Singapore Arts Festival 2003


~Be Bitten by the Arts Bug~



30 May to 22 June 2003


Be seduced by the inspiring performances by over 100 arts groups from 27 countries and regions at the Singapore Arts Festival 2003 this June. An international arts festival with a distinctive Asian flavour, Singapore's premier annual arts event features the best from Singapore, Asia and the world.


Interdisciplinary and cross-cultural ventures and themes mark this year’s core programme, with Singaporean artists taking the centrestage in major collaborative commissions. A number of fresh, emerging artists and productions will also make their first international Festival debut in Singapore. The Festival continues to engage audiences with the cutting edge, while satisfying the wide tastes of audiences with a range from the contemporary to the classical presented in refreshing perspectives.


"This year's offerings promise to be as bold and risk-taking as before, featuring quality productions which will not only satisfy the most avid arts enthusiasts, but also entertain a wide range of audiences. Come and catch some of the leading names in the international arts scene, as well as some of our most innovative Singapore arts groups, in productions which will leave you exhilarated and clamouring for more," says Professor Bernard Tan, Chairman of the Singapore Arts Festival 2003 Steering Committee.


Making their world premieres are 4 local interdisciplinary and collaborative works: The Festival Gala brings together a concert experience of music, poetry, calligraphy, sculpture and multimedia as World Economic Forum Crystal Award recipient Tan Swie Hian performs with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra in Instant is a Millennium - A Musical Conversation with Tan Swie Hian. In another Festival commission, the life of Guatama Buddha inspires a work about contemporary travel in the aptly titledThe Global Soul – the Buddha project by TheatreWorks. The Necessary Stage’s REVELATIONSexplodes with a narrative tapestry of stories, images, movement and soundscape, culminating in an overarching theme of hope and salvation in seeming chaos. In an alliance of Asia's leading dance companies, the Singapore Dance Theatre collaborates with Japanese choreographer Sakiko Oshima and lead dancer Naoko Shirakawa of H. Art Chaos in Le Festin d’Immortalité.


Meanwhile, 8 international productions will make their Asian premieres at the festival. Catch the multicultural, multimedia production of Alladeen by The Builders Association (USA) & moti roti (UK) as they bring you to the global hybrid cities of New York, London and Bangalore. Dynamic multi-talented Meredith Monk (USA), a pioneer of interdisciplinary performance collaborates with site-specific installation artist Ann Hamilton in Mercy. Handspring Puppet Company (South Africa) brings puppet theatre to adults in their multimedia piece Confessions of Zeno that also weaves live music and theatre action. Catch choreographer Daniela Kurz’s first creation of a dance opera in the Ballet Nürnberg / Oper Nürnberg (Germany) production of The Fall of the House of Usher. Ballet National de Marseille's (France) doublebill of Vita / Fleur d’Automne and National Theatre of Northern Greece choreographer Konstantinos Rigos’ edgy Swan Lake City, complete the offerings of top international acts that make their way to our side of the globe.


Other exceptional artists and companies will make their presence at the festival. They include the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, harmonica legend Toots Thielemans, Meno fortas, as well as Singapore composer Mark Chan with his score to the production Little Toys: Chinese Film Classic with Live Music, a co-commission with the Hong Kong Arts Festival that had a triumphant Hong Kong premiere.


In addition, fresh new artists will make their first major international festival debut in Singapore. Look out for the first and only professional Filipino chorus The San Miguel Master Chorale; Mexican singer Lila Downs fresh from the Oscar Awards ceremony singing the nominee for Best Original Song featured in the movie Frida; and Indian director Veenapani Chawla with the Adishakti Theatre Company.


"The Festival yet again upholds its adventurous spirit in both inviting and commissioning works that push artistic boundaries, exploring the intersections of several genres that embrace music, theatre, dance, opera, film, puppetry, literature, and the visual arts. As outstanding as those by well-known names in the Festival, are the works by emergent artists and companies who are making their first appearance in a major international festival. They are important names to watch and the Singapore Arts Festival is indeed proud to introduce them onto the world stage." says Ms Goh Ching Lee, Director (Programme Development).


Regular Festival components will continue to promise something for everyone. Arts on the Move will bring over 200 free arts performances to places all around Singapore while Weekend Highlights will keep your June weekends busy. Children will delight in performances at Kidsfest and Closing Celebrations will round off the festival, in a rousing, fiery performance.


Other initiatives are also in place to provide greater access to the festival and bring the productions and people closer together. The public can learn more about the shows and decide what they want to catch through a series of pre-Festival talks lined up in May, as well as post-show talks with the artists. The Festival website will provide new user-friendly tools such as a PDA download of the festival calendar, email reminders on shows, multiple show booking functions and interactive calendar of events. The improved Festival hotline will provide fax-on-demand functions and direct connection to book tickets. The Arts Festival Club will also hold a preview for members on 3 April when ticket sales open to provide more information and top seat choices. Arts Festival members will also enjoy 10% off F&B bill at the Colours by the Bay restaurants at the Esplanade from May to June 2003. Student vouchers and packaged shows are also being planned for schools to give the young a chance to catch these top-notch productions.


Many of the Festival's audiences have been bitten by the Arts bug over the years. Consequently, the reputation of the Festival has been enhanced through their spreading the word about what the Festival has to offer. The exhilaration of the Singapore Arts Festival experience is indeed catching and to communicate this, this year's Festival has adopted the marketing tagline of "Be bitten by the Arts bug".


Experience it for yourself: Be bitten by the Arts bug and be smitten by the Singapore Arts Festival this June!



  • Annex 1 – Key Dates
  • Annex 2 – Fact Sheet
  • Annex 3 – Summary of Productions
  • Annex 4 – Discounts & Ticketing Schemes
  • Annex 5 – List of Festival Partners