Singapore Arts Festival 2007:Celebrating 30 Years As Singapore's Premier Arts Event

 

25 May – 24 June 2007

 

The Singapore Arts Festival today announced full details of its 30th anniversary programme. In a diverse programme stretching over five weeks, it will feature more than 1,900 artists from over 27 countries performing in 22 main productions and 400 free performances, exhibitions and special events. In store for the public are six world premieres and five Asian premieres, including 2 co-productions involving arts groups fromCambodia, Scotland and Singapore.  Organised by the National Arts Council of Singapore, the Festival is noted for its progressive programming and emphasis on artistic innovation. Under its well-loved Outreach programme, this year’s Festival also continues to bring almost 400 free events to the public.

 

“I am pleased to unveil this year’s programme that further bears the Festival’s hallmarks of quality, innovation and adventure, with works that please as well as confront. Featuring contemporary presentations that confront and bridge different genres and traditions, an invigorating line-up of contemporary dance, re-imaginings of well-loved theatre classics, as well as new visions of music by some of the world’s leading art makers today await audiences this year,” said Goh Ching Lee, Director for the Singapore Arts Festival.

 

Commenting on the Festival’s contributions to arts development in Singapore over the years, Lee Suan Hiang, Chief Executive Officer of the National Arts Council added, “The Festival is a pioneer in the Singapore arts scene and the country’s first homegrown iconic arts event. Over the last three decades, it has been a catalytic engine behind Singapore’s dynamic arts development, championing artistic excellence while opening possibilities for artists here and abroad. In celebrating these contributions, we invite audiences to a fresh experience of the Festival which promises to be exciting, engaging and immensely rewarding.”

 

The Festival sees a regional attendance of approximately 4,000 visitors every year, with overseas visitors catching performances from its eclectic month-long schedule of world-class dance, drama and music events, while enjoying the many other lifestyle experiences that Singapore offers during their stay. A destination that is a unique blend of the best of the modern world and rich cultures, cosmopolitan Singapore brims with exciting shopping, dining and entertainment experiences throughout the year, as well as dusk-till-dawn dance parties and a pulsating nightlife. For the months of May and June, Singapore lines up a smorgasbord of leisure options for visitors, including signature annual events and others such as the islandwide Great Singapore Sale, Singapore International Racing Festival, Aviva Open Singapore, Singapore Food Festival, apart from the Singapore Arts Festival.

 

At its launch today, the Festival also unveiled a commissioned art installation titledProject:Eden at Raffles City Shopping Centre. Conceived by Singaporean artist Donna Ong, a 40-foot container has been transformed into an interactive work evoking echoes of the Festival’s history. Open daily to the public from today till the end of the Festival, the artwork also integrates The Festival Nest – a hub where the public can find information and latest updates on the Festival.

 

Key Anniversary Initiatives

In connection with its 30th anniversary, the Festival has initiated a number of projects which mark further milestones in its continued growth.

 

To provide a critical insight into the festival’s role and value to local arts development, a commemorative publication will be launched during the 2007 Festival. Detailing the history and contributions of the Festival, it will capture the voices of the larger community that has been part of its 30 year journey.

 

In June, the Festival will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the prestigious Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) to support mutual touring and co-commissioning. This will be the first such strategic alliance that the EIF is inking with an overseas counterpart. Marking the MOU, the Singapore Arts Festival commissioned co-productionOptical Identity, a music theatre collaboration between UK’s Theatre Cryptic andSingapore’s T’ang Quartet, will become the first production in EIF’s main programme featuring Singapore artists. Optical Identity will premiere in the Singapore Arts Festival in June before travelling to Edinburgh later this year.

 

In another first, the Singapore Arts Festival will also inaugurate the Singapore Festival Orchestra (SFO), led by music director Chan Tze Law. Serving as the Festival’s resident orchestra, it will meet its specific programming needs and help diversify its programming. The SFO will comprise practising professional musicians and professionally trained musicians in Singapore. The SFO will give its inaugural performance in the Asian Premiere of PLAY! A Video Game Symphony, featuring award-winning music from popular video games and accompanying video images.

 

A fourth anniversary-related initiative continues the Festival’s tradition of nurturing artistic excellence. A number of new programmes will aim to support the development ofSingapore’s next generation of art makers. Following last year’s successful Forward Moves, the dance development platform for young choreographers, a new platform for local theatre will be launched this year. Titled Full Frontal, the new programme features emerging directorial talent revisiting known texts from Singapore’s theatre canon. Forward Moves will present its second edition with three choreographers premiering exciting new works. Three dramaturges, namely Tang Fu Kuen, Robin Loon, and Kok Heng Leun, have been appointed to support the creative process under these two platformsIn addition, to support our rising young classical music soloists, the SFO’s Festival Fantasia will feature pianist Abigail Sin and violinist Loh Jun Hong in their Festival debuts.

