Singaporeans celebrated Festival anniversary with strong show of support


Singaporeans celebrated Festival anniversary with strong show of support


The 30th anniversary edition of the Singapore Arts Festival came to a rousing end on Sunday. Stretching over five weeks and presenting a host of new initiatives on top of a diverse programme of free and ticketed shows, it continued to draw strong support from the public. With what has now become the norm for audiences here, the Festival’s successful run featured world and Asian premieres, as well as new commissions and collaborations. In total, over 0.7 million­­­­­­­­ (718,542) people enjoyed the Festival programmes, comprising some 496 performances and activities. The Core productions recorded an overall house of 81.2%, slightly topping the 80.3% house achieved in 2006.  The good turnout reflects an endorsement of the path-beating programme which continues to draw a wide range of audiences.


Opening on a high note, some 24,000 people attended the Festival Opening performanceDreams in Flight (Spain). Highlighting a desire to engage audiences deeper in the arts, 36 volunteers were also involved in the aerial theatrical performance.  


The Festival’s lineup of free performances, exhibitions and special events continued to pull in crowds and engage with the wider community.  A total of 685,838 audiences attended the Festival’s diverse Outreach events. The Festival buzz was evident in the streets, neighbourhoods and even on the MRTs (subway), as memorable performances such asOn aiR (Belgium) and Tooth and Claw (Australia) entertained in highly interactive performances. The Festival Nest, with the installation Project: Eden, attracted 11,382 visitors since its opening in April and even featured ‘open-mic’ sessions. 


Beyond the accessible free performances which connected easily with audiences, the Festival also showcased quality productions which emphasised artistic innovation and featured contemporary presentations that confront and bridge different genres and traditions.  Resonating with audiences, these productions forged connections between disciplines, artforms, cultures and even between the classical and the contemporary. Re-imaginings of theatre classics were firm favourites, with Beijing Ren (China) and Mabou Mines DollHouse (USA) totally sold out. Breathtaking performances by dance masters in such productions as Sacred Monsters (France/UK) and Blind Date (USA) were also wildly received, as were the memorable musical explorations of The Map and Paper Concerto(USA/Singapore).


The Festival also successfully reached new audiences, helping to grow future audiences for the arts. Young video-game enthusiasts, many of whom have never stepped into a concert hall before, packed the house at all three shows of PLAY! A Video Game Symphony (USA/Singapore). A poll revealed that 90% of the audiences were under 30 years old, with a good number below 20 years.


A total of 30,501 tickets were issued in the Festival. Sixteen out of 48 performances, or 33% of all Core shows, performed to full houses. Post-show dialogues and public talks by artists were also well attended, indicating more sophisticated interest in the arts. In fact, the Festival experience also extended into the Net, with numerous blog, video and photo postings by the public.


Investing in the Next Generation of Art Makers

With an eye on investing in the arts of tomorrow, the 2007 Festival continued to profileSingapore talent, featuring a number of promising artists, including concert soloists, choreographers and theatre directors. These highlighted an ongoing commitment to the local and international arts scene. Successful new initiatives and platforms were launched, which present fresh possibilities for future editions of the Festival.  These aim to discover and launch the next generation of choreographers, directors, artists and help them develop their own unique language.


A strategic alliance between the Edinburgh International Festival and the Singapore Arts Festival was sealed to encourage artistic collaboration, cooperation, joint commissioning and international touring, opening possibilities Singapore artists.  Marking the occasion was the Singapore Arts Festival commissioned co-production Optical Identity.  The Festival commissioned 6 new works this year, including world premieres like the co-commission Optical Identity, a music theatre collaboration between UK’s Theatre Cryptic and Singapore’s T’ang Quartet which will be presented at the Edinburgh International Festival from 31 August to 1 September 2007.


Full Frontal, the developmental platform for local theatre directorial talent was launched to positive reviews. The return of the dance creation platform Forward Moves was also well received with one of the two shows performing to a full house. The Festival also inaugurated the Singapore Festival Orchestra (SFO) as its resident orchestra. Noted critically for its technical prowess, the SFO accompanied young classical music soloists,pianist Abigail Sin and violinist Loh Jun Hong, who shone in their Festival debuts in Festival Fantasia.


During the Festival, a masterclass and workshops provided an avenue for aspiring and professional artists from Singapore and Asia to learn by renowned artists and arts groups featured in the Festival. Semi-professional dancers and dance students experienced the physical demands of choreographer Bill T Jones’ movement in a masterclass conducted by the Associate Artistic Director of Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company Janet Wong. Founding Co-artistic Director of Mabou Mines, Lee Breuer together with actress Maude Mitchell, also shared a variety of acting and directing techniques with theatre actors and directors in their workshop.


The National Arts Council wishes to thank all artists, sponsors, partners and the media for their strong support in the anniversary celebration of this premier international arts event.


Please find the following annex enclosed for information:

Annex – Details of sold out shows