Singapore Arts Festival 2004 ~A New Season Blossoms~


~ A New Season Blossoms ~


28 May to 20 June 2004


Delight in intensely colourful and glorious performances when Singapore’s annual celebration of the arts reaches full bloom this June.


As an international arts festival with a distinctive Asian flavour, the 2004 Singapore Arts Festival brings Singapore and Asia to the world and the world to Singapore with its new season featuring more than 300 performances by 1500 artists from over 32 cities.


"As a keen observer of the arts, I have seen the Singapore Arts Festival grow quickly in the last few years into a distinctive event marked by quality programming and artistic innovation. Now stepping into NAC as its CEO, and supported by the feedback I have received from my regional and international counterparts, I believe the Festival has truly earned and carved its place as an event of international repute admired for its commitment to artistic innovation, risk taking, enterprise, and collaboration. That the Festival has managed to achieve this accolade at a budget which is nearly half that of the major festivals in the region is indeed a remarkable feat. As a cultural centrepiece of Singapore, the Festival has become an important engine and catalyst in developing future generations of audiences for Singapore, in challenging our artists to greater heights, and in propelling Singapore forward as a global arts city." says Mr Lee Suan Hiang, Chief Executive Officer, National Arts Council.


International commissions, new and the latest works, young and emerging companies, and Singaporean artists in major collaborations continue to feature in the 2004 Festival.  Audiences will be engaged by the wide-ranging programmes from the best and latest in contemporary works to traditional classics, massive productions to intimate shows, which are accessible and affordable to all.


“This year, the Festival has further enhanced its tradition of presenting the best works from Singapore, Asia and around the World that are refreshing and have a wide audience appeal.  There will be something for everyone to appreciate and enjoy in this Festival, whether you are an arts aficionado or a casual browser of the arts.  We intend to connect you to the Festival,” says Mr Arun Mahizhnan, Chairman of the Singapore Arts Festival 2004 Steering Committee.

The 2004 Festival core programme presents four world premieres.  The Festival Gala features the highly sought-after young choreographer extraordinaire Akram Khan with his newest and biggest creation to date, Ma, oven-fresh from a two-week residency in Singapore.  Ma is a co-production between the Festival and other major festivals and arts centres from Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, UK and USA.  Two local theatres will present commissions based on historic events in the region.  TheatreWorks collaborates with Japanese and Australian artists to present Sandakan Threnody, an evocative account from wartime survivors of the Borneo death march at the end of the second World War.  Sandakan is jointly presented by the Festival with the Melbourne International Arts Festival and Brisbane Festival.  Checkpoint Theatre presents a chamber opera epic OPIUME, based on the opium wars and featuring music composed by Mark Chan, performed by T’ang Quartet, musicians from Hong Kong and western opera singers from Australia.  OPIUME is jointly presented with Hong Kong’s New Vision Arts Festival.  New exciting local dance group Ah Hock and Peng Yu will present PENG YU, an all-male alliance with choreographers and dancers from Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.


In addition, four international productions will make their Asian premieres at the Festival.  Celebrated Compañía Rafaela Carrasco from Spain bringing their contemporary interpretations of the emotive passion synonymous with flamenco in La Música del Cuerpo or The Music of the Body.  National Theatre of Northern Greece choreographer Konstantinos Rigos brings his edgy Swan Lake City, examining human behaviour in a trailer-park setting.  Outstanding Brazilian choreographer Deborah Colker brings her brand of exhilarating physical dance in MIX.  Also coming from the American continent to our side of the globe is Certain Inhabitants’ Theatre from Mexico with their theatre, silent film and Japanese silent film narration tradition benshi production El Automóvil Gris (The Grey Automobile).


This year’s Festival continues to offer a range of diverse productions, to enthrall, engage and entertain audiences.  The Singapore Symphony Orchestra presents a mammoth production of Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand, featuring 520 performers from East and West onstage.  Immerse yourself in an intense four-hour dramatisation of Shakespeare’s Othello by Lithuanian Meno fortas, the Guangzhou Cantonese Opera Troupe of China’s modern staging of Hua Yue Ying, and China Blue Sky Modern Drama Troupe’s fusion of modern theatre and Beijing Opera style interpretation of Ba Wang Bie Ji.  At the other end of the production scale are intimate shows by refreshing artists creating a storm on the international scene such as Secreto y Malibu from Argentina, Canada’s Dulcinea Langfelder & Co’s poignantly funny portrayal of a spirited Alzheimer patient, Australians Helen Herbertson and Ben Cobham’s Morphia Series, and Beijing folk rock by China’s Bob Dylan, Yang Yi.


The Festival’s Outreach component continues to bring delightful, interactive productions to places all around Singapore.  Exciting showcases to look out for include Urban Dream Capsule where four men will live in a window display downtown for two weeks, a 12-hour celebration of Indian music, food and dance in Maha Mela in Little India, Teater Ekamatra’s 6-episode traveling sitcom Mr Mamat Magik Melayu, four huge visual arts showcases on contemporary and pop art, and an arts carnival of shows and workshops for children in Kidsfest.  Closing Celebrations round off the Festival, in a pulsing, energizing and fiery performance by South Korean percussion ensemble Dulsori.


“The 2004 edition of the Festival presents a power-packed programme featuring artists from 23 countries and regions, 32 cities and 6 continents. From the streets of Little India to Orchard Road, from an Esprit shop window to the Esplanade theatres, from  the micro to the mega-scale, from 18-minute morsels to 4-hour tour de force, Festival audiences will be treated to a highly diverse range of performances created by the finest choreographers, directors, composers, performers and artists of today. Exploring a range of whimsical, light-hearted to the more introspective reflections of our individual and larger worlds, this year's programme guarantees to provide a total Festival experience that will be collectively delightful, moving and searing at the same time.”  says Ms Goh Ching Lee, Director (Programmes and International Development), National Arts Council.


Indeed a new season of the arts blossoms this year, guaranteed to make people marvel at Singapore’s dynamic offerings of the arts and culture.  Indulge yourself in the heady experience at the Singapore Arts Festival this June!


Please find the following annexes enclosed for information:


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