updated 24 Dec 2010, 13:57
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Fri, May 07, 2010
Urban, The Straits Times
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Beatrice Chia-Richmond (Celebrity mums part 3)
by Hong Xin Yi

Those who have seen this theatre director in action during rehearsals are not likely to disagree with her assessment of herself as 'a terrible control freak'.

'People who have worked with me know that I would die for my productions,' says the director behind provocative shows like Bent (2003) and Cabaret (2006), who is 36.

'I would give 150 per cent and every aspect, every decision, was up to me. It was important to me to be the captain of the ship.'

But there were few traces of her firm hand last weekend, when she and son Sol attended a photoshoot for beauty brand Kiehl's. She is one of the celebrity parents who are participating in the brand's fund-raising push for the Singapore Environment Council along with their children.

Sol, three, raced around the Ubi Crescent studio, preferring to pout, play and basically do anything else rather than pose for a photo with mummy, who remained infinitely patient.

The tot is the only child of her and Mark Richmond, senior head of sports presentation at the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee.

'Will you take a photo with Sam? Okay?' she asks. Sam is a character from kiddie TV show The Wiggles and what Sol likes to call his mummy. His own nickname, also taken from a Wiggles character, is Captain. That is right - there is a new captain steering this ship now.

Later, she jokingly says of trying to 'direct' her son: 'Oh, give me any other actor. Give me Joan Collins.'

Learning how to adjust her expectations of control has been one of the greatest lessons of motherhood, says the leggy stage veteran. 'I used to think my work was everything. Now there is another part of my life that is more important and I have become a lot calmer and less precious about things.'

That change in perspective has also led to some interesting new dimensions in her career.

Barely a year after she gave birth, she acted in stage drama Das Experiment, playing a character who had to strip down to bra and panties and endure a traumatic rape scene.

'After giving birth, I just don't care anymore. I have surrendered my body and my time,' she says of agreeing to take on the revealing role.

In addition to being the artistic director of theatre group Toy Factory Productions, she also began helming Fly Entertainment subsidiary Running Into the Sun (RITS) last year. It is responsible for the popular sketch comedy series The V Conference, which she directs.

Last year, with the encouragement of the arts community, she also put her name up for the Nominated Members of Parliament scheme. Although she was not selected, 'I was glad to have been in the running', she says.

Life post-motherhood, after all, has been all about learning how to go with the flow. Not that adjusting to her new role has always been easy, though.

'I have chosen to work less and that has been a struggle,' she says candidly.

'I love my work and was clearly happy to leave home at 7am and come back at 2am. But I was ready to be a mother.'

As for whether Sol should be expecting siblings in the future, she says: 'I hope so.'


>> Mama Tao

This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times.

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