Singapore Arts Festival 2006 - One Season. Many Faces.




~ One Season. Many Faces. ~


1 to 25 June 2006


The Singapore Arts Festival today announced full details of its 2006 programme. Over more than three weeks, it will present some 1,758 artists from 26 countries and regions in 24 main productions and over 400 free performances, exhibitions and special events this June.  The Festival’s main productions feature 6 world premieres, 6 Asian premieres and 3 co-commissions involving festivals and arts organisations in Vietnam, France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Brazil.


The Singapore Arts Festival is Singapore’s premier arts event. Annually showcasing the finest performing arts from around the world, it is an international event with a distinctive Asian flavour.  Organised by Singapore’s National Arts Council (NAC), it is reputed for its adventurous programming and emphasis on originality and innovativeness. Its 2006 programme features an eclectic mix of works from the traditional, mainstream and classical, to the contemporary and progressive. Its fun and interactive events spill over to the streets in a celebration of the arts.


Said Ms Goh Ching Lee, Senior Director for Performing Arts and Director for  Singapore Arts Festival, NAC, “The heart of the Festival is very much about encouraging and supporting artists and their instincts to dream and roam creatively, and seeking to connect their works with Singapore audiences. Through the commissioning of new works and championing artistic collaborations of Singapore and Asian artists, introducing fresh creative insights and presenting works by international artists of the highest calibre, the Festival this year brings a strong sense of energy, discovery and adventure. There is much to see and do, and I hope Singaporeans will not miss this special opportunity to experience and enjoy the arts"


Transcontinental World Premiere

Increasingly demonstrating the willingness to take risks in commissioning new work and initiating co-productions, the Festival has championed inter-cultural, inter-disciplinary and new media work, often involving international collaborations.


A prime example of this can be seen in this year’s breakthrough transcontinental world premiere of Station House Opera’s (UK) major new work Play On Earth. In collaboration with TheatreWorks (Singapore), Philharmonia Brasileira (Brazil) and NewcastleGateshead Initiative (UK), the production literally transcends time and space in its simultaneous staging to a global audience in Newcastle, Singapore and São Paulo.


Asian & International Contemporary

The Festival has also become known for its commitment to contemporary performing arts, particularly the Asian contemporary.


The 2006 season opens with the world premiere of Quest, a landmark collaboration between two leading Singapore arts companies – the Singapore Dance Theatre and Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO). Inspired by the music of three Asian composers rendered by the superb SCO, three choreographers - Kim Eun Hee (Korea), Gao Yan Jin Zi (China) and Jeffrey Tan (Singapore) – together create this triple-bill of contemporary dance.


A spread of Singapore talent will be featured in this year’s Festival. The Festival has initiated a new dance developmental platform Forward Moves which this year features four talented young Singapore choreographers. Other Singapore works include the world premieres of the Festival’s commissions of Drama Box’s A Stranger At Home; The Necessary Stage’s Mobile featuring artists from Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, andJapan; composer and flautist Ghanavenothan Retnam’s Ghana Sangam together with celebrated Sheng player Wu Tong from China.


Other than Play on Earth, two other co-commissions will feature in this year’s line-up. TheatreWorks’ (Singapore) Asian premiere of Geisha features Kabuki onnagata master Gojo Masanosuke, New York-based performer Karen Kandel (winner of several Obies) and shamisen musician Kineya Katsumatsu. It is conceived and directed by Singapore’s well-known artist Ong Keng Sen and is commissioned by the Singapore Arts Festival, in association with Spoleto Festival (Charleston) and the Lincoln Center Festival (New York).


In another co-commission, French-Vietnamese choreographer Ea Sola returns with an Asian premiere of Drought and Rain – Two Memories, Two Generations.  The workco-produced by the Singapore Arts Festival, Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), L’Espace - French Cultural Centre (Hanoi), Vietnam National Opera Ballet (Hanoi) and Grand Theatre of Groningen (Holland).


The Festival also presents an increasingly noted name from the Asian contemporary arts scene, Chinese choreographer Jin Xing, whose Jin Xing Dance Theatre will performShanghai Beauty, a work developed in collaboration with Germany’s Rubato Dance Company.


This year, Festival audiences will also be treated to works by some of the biggest names in international contemporary dance. Nederlands Dans Theater I (The Netherlands) will present a triple-bill of works including that of Jiří Kylián. Making a Festival debut is Rain by dance luminary Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and her company Rosas (Belgium). Returning to the Festival, choreographer Marie Chouinard’s (Canada) company performs her work bODY_rEMIX/gOLDBERG_ vARIATIONS.


Another treat is New York’s acclaimed SITI Company (USA), led by theatre pioneer Anne Bogart, who will perform the American stage production of the early German Renaissance classic Death and the Ploughman, another Asian premiere.


Finest Classical Music

The lineup this season also boasts some of the best of the classical music world. They include the famed Oslo Philarmonic Orchestra (Norway) with the brilliant young violinist Sarah Chang; Camerata Salzburg (Austria) which will perform a special programme of Mozart’s work; celebrated instrumental and vocal ensemble Collegium Vocale Gent (Belgium), who are known particularly for their outstanding performances of the music of J.S . Bach and will perform J.S. Bach’s mass in B Minor; classical guitar virtuoso John Williams, who will perform with composer Richard Harvey in John Williams and Richard Harvey’s World Tour (UK).


