Arts Festival 2009


Singapore Artists Invited To Edinburgh Festivals


August 2009



The National Arts Council (NAC) announced today that it is leading a Singapore Showcase, comprising prominent performing and literary arts talents, on an invitation to present at the world famous Edinburgh Festivals in August 2009, in Scotland.


In addition to the main Edinburgh International Festival, the Singapore Showcase will be presented at world’s largest book festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival; the ever popular Edinburgh Festival Fringe that attracts about 1.5 million visitors each year; and debut at the Edinburgh Mela as well as the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival.


The ensemble of artists featured in the Singapore Showcase includes Ong Keng Sen andTheatreWorks, Singapore Chinese Orchestra, Edwin Thumboo, Suchen Christine Lim and Simon Tay, Andrew Lum, spell#7 and daniel k. They will be presented at key festival venues such as The Edinburgh Playhouse and the New Town Theatre.


We are indeed honoured by this invitation from the Edinburgh Festivals, which conveys high recognition for Singapore’s artistic standards and development,” said Mr Lee Suan Hiang, Chief Executive Officer of the National Arts Council. “This Singapore Showcase builds on the success of the last Singapore Season in London to profile the diversity and growing sophistication of Singapore artists, and provides them a most prestigious stage to showcase their talents.”   


“This Singapore Showcase is yet another realisation of NAC’s internationalisation programme in bringing local talents to the global audience, and to enhance Singapore’s growing reputation as a global city for the arts. This milestone presentation of Singaporeartists and arts groups in Edinburgh also underscores our commitment to developingSingapore arts”, added Mr Lee.


This invitation for Singapore Showcase is considered another major outcome of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the National Arts Council and the Scottish Arts Council in June 2007, and the Strategic Alliance signed between the Singapore Arts Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival, to encourage artistic collaboration, joint commissioning and international touring. That same year, Singapore Arts Festival 2007commission Optical Identity by T'ang Quartet and the Scottish music theatre company Theatre Cryptic toured the Edinburgh International Festival, following its premiere inSingapore.


“The collective power of seven festivals in August in the city of Edinburgh makes it aFestival City and a City for the Arts that is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. We are delighted to engage with five of these Festivals in their presentation of Singapore artists that make up the Singapore Showcase in Edinburgh. The Showcase offers our artists tremendous exposure to international audiences, curators and media that gather inEdinburgh during this time. We are pleased to be able to create spin-offs for Singapore artists at the highest level of international exposure through our international networks and partnerships built over the years, previously enabling the creation of Singapore Seasons in London and China, and now a Singapore Showcase in Edinburgh”, said Ms Goh Ching Lee, Senior Director for Performing Arts and Director for Singapore Arts Festival, National Arts Council.


The centre piece of the Singapore Showcase is the performance of Diaspora by Ong Keng Sen, TheatreWorks, Singapore Chinese Orchestra and other Asian artists, at theEdinburgh International

Festival 2009 (EIF).  This production was invited by EIF and was first staged at the 2006 Annual Meetings for the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group inSingapore. EIF has positioned Diaspora to be an important showing this year by scheduling its two performances in the opening week of the Festival.  Diaspora will be staged in the prominent 2900-seat Edinburgh Playhouse.


The Edinburgh International Book Festival has confirmed the presentation of threeSingapore writers, Edwin Thumboo, Simon Tay and Suchen Christine Lim. The Book Festival has grown rapidly in size and scope to become one of the world’s largest and most dynamic book festivals of its kind. It congregates over 700 world-class writers and thinkers in more than 800 events, and welcomes over 220,000 visitors in its two-week run.


Local theatre group spell#7 and dance choreographer daniel k will present Tree Duet and Singapore Arts Festival 2009 commission Q&A respectively at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The largest of 12 festivals that form the conglomeration of The Edinburgh Festivals, the Fringe is a hotbed for international producers to talent scout. Last year, the Fringe hosted 31,000 performances and 18,000 performers who entertained over 1.5 million people in 250 venues across the city.


Fusion music band Andrew Lum & New Asia will represent Singapore’s first participation at the Edinburgh Mela. The Mela is a three-day festival of arts, food and crafts from diverse cultures, which attracts 20,000 people each year.


Singapore’s jazz musicians will also be presented at the 30-year-old Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. Britain’s biggest jazz festival presents over 100 events in 10 days, and takes place in concert halls, bars, clubs, streets, parks and even churches. The Festival celebrates the history of jazz and blues, and offers a unique snapshot of contemporary styles.


About the National Arts Council (Singapore)

The National Arts Council (NAC) was established in September 1991 to spearhead the development of the arts in Singapore. To realise its vision of developing Singapore into a distinctive global city for the arts, NAC provides total support to nurture artistic talent, promotes the practice and appreciation of the arts among Singaporeans, builds up capabilities and resources, facilitates internationalisation and advocates the value of the arts. Through its holistic range of programmes and initiatives to develop the entire arts value chain, the Council champions the growth of a vibrant arts sector where the arts is accessible to all, and the community of artists, arts groups and arts businesses can innovate, excel and achieve sustainability in the long term.


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 theatre, dance and music. 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.


Annex 1 – Key Dates

Annex 2 – About the Edinburgh Festivals

Annex 3 – About the Singapore Contingent and Productions