asia region and investigate how certain contemporary performances found in the region assert an island performative – an act that mediates and reiterates several meanings about spirituality in a new context. Such a context includes art and theatre festivals, religious festival and processions, capital cities, and continental venues. Bounded by existing cultural and economic systems, islanders are part of a vast network of people, spirits, gods and commodities travelling to and fro nodes of exchanges. I will attempt to trace those voyages and productions of knowledge.

I will also be working on a book on spirit mediumship, religious practices and new media technology, which stems from my PhD thesis on popular religious practices in Singapore.