Singapore Arts Festival 2010 - Making Connections
Singapore Arts Festival
14 May – 13 June 2010
The Singapore Arts Festival 2010 is back with new channels to engage audience and art makers as a Creation and People’s Festival. Organised by the National Arts Council, this year’s Festival will showcase 34 productions from 20 countries and regions from 14 May to 13 June, and is anchored by a year-long education and outreach programme titledcom.mune to sustain public engagement beyonde thFestival period.
Going by the theme “Between You and Me”, the 2010 Festival aims to deepen the connection of the public with the Festival, build an intimate bond, and develop their sense of ownership of the Festival. There will be a greater focus on the current Asian contemporary art-making processes and perspectives in the region, and the Festival aims to build a deeper interconnectedness between the Festival, artists/arts groups, audiences and partners.
Various new initiatives have been introduced into the programming, such as Between Traditional and Contemporary, OPEN-STUDIO, Solo Projects, dance/film,Re/visit/create/imagine/mix, Platform Campus and After Dark. These platforms will facilitate deeper dialogue, collaboration and content creation and provide opportunities for active interaction and engagement. This year’s productions will explore, create and encourage connections – with heritage, and between artists, cultures and people.
The Festival opens with Invitation to Dream – A Fire Garden Installation by Compagnie Carabosse (France). For three nights, the fire installation will light up the historic expanse of Empress Place Precinct, Cavenagh Bridge and the Esplanade Park with an enchanting glow, carving out intimate spaces of warmth. Accompanied by a haunting soundscape featuring a collaboration of Asian musicians Andrew Lum and New Asia, Invitation to Dream will immerse all visitors in a breathtaking, yet tranquil experience. The installation also features 200 local voices in thought-provoking and amusing responses to the question “What is life?”.
In line with its new direction as a Creation and People’s Festival, the Festival profiles programmes that reflect and explore different artistic inspirations and creative processes. Singapore’s heritage is a rich source of ideas and insights that can inspire art making and the lives of the people. The restaging of Emily of Emerald Hill (Singapore) with Margaret Chan revisits a seminal work that has been a landmark in the artistic heritage ofSingapore, while touching on the Peranakan heritage that is unique to this part of the world. This production is showcased in the Re/visit/create/imagine/mix line-up, which aims to build a consciousness of Singapore’s performance heritage and history and reconnect audiences with eminent Singapore stagings. Celebrating the Malay culture and heritage isZapin Di Muara (Singapore), which explores the similarities and differences betweenSingapore, Malaysia and Indonesia through the vigour of the Zapin dance form.
Audiences will be entranced by the deeply rooted and complex heritage of traditional Indian gypsy music presented in a theatrical format in The Manganiyar Seduction directed by Roysten Abel (India). Meanwhile, Pichet Klunchun explores his Thai heritage in dialogue with legendary dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, in Nijinsky Siam (Thailand), on the Between Traditional and Contemporary platform. The Nanning Cantonese Opera Troupe(China) will treat opera fans to a showcase of traditional Cantonese opera not performed inSingapore in recent decades.
Cultures often draw on one another, connecting in many different ways to enhance each other. Cross-cultural art works are an expression of this ever-present dialogue. Football! Football! (Italy/Singapore/Bosnia/Belgium) directed by Haris Pašović explores the importance and impact of the culture of football in the lives of people, and captures the artistry, philosophy and humor of football through the use of dance, theatre and video.Cool by Beijing Paper Tiger Theater Studio (China) shows the culture of brutality (kùxíng) and the culture of being cool (kù) co-exist, through installations, body work and strong visual elements.
Theatre Moollee (Korea) presents Lady Macbeth, a creative reinterpretation of Macbeth that negotiates Western perspectives with the traditional shamanistic world view that is prominent in Korea. Red Demon is a Thai folk dance-drama adaptation by Makhampom Theatre Group (Thailand) of a Japanese play by internationally renowned director Hideki Noda, presenting an entirely new theme through Likay. Elevator Repair Service (USA) presents Gatz, a six-hour long verbatim reading of The Great Gatsby, set in an office where the narrator’s colleagues begin to act out the drama and dialogue of Fitzgerald’s novel.
Artists are often inspired by one another and by audiences to create works that bring out the best in them through exploration and collaboration. Joyce Koh investigates the musicalisation of the String Theory using the immersive environment created by Khiew Huey Chien in On The String (Singapore). Two of Europe’s engaging choreographers,Meg Stuart (Belgium) and Philipp Gehmacher (Germany), come together to create a touching duet in Maybe Forever, balancing on the border between theatre and dance.
Cross-border collaborations are reflected in Eonnagata by Sylvie Guillem, Robert Lepage and Russell Maliphant (France/Canada/UK), while Wind Shadow by Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan (Taiwan) is a cross-art form collaboration between choreographic powerhouse Lin Hwai-Min and leading Chinese visual artist Cai Guo-Qiang. Talented classical violinist and conductor Joshua Bell (UK) comes together with leading chamber orchestra Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (UK) for two enchanting musical evenings.
dance/film, a new genre, will see various international and Singapore artists explore the perspectives of film directors on dance choreography, and how the appreciation of dance can be heightened through film. The featured artists include Lee Yanor, Shelly Love, Alex Reuben, Richard James Allen, filmmakers from Hong Kong as well as Victric Thng and Sherman Ong from Singapore.The curators are Yuni Hadi, daniel k and guest curator Raymond Chow (Hong Kong).
