Singapore Arts Festival 2009: Encompassing, Engaging, Exhilarating (15 May – 14 June 2009)


Singapore Arts Festival 2009:


Encompassing, Engaging, Exhilarating


15 May – 14 June 2009


The Singapore Arts Festival 2009 announced details of its 2009 programme and ticket specials for patrons today. The Festival organised by the National Arts Council will be showcasing 26 core productions and over 400 free outreach performances, exhibitions and special events that promise to enthrall, engage and uplift the spirits.


The programme features 7 new commissions, which include 2 world premieres and 1 Asian premiere co-commissioned with international partners, and 5 other Asian premieres. The Festival will see a broad and inclusive programme ranging from premier classics to contemporary creations, while it continues its strategic role as a global connector in the international festival circuit, a champion of Singapore arts and artists, and a national platform for the people to engage in the arts.


Said Ms Goh Ching Lee, Senior Director for Performing Arts and Director for Singapore Arts Festival, National Arts Council, “As the premier national performing arts platform, we seek to reflect and respond to international trends as well as to add value to the needs of our artists and audiences in developing Singapore arts scene with a progamme that is relevant to our times. This year’s Festival brings a broad range of works that we are confident will resonate strongly with our artist communities, audiences and stakeholders. Pervading the programme is a sense of dare and playfulness that is laced with poetry and elegance, offering our audiences different entry points of appreciation and participation. They bear the Festival’s signature strengths of bringing new perspectives to cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary work that continues to secure the Festival's reputation for artistic innovation.”


The Festival will commence a week earlier this year, on 15 May 2009, to integrate partially with the school term to enable the delivery of special education programmes to primary, secondary and tertiary students. Besides cultivating young audiences through an inspiring and educational arts experience, the Festival also aims to facilitate the exposure of students in our arts colleges to international professional work. Prices have also been revised to afford all audiences access to performances by the best in the performing arts from Singapore and around the world. Ticket sales starts on 4 March 2009.


Singapore Arts Makers and New Commissions

Following the string of successful international collaborations that it had catalysed in previous editions, the Festival returns with three new co-commissions with international arts festivals. The Festival joins hands with Napoli Teatro Festival Italia for the second time, to co-commission and coproduce Visible Cities by Singapore playwright Chay Yew and Italian Director Giogio Barberio Corsetti. This work will travel to Naples after its world premiere in Singapore. Another cocommission, Body Swap by Singapore choreographer Joavien Ng, will premiere at Kampnagel in Hamburg, Germany in May 2009 before making its way to the dance creation platform Forward Moves at the Singapore Arts Festival. Two theatre companies, Singapore’s Spell#7 and the United Kingdom’s (UK) Bodies in Flight will be co-producing an ambulant audio performance Dream-Work/Dream-Home. This creation will be later presented at the Inbetween Time Festival of Live Art and Intrigue in Bristol, UK.


Singapore theatre talent will also bring new works to the stage, including Toy Factory Productions Ltd’s The Crab Flower Club, which draws inspiration from poems from Dreams of the Red Chamber, and Nelson Chia’s directorial debut in the Festival with LIV on the platform for theatre talent Full Frontal. Dance choreographer daniel k returns to Forward Moves with a new full length work Q&A, while experimental band The Observatory collaborates with visual artist/ filmmaker Ho Tzu Nyen to present a multimedia concert titled Invisible Room. Singapore audiences will also become the performers themselves in a public café, in the boutique production Etiquette by UK theatre group, Rotozaza.


Be prepared for creative sparks to fly when Singapore’s “King of Swing” Jeremy Monteiro meets classical music ensemble T’ang Quartet in their first-ever concert together, with American jazz stars Randy Brecker, Ernie Watts and Richard Jackson. Singapore composer Kelly Tang will also be contributing new music commissioned for this performance by the Festival. Video game fans can look forward to a fantastical experience of the mesmerising music and state-of-the-art images at Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy. The Festival’s resident orchestra, Singapore Festival Orchestra, will perform the award-winning soundtrack of the video game classic together with Victoria Chorale and The Vocal Consort under the baton of renowned American conductor Arnie Roth.


Award Winners and Arts Masters

This year’s Festival features a stellar lineup of internationally regarded and decorated virtuosi. Besides the Grammy Award-winning musicians Randy Brecker and Arnie Roth, Russia’s eminent violist, Yuri Bashmet and the 30-member Moscow Soloists also have a Grammy under their belts.


The ensemble will be performing two concerts at the Festival, joined by the Moscow State Chamber Choir at the first concert. The distinguished Moscow State Chamber Choir, helmed by esteemed conductor Vladimir Minin, will also present a showcase of Russian vocal music.


Two-time Grammy winner, South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo, will present a powerful a cappella performance rooted in indigenous Zulu sounds and spiritual traditions. Also hailing from South Africa, the Isango Portobello company performs The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo, which won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival in 2008 for its exuberant version of

Mozart’s classic opera. Another award winner is Latvia’s New Riga Theatre, which brings Long Life, the 2005 Grand PRIX winner at Belgrade’s International Theatre Festival BITEF. Nordic dance group, Finnish National Ballet, will stage Anna Karenina, which won the choreographer Alexei Ratmansky the Benois de la Danse Award for Choreography, the Oscars of the dance world, in 2005.