New Finds

In Asian premieres which will present a unique vision of animation theatre, the Festival will present The Great War by Hotel Modern (The Netherlands), and SAMOVAR: Check Out Chekov by Schauspielhaus Vienna (Austria).


In another Asian premiere, leading company in contemporary music theatre, Chamber Made Opera (Australia) will perform Phobia, a Hitchcock-inspired thriller complete with an enchanting soundscape created in the fashion of multi-tasking Foley artists.


In the vein of regularly showcasing emerging artists, the Festival presents Victoria Hanna and the Israeli Contemporary String Quartet (Israel) in Jerusalem Dreaming, where ancient prayer texts and Hebrew poetry are rendered in original compositions.


In the concert by The Vegetable Orchestra (Austria), audiences will enjoy the organic contemporary music of vegetable instruments.


Other acts making their Festival debut include Al Kasaba Theatre & Cinematheque (The Palestinian Territories) with their work The Wall, and Singapore’s premier wind orchestra,The Philharmonic Winds, whose concert presents a repertoire of wind music that includes the world premiere of artistic director and resident conductor Dr Robert Casteels’Second Symphony


Workshops & Talks

In another Festival first, we will be presenting a 5-day International Workshop on Suzuki and Viewpoints Acting Method by the visionary artistic director of the SITI Company (USA) Anne Bogart, and members of the company. The workshop, organised in association with Practice's Theatre Training & Research Programme, will provide theatre professionals in Singapore and Asia a first-hand opportunity to learn from Bogart, who co-founded the company with renowned theatre artist Tadashi Suzuki, the name behind the Suzuki Method of Actor Training.


There are many other workshops and talks in the Festival. Please refer to the annexes for more details.


Outreach Programme

An integral component of the Singapore Arts Festival has always been its extensive Outreach Programme which brings the Festival mostly free to people throughoutSingapore. 


This year, regular features such as KIDSFEST, Special Events, Weekend Highlights, Arts on the Move and Closing Celebrations return with high-action, interactive shows for everyone. The unique and entertaining shows in the Special Events include Finals! by Grejpfrut (Slovenia), where unsuspecting passerbys are pit against one another in an interactive soccer match right on the streets; and Deviation’s (France) Ecrans Tambours(Screen Drums), whose thumping voyage of movement and percussion music in water are a definite must-see. Weekend Highlights includes a Grandioso of Hundred Guzhengs, combining Java and Sundanese zithers, the Morinkhuur and Yatga fromMongolia with the Chinese guzheng.


In a first for the Festival, Singapore’s newest music platform POPagenda Singapore brings three weekends of Asian pop n’ rock music developing Singapore’s own brand of S-Pop.  A contemporary pop music platform showcasing established and emerging local and regional talents, it is also planned as a hub for discovering new Asian talents. Four key events make up the new platform - Rock D’FortPop Village; Rock Opera the Musical andBandhana.


In Asian Showcase, the richness of traditional Asian arts feature strongly. Pasar Theatreentertains with street puppetry, cross-talk, jianggu (storytelling), martial arts and folk singing. Baba Nyonya, HIStory and HERitage by The Main Wayang Company, delves into the colourful Peranakan past of romance and courtship rituals, handicrafts, traditional games and tales in music, song and dance. Other Asian Showcase productions includeTaal Express by the Temple of Fine Arts, Sichuan Province Chuan Opera Spectacularand Zhanjiang Cantonese Opera Evergreens by the Kreta Ayer People’s Theatre andStreet Play by The Theatre Practice.


In the Festival’s Visual Arts programme this year, the biennial Month of Photography 2006 (Singapore) will bring together French Masters, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau and five new Singaporean photographers. Supernatural Artificial features contemporary photo-based art fromAustralia while Titled-Untitled, a project of the Singapore-India Executive Programme, will showcase 60 paintings by 30 of India’s eminent abstract artists.  Migration Addicts at Sculpture Square features site-specifc works of 6 artists Ang Soo Koon (Singapore), Susanne Winterling (Germany), Naho Kawabe (Japan) , Jin Shan, Huang Kui and Jiang Chongwu (China). islanded at the Institute ofContemporary Arts Singapore is an exhibition of works by 12 established and emerging contemporary artists from three islands in the Asia-Pacific region: New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan.  The Scenic Eye at the National Museum of Singapore explores the meaning of theatre to visual artists.


As always the Festival will come to a breathtaking close with Closing Celebrations. This year Spanish troupe, Puja! performs K@osmos, an aerial acrobatic performance with live music, daredevil artistes, special effects and pyrotechnics in mid-air.


Be ready to explore, enjoy and experience the finest of the performing arts and a wide array of engaging programmes, dialogues and workshops at affordable prices and accessible venues. Join in the revelry and celebration of the many faces of the arts!


Please find the following annexes enclosed for information:


  • Key Dates 
  • Fact Sheet
  • Summary of Productions 
  • Discount and Ticketing Details
  • List of Festival Partners