Singapore Arts Festival 2009: Outreach Programme Engaging Audiences at Every Level


Singapore Arts Festival 2009: Outreach Programme


Engaging Audiences at Every Level


15 May – 14 June 2009


The Singapore Arts Festival 2009 announced today details of its month-long outreach programme as part of the Festival’s broad and inclusive programme, ranging from popular classics to contemporary creations. Featuring more than 400 free performances and 1,255 artists, the Festival’s 2009 outreach line-up features an extensive list of high quality, free and ticketed outdoor performances island-wide, bringing the arts to the doorsteps ofSingapore audiences.


Said Mr Lee Suan Hiang, Chief Executive Officer, National Arts Council (NAC), “The Singapore Arts Festival's Outreach Programme is designed to reach out to the whole spectrum of the Singapore population. This year we have 420 diverse and high quality performances which are accessible and enjoyable to both regular Festival goers and first timers alike.  To achieve these objectives, we are working with 18 strategic partners to stage shows in 32 interesting venues in different parts of Singapore, from ‘heartland’ locales to new iconic places like the Marina Barrage for this year’s Festival opening. We want to make it easy for Singaporeans and visitors to enjoy the arts by bringing the arts to where we live, work and play.”


Notably, the Singapore Arts Festival 2009 sees the introduction of a new impetus under the banner of Fest Connect, an extension of the Festival’s existing arts education and audience development initiative designed to foster greater understanding of the Festival’s performances, artists, and festival-making amongst schools, arts communities and the public. Through Fest Connect, the Festival is offering a series of public engagement activities to connect with arts practitioners and the public earlier, beginning six weeks prior to the start of the Festival. Eleven Arts Education Programmes (AEPs) were developed in partnership with leading arts organisations such as the Singapore Drama Educators Association, Drama Box, Singapore Lyric Opera, MOVING ARTS and The Triqnaqi, in conjunction with eight Festival productions, namely The Cherry Orchard, Long Life, Electra, Sutra, Seven Boards of Tricks, H3, Terima Kost and The Magic Flute – Impempe YomlingoTo date, organisers have received 23 AEP bookings from 13 schools that will reach an estimated 4,300 students.


Said Ms Goh Ching Lee, Director for Singapore Arts Festival and Senior Director for Performing Arts, NAC, "The Festival remains true to its character to push boundaries in arts creation and appreciation, we continue to offer different opportunities and experiences for audiences to enjoy and be inspired by the arts.  A special opportunity created this year is FEST CONNECT, an integrated platform towards raising awareness, appreciation, and dialogue amongst students, the arts community, and the general public. Its key aim is to deepen and widen students’ knowledge of the arts and of homegrown and international arts-makers, while enhancing the public's understanding of the arts creation and festival-making processes.”


Under Fest Connect, the public can attend a series of free engagement activities such asFestival Chats at the library@esplanade, or attend Festival Forums at The Substation to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Festival’s performances and lend a deeper experience in better arts appreciation. The National Library Board will be extending its Mobile Library initiative to support the Festival’s effort by making literature and audio-visual materials related to the Festival and its programmes available at performing venues and selected schools which have booked Fest Connect AEPs for public loan on the spot.  Five public libraries – library@esplanade, Central Lending Library, Cheng San Community Library, Bishan Community Library and Toa Payoh Community Library – will also feature dedicated booths to display and stock materials relevant to the Festival.


In addition to the mainstay post-show dialogues conducted by the Festival for various ticketed performances, the Festival also presents a special post-matinee showcase, taking place after the H3 matinee on 20 May. Audiences at this special matinee performance showcase comprise primarily of students, and will be treated to an informative post-show dialogue conducted by The Triqnaqi, as well as an exciting exhibition battle between H3 performers and local break dancers. This unique showcase aims to enhance the young audience’s appreciation of artistic and cultural exchange. Ticketed workshops conducted by some of the artists will also be available for public participation.


Spectacular! Spectacular! - Coming to a location near you


True to its objectives of bringing the arts to a wider audience, this year’s Festival outreach programme will see the arts permeate the heartlands such as Toa Payoh, Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Yishun and Tampines, as well as various iconic spots about the city. The three-day Festival OpeningHélios II, presented by La Compagnie Malabar (France), is a free event staged at the Marina Barrage featuring a titanic insect 24 metres long and nine metres high at the swaying rhythm of electronic compositions, surrounded by circus artists in aerial acts and live musicians, juxtaposed against a backdrop of shadows and lights. The Closing Celebrations takes to the open field at Yishun Central 1, withCrackers?, by U.K. artists The World Famous. Not for the faint hearted, Crackers?harnesses the beauty of fire and fireworks in presenting a spectacular symphony of light and sound.