Works by masters are also in the lineup. Theatre director and founder of the Suzuki Method of Actors Training, Tadashi Suzuki will present his intense mix of Greek and Asian theatre forms in Electra, performed by The Suzuki Company of Toga from Japan. Lin Zhaohua, one of China’s leading directors, makes his debut outside China with his adaptation of one of Anton Chekhov’s well-loved works The Cherry Orchard (樱桃园). From Sweden, Cullberg Ballet brings the Asian premiere double-bill of Aluminium and As If by celebrated choreographers Mats Ek and Johan Inger.


UK’s spunky Mercury Prize-nominated pianist, Joanna MacGregor, will also be here to perform a repertoire from Bach, Shostakovich and her own transcriptions of Piazzzolla tangos. Intercultural, Interdisciplinary Encounters Audiences will find traditional Chinese cultural forms taking new dimensions in two productions.


Accomplished Flemish-Moroccan dancer and choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui performs with monks from Henan’s Shaolin Temple in his new work, Sutra, on a set designed by UK renowned visual artist Antony Gormley. The traditional Chinese puzzle game, tangram, has also inspired French choreographer Aurélien Bory’s circus dance theatre production Seven Boards of Tricks (Les Sept Planches de la Ruse) performed by Chinese opera peformers and Bory’s Compagnie 111.


Hip-hop enthusiasts will also see the street dance taken to new heights in Brazilian dance group Grupo de Rua’s H³, and creatively blended with traditional Papuan movement and contemporary dance in Indonesian choreographer Jecko Siompo’s Terima Kost. Chile’s Compañia Teatrocinema blurs the line between theatre and cinema in its movie-theatre thriller Sin Sangre (Without Blood). In Ruhe, Belgium’s Muziektheater Transparent and Collegium Vocale Gent create a haunting and startling verbatim theatre experience within a Schubert song recital.


Public Outreach and School Engagement

The Festival reaches out to the public at an exciting array of venues. It will open at the new Marina Barrage with a magnificent large-scale show, and end with a spectacular Closing Celebrations at Yishun Central 1. The month-long Festival also features a broad range of Festival Outreach events for the young and old, ranging from the Asian Showcase and Arts On The Move to Family Funfest, a 3-day festival for the family. The Festival will be working with the Esplanade, PUB, Singapore Street Festival, Community Development Councils, and other partners to bring the arts to the wider community.


To build stronger links with schools, arts communities and the public, the Festival has launched a new FEST CONNECT initiative. The Festival began engaging the schools in early February, by providing recommendations of programmes suitable for different age groups, and information on discounts and special activities for the schools.


Under the new initiative, the Festival has also introduced 11 Arts Education Programmes (AEPs). Specially developed in partnership with Singapore Drama Educators Association, Drama Box, Singapore Lyric Opera, MOVING ARTS and The Triqnaqi, these interactive workshops and talks are offered in conjunction with eight Festival productions, namely The Cherry Orchard, Long Life, Electra, Sutra, H³, Terima Kost, Seven Boards of Tricks and The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo. Through these partnerships, the Festival aims to strengthen the Singapore arts community’s engagement with and ownership of the Festival, and widen the students’ exposure to and appreciation of homegrown arts and artists. These AEPs are endorsed under NAC’s Arts Education Programme, and are available now for booking by schools from the primary to tertiary levels. For the first time, the Festival will be launching a range of public programmes under FEST CONNECT before the Festival starts. The public can attend a series of free engagement activities Festival Chats, or attend Festival Forums at The Substation to learn more about some of the Festival productions, the personalities behind them and the festival-making process. Ticketed workshops conducted by some of the artists will also be available for public participation.


Festival Ticket Specials and Treats

In order to maintain the Festival accessibility in view of the current economic climate, ticket prices have been reduced by 20%, starting at $16 for some shows. A range of early bird discounts are also available to offer patrons savings off regular ticket prices if they purchase tickets to multiple shows, including exclusive discounts of up to an unprecedented 30% for ArtsFest Club members for a limited period from 4 to 8 March 2009. ArtsFest Club membership is free and all are welcome to register and take advantage of its attractive offers.


During the Early Bird Sales from 9 March to 12 April 2009, patrons can save up to 25% off ticket prices for purchases to 4 shows or more. General Sales begins on 13 April 2009. As an added sweetener, 1,000 specially designed Singapore Arts Festival 2009 ez-link cards will be available for patrons to redeem at Raffles City Shopping Centre with valid SISTIC receipts from 9 March 2009.


In a new tie-up with the Festival’s strategic partner, the Edinburgh International Festival, both new and existing ArtsFest Club members also stand a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to Edinburgh. To enjoy member benefits immediately, the Festival encourages patrons to sign up with the ArtsFest Club from 4 March 2009.


More information on Festival shows can be found in


Annex 1: Information on Core Productions

Annex 2: Discount and Ticketing Details