Lut Ali

Singapore Infopedia


Lut Ali (b. 1 June 1957– ) is a well-known actor, television producer, playwright and director of Malay theatre and drama in Singapore.1 A graduate of Edith Cowan University in Australia, Lut was conferred the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award in 1993 for his contributions to theatre.2 In 1998, he was voted Prime 12 (now known as Suria) channel's Best Actor for his role in Selatan Semananjung.3 Lut was a highly visible figure in the Malay theatre scene in the 1980s. In 1988, he founded Teater Ekamatra. The Malay theatre group has since developed to become one of the most successful Malay theatre companies in Singapore.4

Early life
Lut Ali left his job as a clerk to devote his time and energy to theatre.5 His initial ambition was to be a footballer, but found his calling in theatre instead. He saw theatre as missionary work, a chance to educate the community about the stage.Lut used to participate in theatre on a part-time basis, but each time that he was involved, he had to resign from his day job to concentrate wholly on his artistic pursuits. Thus, he decided to give his full attention to theatre in 1992, and resigned as a clerk to become a full-time theatre director.7

Works and career
Lut's devotion to theatre was concentrated on Teater Ekamatra which he founded with his wife, Rubie Lazim, in 1988.8 He led a group of 11 members whose average age was just 26. Lut had envisioned for Ekamatra to be an independent Malay theatre group, free from the hassles of being a subsidiary of a bigger cultural group. The only other independent group at the time was Teater Nadi. Lut also wanted to promote experimental theatre, and expand the definition and boundaries of Malay theatre  by incorporating elements of traditional Southeast Asian art forms into contemporary theatre.9 His efforts bore fruit.

In 1995, Lut’s play Kakiku (My Legs) was selected by the National Arts Council (NAC) to represent Singapore at the ASEAN Theatre Festival in Brunei Darussalam. Adapted from Singapore’s history, the play tells of people in a village that has experienced colonisation and independence, and their  dilemma of whether to go to Malaysia or remain in Singapore upon separation.10

In 1995, Lut was one of the four Singaporeans involved in one of the three major drama productions staged at the annual Perth Festival. He played the role of the sinister waiter in The Floating World, a play about mental disintegration and prejudice.11

Lut left Singapore in July 1995 to pursue a liberal arts degree at Edith Cowan University in Australia.12 Upon completing his studies in 1997, Lut was appointed producer and head of the drama department at Communications 2000, a production company.13 It was a win-win situation for both parties. With Lut on board, the company was able to expand its core business of producing variety shows to include drama programmes.14 Lut, on the other hand, had wanted to take the opportunity to broaden his interest in television drama other than theatre. He later co-produced and directed Singapore's first Malay soap opera, Gelora, during his stint at the company.15 After directing one season of Gelora, Lut established a production company called L.A. Motion with his wife, and his business partner, Iskandar Johari.16 One of their first projects was a five-part drama series, Sayang Semuanya. The drama went to air on Prime 12 in June 1999.17 After some experience in broadcasting in Singapore, Lut left the arts scene here for life in Perth, Australia, with his family in 2001.18

Other pursuits
Lut also initiated a project through Teater Ekamatra to improve the documentation of Malay theatre. Play scripts, dating back to the 1960s, were collected, catalogued and re-bound in their original form, and kept in mint condition.19 He also tried his entrepreneurial hand in the culinary business when he set up a Malay food stall in a food centre at Clover Way, near Jalan Pemimpin.20

Selected awards
: Best Actor, Sriwana Drama Festival.21

1981: Best Performer Award (Malay Category) for Bila Malam Bertambah, Drama Festival, Ministry of Culture.22
1993: Young Artist Award, National Arts Council.
1998:  Best Male Actor for Selatan Semananjung, Anugerah Pesta Perdana.
2001: Nomination in short story category for Anugerah Persuratan (Malay Literary Awards), Malay Language Council.

Selected plays directed
Seniman Menara Gading (The Artiste of the Ivory Tower)24

1986: Bicara (The Trial).25
1988Arwah (The Man Who Was)26
1988: Juara (The Champion)27
1990: Bukan Bunuh Diri (Don’t Commit Suicide) – solo performer and director.
1990: Dalam Keasingan (In Isolation).28
1991, 1995: Kakiku (My Legs)

1991: Seekor Kerbau Hitam Dalam Sang Pengiran Tomtom (A Black Bull in Sang Pengiran Tomtom’s Dream)
1992: Bukan Di Syurga Yang Ini (Not in This Heaven).29
1992: Berakhirnya Sebuah Perjuangan (The End of A Battle).30
1993Perhiasan Kaca (The Glass Menagerie).31
1993: Singkap (Unveil).32
1994: Raja Lawak (King of Comedy).33

Lut is married to Rubiee Lazim and they have two sons, Luq Karisma and Luq Karya.34


