SINGAPORE ARTS FESTIVAL 2008 Festival Outreach Goes Places




Festival Outreach Goes Places



23 May – 22 June 2008


The Singapore Arts Festival (SAF) 2008 announced its eclectic and entertaining lineup of Outreach activities today. To mark the Festival Outreach launch, Chief Executive Officer of the National Arts Council, Mr Lee Suan Hiang, officially opened the Festival Maze located outside the Raffles City Shopping Centre.


No space is spared when the Festival’s Outreach programme kicks off on 23 May, when some 1,065 artists from Singapore and around the world pack their bags, slap on the makeup and come to a venue near you. Over 450 free arts performances and events will wade their way into daily life, bringing the pulse of Singapore’s premier arts event to the people nation-wide.


Reaching Audiences in New Ways

The Festival consistently engages audiences less familiar with the arts, cultivatingSingapore’s appetite for new artistic tastes and raising the level of audience sophistication. The Festival’s free programmes will bring the arts to the doorsteps, showing up all overSingapore when and where people least expect.


A first for the Festival and the Singapore urban jungle, the Festival Maze titleddisSPACEments is an installation by local designer Chia Yu Hsien, commissioned by the SAF. The public is invited to wander through the maze of towers and lose their way among three-dimensional forms of photographic memories and hints of what is to come of the Festival. Strategically situated at the busy junction outside Raffles City, the Festival Maze temporarily adds new dimension and depth to the Singapore cityscape.


In a new partnership with the PUB and Singapore International Water Week, the seriesWater Wonders will see artists get their feet wet. From the historical Padang last year, this year’s Festival Opening goes to the equally iconic Boat Quay. Acclaimed French streettheatre company Ilotopie brings Water Fools aboard the Singapore River, where whimsical water creatures, giant mechanical sets and dazzling fireworks celebrate the opening of SAF with a multi-sensory splash. For the first time, the Festival Closing Celebrations will take place at a reservoir. The Lunatics (The Netherlands) will close the Festival, when they turn the serene Bedok Reservoir into a stage for the complex theatrical acts and spectacular sights in the world premiere of their latest water-fantasy Hydro Sapiens.


The well-loved Arts on the Move (AOTM) segment is poised to bring three weeks of daily performances to public focal points. The Festival, in collaboration with the National Environment Agency, serves up four weekends of street performances at four of the island’s most popular hawker centres – Tampines Round Market and Food Centre, Newton Food Centre, Tiong Bahru Market, and East Coast Lagoon Food Village, in the new addition of Arts Where We Eat.


From the French gentleman playing melodies in Pomme D’or’s Macadam Piano, to the Belgian marching mavens of La Guardia Flamenca sauntering their mix of flamenco, zapateado and palmas, each hawker haunt is treated to its own unique combination of programmes. Hawker fare has never tasted so good!


Touching another aspect of daily Singapore life, AOTM transports the arts to the MRT lines where commuters find that ticket fares could include more than just a ride. Giraffes by Xirriquiteulateatre (Spain) enact savannah scenes with life-size giraffes at the Woodlands and Ang Mo Kio MRT Stations. Three Tai Tais walk as much as they talk, complete with ‘power’ hairdos and glittery jewellery. Catch them on the trains between the City Hall, Dhoby Ghaut and Orchard MRT Stations.  This Festival Outreach commission treats passengers to a whole new concept of mobile entertainment - minus the gadgets.


Inspirations from Our Cultural Roots

Returning to Festival Outreach is the Asian Showcase, which draws from the wells of Asian cultures, celebrating diversity and individuality all at once. In Maha Mela, artists from Bhaskar’s Arts Academy, Sri Warisan Som Said Performing Arts and the Chinese Opera Institute perform in a dusk-to-dawn special on an open field in Little India. Expect a multicultural reinterpretation of an epic from the Bhagavatham text of Hindu literature, Wayang Kulit and Chinese opera warrior dances in all the same breath. When the sun rises, the Gitanjali group provides musical accompaniment for a mass Yoga session, open to all yogis!


Other events in the Asian Showcase feature equally rich Asian traditions. Gentarasa 2008 Metamorphosis charts the evolution of the Malay performing arts over the past 20 years, while the Wuchuan City Cantonese Opera Troupe (China) brings audiences back in time when it performs the Cantonese Opera Showcase. From Bengkulu, Indonesia, the Mayang Sari Group showcases big 90cm-wide Dol Buai drums and even bigger Bengkulu tribal sounds in a pulsating performance.


