Arts Festival Scores Record Audience Of Over 900, 000

 

A record-breaking 916,700 arts novices and connoisseurs alike enjoyed the selection of blooms at Singapore Arts Festival 2004 (SAF04), an increase of 2.6 times over last year. The strong turnout confirms that Singapore’s premier celebration of the arts is indeed a true people’s festival that reaches out to the masses. Its high visibility has also helped the arts event to achieve solid participation from the public.

 

A People’s Festival

The unprecedented audience numbers is attributed to the 879,615 people who attended the festival’s Outreach events (including Kidsfest). This year’s Arts Festival brought in a bonus of new audiences as Kidsfest drew 6,620 people to the 5-day event, which saw a best-ever house of over 90%. Innovation came out tops as well as some 600,000 hits online were logged on thewww.urbandream.com site during the 15 days that the Urban Dream Capsule installation show was staged in the Esprit shop window at Raffles City Shopping Centre.

 

In all, 34 of the 82 performances under the Festival’s core programme were sold out, achieving an overall house of 75.2%, surpassing last year’s figure of 74.8%.

 

Bold Programming

The festival also lived up to its reputation of showcasing daring, cutting edge works. The 24-day event is noteworthy for offering audiences bold, unique experiences in its programming and scope. For instance, traditional arts forms were presented in new ways and settings, such as Akram Khan Company’s ma, which combined classical Indian kathak dance with contemporary techniques, Compañia Rafaela Carrasco’s flamenco, Sunada Pravaham (Musical Cascade) and The Guangzhou Cantonese Opera Troupe of China’s Hua Yue Ying at Esplanade Theatre. Alliances with more partners, such as The Arts House and Esplanade, also helped to enlarge the festival’s range and reach. For example, new venues were utilised, such as The Arts House at The Old Parliament for Late Shows, and the Victoria Theatre/Arts House precinct to stage the Gala opening festivities.

 

In terms of  scope, arts lovers were able to take in a variety of shows, from a solo 18-minute dance performance of Morphia Series by Australian Helen Herbertson, to a 4-hour dramatisation of Shakespeare’s Othello by Lithuanian group Meno fortas, and Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s mammoth staging of Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand, featuring 520 performers.

 

The festival’s interactive elements also found favour with audiences, shown in the enthusiastic turnouts for the Urban Dream Capsule (150,000) and the closing celebrations by Korean percussion group Dulsori (21,000).

 

Strengthening Of Global Connections

Singapore’s position as a global arts city was also strengthened through a cementing of international linkages, as several international networking opportunities took place during and around the festival period. Multi-country collaborations resulted in world premieres such as Akram Khan’s pioneering two-week residency at Victoria Theatre and staging of ma, TheatreWorks’ Sandakan Threnody (which included artists from Australia, Japan and Singapore), and PENG YU by Ah Hock & Peng Yu, featuring artists from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Australia and Singapore. Singapore also played host to two significant conferences, the 10th annual conference of Performance Studies International – Perform: State: Interrogate, as well as the inaugural 3-day meeting of the Association of Asia Performing Arts Festivals. The Festival was the centre of international media attention with 54 foreign print and broadcast media from 14 countries and regions converging in Singapore to cover the event.

 

More Partners

There was a record total of 70 sponsors this year, 16 of which were new partners, giving cash sponsorship of $2.29 million and in-kind sponsorship worth $1.91 million.

 

The National Arts Council is pleased to have brought the arts to everyone and would like to thank artists, sponsors, partners as well as the media for their strong support. 

 

Annexes

  • Annex I  - Report Card
  • Annex II - Fact Sheet