Gardner & Wife Theatre
Founded in 2000, Gardner & Wife Theatre is Malaysia’s busiest arts presenter of international theatre and family-friendly performances, playing to over quarter of a million Malaysians, their friends, and families during the company’s twelve-year history.
Hosting artistes from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most countries in between, Gardner&Wife Theatre presents a wide range of shows from off-Broadway musicals to award-winning West End plays, from classic farce comedies to Japanese comedic mime artists, and from Hokkien stand-up to all-male ballet!
Richard Harding Gardner (Co-Founder & Artistic Director)
Richard started life as a professional actor, combining his two passions of travelling and theatre by working in the theatre in London, Madrid, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Houston and Los Angeles. Relocating to Los Angeles, he started writing and directing among other things, the stage play Pacific Palisades, episodes of Fox TV’s Small Wonder, and the film Sherlock: Undercover Dog for Columbia-Tri-Star.
Here in Malaysia, he has directed the stage productions of the Alan Ayckbourn play RELATIVELY SPEAKING, the comedy-with-music SOUVENIR, the musical comedies NUNSENSE and A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, as well as writing and directing both productions of CHARLEY’S AUNTIE! In Singapore, he directed SYLVIA. He has also written and directed several episodes of the RTM sitcom All Mixed Up! Although Richard has had to learn many new, non-theatre skills such as HTML, list management, graphics and video editing, his real interest is seeking out the pre-famous and the quirky, and persuading them to come to Malaysia! Among his and Chae Lian’s “finds” are PLUCK, GAMARJOBAT, MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL and STONES IN HIS POCKETS with its West End cast!
Richard was born in England, trained as an actor at The Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, and educated in the U.S. with a degree in Philosophy from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In earlier years, he was a member of British Actors’ Equity Association, American Actors’ Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the Writers Guild of America, west (WGAw) and the Film Workers’ Association of Malaysia – Persatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Filem Malaysia (PPFM).
Chae Lian (Co-Founder & Executive Director)
Chae Lian initially trained as a performer, first at La Salle-SIA College of the Arts in Singapore, and later in the USA, receiving her Honours degree in Drama (Acting) from Carnegie Mellon University. Returning to Malaysia, she spent two years as a Malaysian TV series regular in Ramona Rahman’s sitcom Life’s A Pitch! and Othman Hafsham’s sitcom All Mixed Up with Joanna Bessey, Rashid Salleh and Manesh Nesaratnam.
She co-founded Gardner & Wife Theatre with Richard in 2001 and since then, they have developed it into Malaysia’s leading presenter for family theatre. Chae Lian has produced over 20 local and international productions, developing extensive experience in dealing with multiple government agencies with regards to censorship, permits, taxes and immigration matters. In addition, she is a pioneer in arts marketing initiatives to further develop audiences for the performing arts in Kuala Lumpur.
In 2006, Chae Lian became the first South-East Asian recipient of the Fellowship in Arts Management programme which provided for a 10-month residency in Washington DC at the John F Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts, the national cultural institution of the United States of America. She was also awarded a scholarship by the International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA) to attend the 2007 Congress in New York City.
Natalie Chong (Producer)
Natalie Chong joined Gardner & Wife Theatre in 2006 as Media Manager. Since then she has become their General Manager, with the additional responsibilities of supervising accounting, office administration and marketing coordination.
An Honours graduate in Marketing from the University of Abertay Dundee, Natalie previously worked in a variety of industries including Information Technology, Market Research and Trading. She is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay, English and is now mastering Japanese!
In 2009, Natalie was awarded an arts management internship by the Association of Asian Performing Arts Festivals (AAPAF) and was assigned to the Hong Kong Arts Festival under the direct mentorship of Executive Director Ms. Tisa Ho.