The Festival also provides room and support for the developmental process in OPEN-STUDIO. Artists will be able to engage in the creative process for a year without the pressure of presenting a full-length work on a tight deadline. The showings can eventually move on to a full commission by the Singapore Arts Festival, other festivals or presenting institutions. Artists featured include Casey Lim, Elvira Holmberg, Oliver Chong, Irfan Kasban, Bryan Tan and Cheow Boon Seng. Audiences, producers and presenters will be able to experience their creations in a series of open workshops and showings during the Festival. OPEN-STUDIO will be curated by Dr Robin Loon, Tang Fu Kuen and Kok Heng Leun.
Increasingly, artists are working on an individual basis, and creating works that present different perspectives to audiences. Solo Projects provides audiences access to these works, such as heroïne (Taiwan/Belgium). In this powerful work, Taiwanese dancer Su Wen-chi challenges the perceptions and expectations of women created by society through the choreography created specially for her by Belgium-based choreographer Arco Renz.
The spotlight will also be turned to Asian artists and their creative processes in the strategic platform ConversAsians, which is organised by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay in conjunction with the Singapore Arts Festival. With an aim to raise Singapore’s profile as a powerhouse of Asian arts creation, this four-day event features 19 outstanding Asian artists who will share their artistic journeys in an extensive programme of talks, discussions, masterclasses and performances. Targeted at arts industry professionals,ConversAsians encourages creative exchange, collaborations and a learned appreciation of the diversity of Asian art forms as well as how Asian artists are finding new ways to revitalise traditions to connect with contemporary audiences. There will also be programmes accessible to the public such as workshops, talks and a visual arts symposium. The featured Festival artists include Lin Hwai-Min (Taiwan), Nitin Sawhney (United Kingdom), Pichet Klunchun (Thailand), and Han Tae-Sook (Korea).
Student performances have improved by leaps and bounds over the years to reach a high standard of quality. To provide talented students with a head-start on their artistic journey,and bring student arts enthusiasts and practitioners together, Platform Campus will showcase student performances at key Festival venues like The Esplanade, Victoria Theatre and Drama Centre. This year, institutions such as the Singapore Management University, the National University of Singapore, Republic Polytechnic and ITE College East will be showcasing their students through this platform.
Audiences are no longer passive consumers in today’s arts scene. They are an integral part of the art making process, and engaging them closely is necessary for the growth and development of artists and the arts.
Audience interactivity features strongly in several ticketed performances this year. In a mix of intimacy and interactivity, audiences are invited to put their heads into seven miniature houses and participate in short scenes of stories in The Hood by La Passionata Svironi (Israel). The stories vary based on the responses of the participants. The Carnival of the Animals and Peter & The Wolf by Kamchàtka Theatre Company and Singapore Festival Orchestra (Spain/Singapore) transports the audiences to a different place and time by transforming the entire venue and making it part of the stage.
com.mune, the Festival’s year-long education and outreach programme series, provides a critical platform for the Festival, artists and arts groups, audiences, and partners to develop a deeper level of connectedness even before the Festival begins. The programmes cater to different needs and developmental stages, providing participants with the tools and knowledge to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts behind the productions. Audiences can familiarise themselves with the Festival productions, develop their knowledge about contemporary and traditional forms, and learn about the creative process through a series of Festival Chats, workshops, masterclasses, and competitions. This year, venue tours and a photography competition will also be held before the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall close for refurbishment.
Building around the vibrant Singapore night life, the Festival introduces the After Darkseries of late night programmes in clubs, lounges and other alternative spaces. As part of this series, visual artist cum musical alchemist Atsuhiro Ito, together with multi-disciplinary artist Zai Kuning and electro-rock chanteuse Analog Girl, unite in an electrifying club gig with a stunning visual twist. Nitin Sawhney, one of today’s most influential and versatile creative talents, will be performing an exclusive set featuring blistering sounds from cutting edge Asian Breakbeat and drum 'n' bass to dubstep, soundscapes and ambiences infused with his unique feel in Sound System.
The Festival will close with a grand public performance that celebrates the spirit of the People’s Festival. The art of line dancing is blossoming in tandem with Singapore’s burgeoning arts culture, and an increasing number of people are taking part in line-dancing classes and performances organised by community centres. In a salute to this art form loved by the community, this year’s Festival closes with a Mega Line Dance performed by thousands of locals at the Central Promontory, enabling Singaporeans from all walks of life to engage in art making and express themselves. This event will bring together all the line dance community groups in Singapore and pair them with dance/film makers. The resulting dance/film project will be showcased in dance/film series of Singapore Arts Festival 2011.
Ticket sales commence on 5 March. During the early bird sales from 5 to 31 March 2010, patrons can enjoy discounts of 25% when they purchase four or more shows. Group bookings of 20 or more tickets to one production will get a 15% discount. School bookings will receive a 20% discount for bookings of 20 or more tickets. General sales begin on 1 April 2010.