Marsita Omar & Kartini Saparudin

1. “Biodata,” Berita Harian, 5 October 1997, 7. (From NewspaperSG)
2. “Young Artist Award Winners,” Straits Times, 30 August 1994, 2 (From NewspaperSG); “About the Young Artist Award,” National Arts Council, accessed 17 August 2016; “Lut Sebarang Laut Cari Ilmu,” Berita Harian, 9 July 1995, 11. (From NewspaperSG)
3. Hanim Mohd Saleh, “Terbaik Akan Terjunjung,” Berita Harian, 26 November 1998, 6. (From NewspaperSG)
4. Samuel L. Leiter, Encyclopedia of Asian Theatre, vol. 2 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2007), 759 (Call no. RSING 792.095 ENC); Adeline Chia, “New Faces in Ekamatra,” Straits Times, 15 September 2009, 45. (From NewspaperSG)
5. Yaakub Rashid, “Selling Theatre Full-Time,” Straits Times, 7 May 1992, 13. (From NewspaperSG.)
6. Mardiana Abu Bakar, “Not to Be Weighed Down By Words,” Straits Times, 21 February 1989, 6. (From NewspaperSG)
7. Rashid, “Selling Theatre Full-Time.” 
8. “Young Artist Award Winners”; Abu Bakar, “Not to Be Weighed Down By Words” [Note: Teater Ekamatra spells his wife’s name as Rubie]; see “About Us,” Teater Ekamatra, accessed 17 August 2016.
9. Abu Bakar, “Not to Be Weighed Down By Words”; “Young Artist Award Winners.”
10. Tuminah Sapawi, “Malay Play Is This Year’s Asean’s Festival Entry,” Straits Times, 28 June 1995, 10. (From NewspaperSG)
11. Audrey Perera, “Singaporeans Make an Impact on Drama in Western Australia,” Straits Times, 9 March 1995, 12. (From NewspaperSG)
12. Mardiana Abu Bakar, “More Malay Plays to Be Staged This Year,” Straits Times, 9 January 1995, 10; “Lut Sebarang Laut Cari Ilmu.”
13. “Lut Ali Ditugas Hasilkan Drama TV,” Berita Harian, 22 October 1997, 6. (From NewspaperSG)
14. “Lut Ali Ditugas Hasilkan Drama TV.”
15. Tuminah Sapawi, “Love, Betrayal and Scandal,” Straits Times, 7 July 1998, 2; “Lut Ali Raih Ijazah Seni Teater & TV,” Berita Harian, 8 June 1999, 6; “Lut Ali Ditugas Hasilkan Drama TV.” 
16. Hanim Mohd Saleh, “Lut ‘BerGelora’,” Berita Harian, 15 November 1998, 12; Hanim Mohd Saleh, “L.A. Motion Bukan Hebat Setakat,” Berita Harian, 3 May 1999, 6. (From NewspaperSG)
17. Hanim Mohd Saleh, “Drama ‘Sayang Semuanya’ Papar Hidup Yatim Piatu,” Berita Harian, 31 May 1999, 6. (From NewspaperSG)
18. “Lut Hijrah Ke Australia,” Berita Harian, 3 October 2001, 12. (From NewspaperSG)
19. Ong Sor Fern, “New Collection of Malay Plays,” Straits Times, 13 April 2002, 17. (From NewspaperSG)
20. “Lut Ali Merajuk…,” Berita Harian, 8 July 2001, 13; “Lut Hijrah Ke Australia.”
21. “Young Cast with a Wealth of Experience,” Straits Times, 20 June 1986, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
22. Edi Sedyawati, ed., The Theater of ASEAN (Jakarta: ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information, 2001), 138. (Call no. RSING 792.0959 THE)
23. Mohd Saleh, “Terbaik Akan Terjunjung”; “Senarai Pemenang,” Berita Harian, 9 December 1998, 6. (From NewspaperSG)
24. “16 Bodies Join Hands to Present Drama,” Straits Times, 24 April 1986, 5. (From NewspaperSG)
25. Azman Siraj, “Reenacting a Malay Legend in a Play,” Straits Times, 27 October 1986, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
26. Mardiana Abu Bakar, “Bringing Life to Play about the Living Dead,” Straits Times, 20 June 1988, 6. (From NewspaperSG)
27. Mardiana Abu Bakar, “Champion of Society Who Fails as a Father,” Straits Times, 14 April 1988, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
28. Yaakub Rashid, “Lut’s Solo,” Straits Times, 10 September 1990, 7. (From m NewspaperSG)
29. Yaakub Rashid, “Lut’s Odyssey,” Straits Times, 8 January 1992, 12. (From NewspaperSG)
30. Norenshah Sahari, “Local Play with French Flavor,” New Paper, 5 May 1992, 18. (From NewspaperSG)
31. Mardiana Abu Bakar, “Who’s Afraid of Tennesse Williams? Straits Times, 22 April 1993, 11. (From NewspaperSG)
32. “The Play Unveiled,” Straits Times, 2 November 1993, 20. (From NewspaperSG)
33. Ang E Ern, “Script Didn't Come, Sold-Out Show Nearly Cancelled,” Straits Times, 25 June 1994, 21. (From NewspaperSG)
34. “Lut Ali Raih Ijazah Seni Teater & TV.”

Further resources
Abdul Rahman Hanafiah, Sastera Singapura dan Malaysia di Era Pascamoden (Singapore: Persama Enterprise, 2003), 253­–54. (Call no. Malay RSING 899.288 MAN)

“Going Back to Basics,” New Straits Times, 4 June 2001. (Microfilm NL25131)

Mohd Lut Ali,  Mendaki. (Unpublished; typescript, 19--). (Call no. RCLOS 899.282 MOH)

Nancy Koh, “One Man’s Quest,” Straits Times, 20 June 1986, 1. (From NewspaperSG)

Yaakub Rashid, “Poetic Licence,” Straits Times, 20 June 1991, 11.  (From NewspaperSG)

The information in this article is as valid as at 2018 and correct as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


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