Celebrate 35 years of Singapore Arts Festival

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Hi Huneybees,

In its 35th year, the Singapore Arts Festival comes full circle with a programme line-up that celebrates communities in Singapore through a re-discovery of their untold stories. The Festival will see Singaporeans of all ages and walks of life, and local companies, contributing to the festival in different ways. Through stories, legends and myths, the 2012 Festival will bring audiences on a journey of self discovery through recollections of their past and interactions with their communities.

About the Singapore Arts Festival
Established to showcase Singapore’s diverse art communities in 1977, the Singapore Arts Festival has gained international acclaim with its cultural diversity and artistic innovation. The Festival, with its boldly progressive spirit, raises the bar each year by commissioning new works from within and out of Asia. The potent blend of artistry and culture inspires and captivates both practitioners and audiences. The Singapore Arts Festival 2012 will take place from 18 May to 2 June. The 2012 theme Our Lost Poems completes the trilogy of themes started two years ago - Between You and Me (2010) and I Want to Remember (2011). Over these 16 days, the city comes alive with an infusion of performances at the Festival’s hub – the Festival Village @ Esplanade Park and other key venues.

From 18 May to 2 June 2012, the Singapore Arts Festival will present 14 ticketed and 66 non-ticketed productions presented by more than 500 artists and groups from Singapore and across the globe. The Festival will showcase local and international acts, collaborations and projects that take audiences into exciting new venues, pushing the boundaries of traditional performance. This year’s festival completes this trilogy with the theme “Our Lost Poems”, which began two years ago with “Between You and Me” in 2010 and “I Want to Remember” in 2011.
“The Singapore Arts Festival 2012 not only offers audiences performances that touch the heart and stimulate the senses, it also provides a platform to engage with different communities in Singapore by providing them with unique opportunities to take part in the process of art-creation. We want the festival to continue to push the boundaries of how stories could be told and challenge our audience’s perceptions of the arts. All productions this year are shaped by that approach, together with elements of myths and legends, completing a three-year journey to address our collective memories and historical past.” --- Low Kee Hong, General Manager of the Singapore Arts Festival
Festival highlights

The Festival programme line-up this year boasts a strong repertoire of contemporary works rooted in Asian history and culture by local artists and groups. Performances such as The Flight of the Jade Bird by Mark Chan and LEAR DREAMING by TheatreWorks employ a multi-disciplinary approach through the infusion of various traditional arts forms with modern pop culture.

As a Festival with “something for everyone”, performances will explore themes that resonate well with any audience, Singaporean and foreigners alike; stories about love, identities, ageing, education, immigration, life and death. Works such as Mammalian Diving Reflex’s The Best Sex I’ve Ever Had, addresses the issues of identity, love and ageing through hilarious and heart-warming sessions with a group of female performers selected from the community.

Several of the works by international artists also capture the cultural nuances and context of Singapore and the region, through the collaborative efforts between the artist(s) and local communities. For example, artists, Stefan Kaegi (Germany), Lola Arias (Argentina) and Gerardo Naumann (Argentina) are currently working with local arts groups, Singapore Drama Educators Association and Drama Box, as well as the man-in-the-street, such as chambermaids and factory workers, to adapt their piece, Parallel Cities, to the local Singapore context.

More than 300 free performances at the Festival Village

The Festival Village is a key emphasis of the Festival this year. It will feature 8 performance spaces and play host to more than 300 free performances. Audiences will enjoy free performances from a wide range of artists and arts groups, ranging from the T’ang Quartet and Budak Pantai, to special showcases by professional traditional arts groups as well as children. A key highlight at this year’s Festival is the strong community involvement. Projects such as Bridge Café Project by Japanese artist, Kim Itoh, and Dream Country by Marion d’Cruz will bring a strong local community participation component to its programme, which audiences will enjoy.