Spotlight on Singapore Artists

In line with the Festival’s commitment to supporting and nurturing local talent, this year’s Festival Outreach features two new commissions. Both in the realm of street theatre, these new works underline the Festival’s groundwork in cultivating the still nascent industry ofSingapore street art. Apart from Three Tai Tais, Frontier Danceland will perform One Table Three Chairs to peak hour crowds at Clarke Quay. A dance-theatre exploring themes of family, love and duty, four young artists tell a poignantly Singaporean story.


The Festival Outreach will also roll out the stage for Singapore artists at the Raffles City Shopping Centre. A professional all-girl team Nanu renders powerful vocals in a repertoire of pop and R&B. Winners from the 2007 National Piano and Violin Competition Cao Qi andAlan Choo will show what their wins were made of, while Sri Mahligai will stir a song-and-dance mix of dondang sayang, joget, ronggeng and Middle Eastern musical elements. Maya Dance Theatre’s Bitter Chocolate explores themes of identity, connections and journeys using a cross-disciplinary approach of dance, movement, poetry, narratives, music, and theatre.


On the visual arts front, one of Singapore’s most internationally recognised artists Matthew Ngui will make his Festival debut with his first solo exhibition in Singapore titled Matthew Ngui: Points of ViewSingapore sound artist Yuen Chee Wai brings a subtle installation work Transient Light Whispering Breeze, together with Spanish artist Ruben Ramos Balsa.


Taking the festivity to the streets, the Singapore Street Festival is back with an electric showcase of youthful energy and creativity, featuring exciting events such as break dance and yo-yo competitions for Singapore youths. The Esplanade’s Flipside will featureSingapore artists in its free performances, alongside ticketed shows by foreign arts groups such as Australia’s The Kransky Sisters and Germany’s Christian von Richthoften. The Festival Club also turns up the groove while continuing to champion Singapore musicians, by bringing more of the best local Indie music onto the stages of Timbre @ The Arts House and Timbre @ The Substation. Join in jam sessions and mingle with artists at Blues at the House and Rock The Sub, both boasting a back-to-back line up of some of Singapore’s and the region’s top bands.


KIDSFEST 2008: Forest In The City

A festival for the young and the young at heart, KIDSFEST throws new thrills and skills aimed at capturing the hearts and minds of its audiences. It will be the first time KIDSFEST carries its own theme - Forest In The City - one that weaves ideas of recycling and going green through its theatre programmes, competitions, taster workshops and even a crayon mural.


From 21 to 27 May, KIDSFEST will transform the Drama Centre into a dedicated venue for children to discover more about the arts. A delightful array of shows like Tacomitac(Switzerland), Monster Hits (UK) and Robinson Crusoe (Singapore) await wide eyes and wonder. Primary schools all over Singapore will submit their best participants to the SPIN A TALE Storytelling Competition and the VITAGEN SCULPTURE SCHOOL CHALLENGE. In an important move to encourage early participation in the arts, a week-long calendar of taster workshops for children below the age of 12 promises to provide introductory exposure to theatre, music, dance, and visual arts. Be it Comedy by ChildrenPoetry with Puppetsor Percussion Music, these and all other workshops are conducted by experienced arts practitioners. Tickets are available at all SISTIC outlets.


Another initiative to bring the arts to the young is the introduction of free daily lunchtime shows. From performances by schools (Methodist Girls’ Primary School, St. Anthony’s Canossian Secondary School and Anglo Chinese Junior College etc ) and Dance Circle Studios, to the White Forest Installation by the LASALLE Faculty of Foundation Studies. There will be different events to look forward everyday.


For more information on the Festival Outreach programme, please refer to



  • Opening of Festival Maze-- 8 May
  • KIDSFEST21 – 27 May
  • Festival Opening Water Fools at Boat Quay -- 23 – 25 May
  • Arts On The Move -- 23 May – 15 June
  • Arts Where We Eat
  1. Tampines Round Market and Food Centre --  24 - 25 May
  2. Newton Food Centre -- 31 May - 1 June                      
  3. Tiong Bharu Market  -- 7 – 8 June
  4. East Coast Lagoon Food VIllage   -- 14-15 June
  • Asian Showcase --  31 May – 20 June
  • Visual Arts --  9 May – 27 July
  • Singapore Street Festival -- 24 May – 8 June
  • North East District Arts Festival -- 7 – 21 June
  • Flipside  -- 29 May – 22 June
  • Closing Celebrations Hydro Sapiens at Bedok Reservoir        20 – 22 June


Please refer to the annex for ticketing information for events under the Festival Outreach umbrella.