Special events such as RED (Stalker Theatre Company, Australia), The Diamond (The Dream Engine, U.K.) and Transports Exceptionnels (Compagnie Beau Geste, France) are also scheduled to whet the appetites of arts lovers. Additionally, the Festival features a broad range of outreach events for a wide range of arts palettes, age and demographics, ranging from the Arts On The Move and Family Funfest to Asian Showcase. The Festival will be working with the Esplanade, PUB, NEA, URA, SMRT, SBS Transit, Singapore Street Festival, Central Singapore Community Development Council and other partners to bring the arts to the wider community.


Entertainment where you least expect it

Arts on the Move is set to liven up the streets with an onslaught of dance, music and visual arts performances. Taking to various locations in the heartlands, shopping malls and food centres along Orchard Road, and even in the MRT, the programme features both local and international acts to inspire and engage Singaporeans from all walks of lives. From 16 May to 7 June, Arts on the Move closes the gap between the arts and the public with quirky and fun performances such as Baby Charli (Association de Malfaiteurs,France)Mono the Monkey (Electric-CircusNetherlands) and Spaced Out Tourists (Sticky Planet NetworkAustralia)The Agency (The DCP, Beligum) and The Glittering Bestiary (La Compagnie Malabar, France). From the local scene, a new theatre company Scissors Paper Stone started by Chermaine Ang will present the interactive Three Blind Mice and Moving Arts will invite audiences to participate in their UarrangeMeArts on the Move is co-presented by the University of Western Australia in partnership with PSB Academy. Arts Where We Eat makes a return on weekdays to entertain lunchtime office workers and families, bringing a whole new meaning to the lunchtime experience.


Fun with the family

Taking place over three days on the last weekend of May at the Toa Payoh HDB Hub, The Big Game , the first of four shows under Family Funfest, by the Polyglot Puppet Theatre(Australia), extends a space where children and adults play together in teams. The Big Game combines sport, art and spectator interaction to bring out the passion and excitement rarely seen in theatre. More interaction ensues with the penultimate, Sienta la Cabeza from Spain, where the stage is transformed into a hairdressing salon for audience members.  Hodman Dodmanott and Sally Forth by The Flying Buttresses (UK) will delight with a pair of wee, wonderful and world famous wanderers in Singapore! The entire family can also come as their favourite story book character, dressed in their most creative costumes and stand to win prizes in Be Spotted and Win.


Engaging the senses

Lovers of the visual arts can look to four visual arts exhibitions. What do you want to be, Strange·R? – a Festival installation (A project by [+O] in collaboration with Oforzero with the participation of Strangers and Friends) which will take place at Raffles City (Outdoors) along North Bridge Road, Reminiscient (The Observatory), to engage the senses and be entertained will take place at LASALLE College of the Arts. Eight Singapore artists will explore the questions of representation at Found & Lost (Osage Singapore) whileTransportAsian (Singapore Art Museum) will present an Asian photography exhibition centered on the themes of ‘transport’ and ‘Asia’.


Drawing on Asia’s rich cultural heritage

A staple on the Festival outreach calendar is the Asian ShowcaseGentarasa 2009: Bapak Borek Anak Cerdik! focuses on a time travel journey by four teenage boys into the past to discover and appreciate Malay Culture. A fast-paced light hearted comedy drama science fiction, Gentarasa 2009 combines pre-recorded visual acts with live on-stage acting. SEIS Dance presents the Saman Traditional Dance, also known as the "Dance of a Thousand Hands," Aceh’s most popular traditional dance.  The Pasar Theatre inChinatown provides a throw back to the fifties with a programme of cross talk, evergreens, Chinese opera and the traditional arts.


In addition, the outreach programme features associated events with the Esplanade and the Singapore Street Festival; and CLAP! (Community Life Arts Programme) organised by the Central Singapore Community Development Council.


The Singapore Arts Festival 2009, organised by NAC, will feature seven new commissions, which include two world premieres and one Asian premiere co-commissioned with international partners, and five 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, and a national platform for the people to engage in the arts.


For more information about the Singapore Arts Festival 2009 Outreach Programme, please visit


Annex 1: Outreach Programme Key Dates

Annex 2: Festival Outreach Highlights

Annex 3: Fest Connect Highlights


About the Singapore Arts Festival

The Singapore Arts Festival is organised by the National Arts Council as a national celebration of the arts to position Singapore as a global city for the arts. Since 1977, the Festival has evolved and established itself as the leading and largest performing arts platform in Singapore with signature focus on works that crosses art disciplines, cultures, time and geographical boundaries. The Festival continues to offer an eclectic and accessible programme that champions local arts makers while showcasing inspiring international productions. This year, the Festival features 26 core productions and over 400 free outreach performances, exhibitions and special events, aimed to inspire and engage audiences of all arts appreciation levels with its wide range of ticketed and free arts programming.


The Festival is the original champion and co-founder of the Association of Asian Performing Arts Festivals and serves as its current Chair and Secretariat.