The Village will also be home to the second edition of the Kids Arts Village, a not-to-be-missed experience curated, performed and managed entirely by children. The Festival Village is located at Esplanade Park and opens daily during the festival from 4:00pm – 12:00am on weekdays and 4:00pm – 1:00am on weekends.


Dance Vertical Road is a contemporary dance which draws inspiration from the Sufi tradition and the Persian poet and philosopher Rumi, Vertical Road sees an ensemble from across Asia, Europe and the Middle East, coming together in Anglo-Indian choreographer Akram Khan’s interpretation of the vertical connection between Heaven and Hell. Vertical Road promises a visceral evening of choreography that will rejuvenate even the weariest viewer’s love of dance. Theatre The Festival will feature a myriad of interesting theatre performances helmed by renowned local and international performers.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, based on Haruki Murakami’s novel looks set to take audience through a multimedia production led by American filmmaker Stephen Earnhart using a wide mix of art forms including bunraku-style puppetry, shadowplay, film and live music. Another production, LEAR DREAMING, based on Ong Keng Sen’s acclaimed Lear will feature a juxtaposition of different Asian cultures, languages and art forms, distilling the Shakespearean tragedy on patriarchy and succession through the purity of Japanese Noh theatre.

Chinese-speaking audiences can also look forward to 男男自语 (A Language of Their Own), a play written by Singapore playwright, Chay Yew. Originally scripted in English, the play was subsequently translated into Mandarin by Singapore theatre academic, Dr Robin Loon. 男男自语 explores a story of love, lies and loss, and tells the tale of four men, Ming, Oscar, Robert and Daniel, who battle their own demons while struggling to free one another from the ghosts of their past. Music There will also be delightful music features at this year’s Festival, helmed by a performance of Rite(s) of Spring, one of the most complex musical pieces known. Audience can expect to witness Igor Stravinsky’s ingenious classical piece being brought to new heights through an adaption of this original classic created composer Ho Chee Kong and played by young award-winning amateur orchestra, the Orchestra of Music Makers (OMM) and internationally renowned cellist Qin Liwei. Music will also be made to come to life through End of the Road, performed by a Massachusetts-based chorus group, Young @ Heart whose members falls within the grand age range of 70s, 80s and 90s. This performance promises to be a rock concert like no other and proves that age is no more than just a number.

Experiential The Festival is also set to excite audiences with a selection of experiential works. These include programmes such as “Ciudades Paralelas” or Parallel Cities, which is a series of projects that brings audiences to unconventional theatre spaces. Upon entry, audiences will be immersed into environments which they are familiar with yet oft-overlooked. Parallel Cities blends real life with art and theatrics to give audiences a new perspective to the way they see reality. They only come at night: Pandemic will bring vampire-loving audiences on a simulated RPG (role playing game) adventure, complete with multimedia and interactive installations.

Ever wondered how young people of our generation see life? Orchestrated by students aged 13 to 18, Advanced Studies in… (Ten Lessons for Life) is a one-on-one performance-based installation that will bring participants on an educational journey through the mind of Singaporean artist, Heman Chong, over the past 10 years.

Festival Village held at the Esplanade Park will feature an extensive free programme line-up suited for people of all ages. Anchor performance, Flux tells the story of mythical centaurs existing in our midst. With the half-man, half-horse creatures performing live at the Village, this will be an experience and a sight not to be missed. Everyone can look to spending some lively moments at a café which houses the Bridge Café Project, a local community arts project led by renowned Japanese choreographer Kim Itoh. Expect the friendly waiters to burst into sporadic and thoroughly entertaining dance routines as they perform to tunes familiar and well-loved by the local community.

The Kids Arts Village returns and promises an exciting experience for all. Featuring Tangle, an interactive play-space for children and families, children and adults alike are engaged in a process of transforming a space, weaving a web of thick textured lines that offers opportunity for physical engagement, artistic decision making, imaginative play and dramatic interaction. Tangle blends colour, people and texture to transform place and space, in what will be an iconic monument at the Festival Village.

For more information, visit www.singaporeartsfest.com.


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