When we teach, we learn.

I have always loved acting and educating. At the age of 7, acting took precedence and became my lifelong ambition. Although there were a few obstacles, challenges and detours, eventually, passion, determination and second chances came. This single ambition to become an actress evolved to encompass more aspects of entertainment. I was a single mom then, so out of practical necessity, I taught, hosted, sang in order to keep the income steam flowing.

On hindsight, I wouldn’t change anything because these experiences broadened my views, made me a fuller person and with that I find I am in a better position to give.

This brings me to my current stage of life – the closing of my SECOND ACT in life.

To give a brief context, 5 years ago, my husband felt that it was time to change the direction of his company, ACT 3 Theatrics. He took a sabbatical which gave him time to spend more time with our children as well as re-think the company’s new direction. Because of his support at the home front, I was able to pursue a Post-Grad course in Primary Education in Perth.

During my internship, I was given the opportunity to work with children who had learning disabilities such as Attention Deficit Disorder, dylsexia and autism. It was one of my most memorable and meaningful experiences. I have many people in my life who have supported and guided me in my acting career. These children now count as being among those I am thankful. One particular moment that I will always cherish happened when my 3-month internship ended. The boy with autism gave me a handwritten card and started to cry. His mom who was with him to say goodbye to me, was astonished. “Beau, are you crying? Oh my goodness, you ARE crying...” It was only then that it dawned on me – people with autism usually have difficulty in connecting with emotions. It was a very special moment for me.

This was the start of a new adventure for both my husband and I. ACT 3 Theatrics now focuses on bringing Drama Education to children with Learning Disabilities. We work with EIPIC Centre, Tanglin APSN, Pathlight and St Andrew’s Autism Centre.

Our next vision is to develop an Inclusive Theatre Troupe, where atypical children can perform and create their own stories.

Our work has given us a new perspective. As my husband puts it: “These children are not children with disabilities. They are children with SPECIAL abilities.” Every moment we spend with them, challenges us to focus on the process and less on results, to appreciate the little things in life, to go easy on expectations whilst at the same time, continually challenging their comfort zones.

It is often quoted that when we teach, we learn. I have learnt much.

A few days ago, I shared with my husband that I realise at the age of 45, I am now living my childhood dream. I am now both an Actress and A Drama Educator. For this, I am very grateful.
Amy Cheng