 

As appropriate for a celebration of its anniversary, the 2007 Festival will open at the historicPadang with Dreams In Flight, a large scale aerial theatrical work by La Fura dels Baus (Spain). Specially created for the Festival, the multi-sensory theatrical experience will feature brilliant pyrotechnic displays.

 

Programme Highlights

The main programme will feature contemporary dance luminaries such as ballerina Sylvie Guillem in Akram Khan Company’s production Sacred Monsters (France/UK), the Bill T Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company (USA) in Blind Date, and Japanese choreographer Saburo Teshigawara and his company KARAS (Japan) in Bones In Pages. Michèle Anne De Mey, will also be making her Festival debut in Sinfonia Eroicaby Charleroi/Danses (Belgium).

 

Also featured are contemporary renditions of some of the best-known classics in theatre, including Mabou Mines’ DollHouse directed by Lee Breuer (USA), Beijing Ren (Peking Man) by the Beijing People’s Art Theatre (China), and Romeo and Juliet by the OKT/Vilnius City Theatre (Lithuania). In the Festival co-production 3 years, 8 months, 20 days, the Amrita Performing Arts (Cambodia) weaves memories of the Pol Pot regime into a play under the helm of director Annmarie Prins.

 

In what Festival Director Goh Ching Lee calls “seeing music”, the Festival has adopted an approach to music programming that will explore the visual language and interdisciplinarity of music. This will be seen in productions such as Optical Identity;PLAY! A Video Game Symphony; and The Map and Paper Concerto by the Oscar-winning composer Tan Dun with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (USA/Singapore).

 

Other music productions including An Arabian Passion by the Ensemble Sarband & Modern String Quartet (Germany/Lebanon/Iraq), Taraf de Haïdouks (Romania), Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Bavarian Radio Chorus) from Germany, and Asian Infusions by the homegrown Singapore Chinese Orchestra (Singapore), will be presenting blends of music that cross genres and cultural borders.

 

The Festival also continues one of its key emphases - putting the spotlight on Singaporetalent. In world premieres commissioned by the Festival, audiences can expect new work such as Wong Kar Wai Dreams by The Finger Players; Cogito by Checkpoint Theatre; and the multidisciplinary Dreaming of Kuanyin, Meeting Madonna by Mark Chan and The ARTS FISSION Company. Singapore’s “King of Swing” and Cultural Medallion recipient Jeremy Monteiro will also take to the stage with star jazz musicians Jimmy Cobb, Jay Anderson, Bob Sheppard and Roberta Gambarini (Singapore /USA/Italy).

 

Under the Festival’s extensive outreach programme, a range of entertaining and interactive events are performed free to the public. Family Funfest has been introduced, aiming to provide educational and fun performances and workshops for the entire family. For the very first time, the Festival will also feature two District Arts Festivals – the North East Dance Festival, and South West District Arts Festival – in the heartlands as a result of the PA-NAC Memorandum of Understanding signed last year.

 

Events such as Arts on the Move, Asian Showcase, and Closing Celebrations return this year. Besides bringing three full weeks of daily performances to Orchard Road, Arts on the Move will also be bringing free performances to the patients and visitors at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Singapore General Hospital. The Festival will also awe audiences with outdoor events such as Proteo Project Vertical Dance – NEOS, a breathtaking performance by Company Il Posto (Italy) in which dancers suspended against the building façade move gracefully to the accompaniment of live music. In Asian Showcase, the rich traditions of Asia feature in Pasar TheatreCantonese Opera Delights, the Malay musical theatre Gentarasa 2007- Titisan Cacamerba (Chaotic Droplets), and Water – A Musical Tribute. As a regular highlight, the Closing Celebrations will bring the Festival to a close with Time Out by antagon theaterAKTion (Germany), featuring body-theatre, live music, projections and spectacular pyrotechnics.

 

Workshop, Masterclass & Talks

Following the success of the 5-day theatre workshop by the renowned director Anne Bogart in 2006, the Festival will be presenting a public talk and a 2-day Workshop for Actors and Directors by acclaimed director Lee Breuer and actress Maude Mitchell from Mabou Mines (USA). Breuer and Mitchell will share their expertise in Postmodern Performance and the Meisner acting technique respectively in this rare training opportunity.

 

The Associate Artistic Director of the Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company (USA)Janet Wong will also be conducting a masterclass on choreographer Bill T Jones’ repertory uses yoga, classical and contemporary dance techniques to offer participants insights to the physical and creative demands of Jones’s movement.

 

Almost all the productions will also feature pre- or post-show talks with the artistic directors and key artists. For more information, please visit www.singaporeartsfest.com.

 

More information on Festival shows can be found in www.singaporeartsfest.com.

 

Please find the following annexes enclosed for information:

Annex 1 – Key Dates

Annex 2 – Fact Sheet

Annex 3 – Summary of Productions

Annex 4 – Discount and Ticketing Details

Annex 5 – List of Festival Partners