The Show Must Go On, Don't Miss It



Singapore Arts Festival 2003


~ Impressions ~


30 May - 22 June


The Singapore Arts Festival 2003 is poised to leave many with powerful and lasting impressions this year. In support of the government's efforts to contain SARS in Singapore and manage its impact on society, the National Arts Council (NAC) has put in place comprehensive measures to help safeguard the well-being of artists, audiences and Festival workers at the Singapore Arts Festival 2003. Precautionary measures will be taken to ensure that all artists and audiences can attend and enjoy the Festival performances in a secure environment achieved with minimal inconvenience to them.


The measures were drawn up with the interests of three key groups of people in mind – artists, Festival staff including backstage crew, and patrons of the shows. Broadly, all parties involved are advised on personal SARS precautionary measures set out by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and urged to comply with general MOH guidelines to undertake temperature checks and to visit a doctor or stay home if unwell.


Artists will be supplied with health kits for their personal use and self-monitoring of their temperature. Artists’ temperatures will be checked before they enter theatres for rehearsals and performances. Additional assurances for foreign artists include the purchase, by the Council, of health insurance to cover the period of their stay in Singapore. All Festival staff, theatre and backstage crew are required to submit health and travel declarations to confirm their present state of health and to monitor their temperatures daily.


All patrons will undergo temperature screenings for all indoor performances and requested to leave behind their particulars for contact tracing. Isolation rooms will be set up at all venues. Screening stations will open one hour before performances to ensure smooth traffic into the theatres and the shows can start on time. The screenings will be conducted by health professionals. The Council requests all patrons to be at the venues one hour before showtime to facilitate a smooth screening process. Refunds are available for patrons turned away at the screening stations and for those who missed a show because they are unwell.


Other measures to safeguard Festival audiences include the increased disinfecting and cleaning of theatres and their ventilation systems. Buses transporting artists will also be cleaned before each trip. Notices at theatres will be placed to advise anyone who is unwell to refrain from attending the event. Contact bowls will also be deployed for patrons to leave their tickets with their names and contact numbers. For outdoor performances, Festival staff equipped with masks and thermometers will be on the look out for anyone who is unwell.


In addition, NAC has set up a SARS taskforce, which will oversee the screening and conduct of temperature checks at the theatres.


The full list of measures is attached in Annex 1.


"These precautionary measures are put in place to allay any concerns or doubts among artists and audiences. The Festival is safe and will proceed as planned. We seem to have weathered the worst of SARS and many of the top international acts are still eager to perform here. People should catch the Festival, not only for the many inspiring and uplifting moments it will provide in these uncertain times, but also to lend their support for the artists who overcame their concerns to come," says Ms Goh Ching Lee, Festival Director and Director of Programme and International Development Division, NAC.


Indeed, the public can continue to catch the Festival’s many top acts. To date, of the 24 core productions originally scheduled, four have been cancelled. Meno fortas from Lithuania and Ballet National de Marseille from France have expressed their reservations and withdrew their participation. NAC has reached a mutual agreement with Guangzhou Cantonese Opera Troupe of China and Golden Bough Theatre from Taiwan to postpone their performances to a later Festival. Refunds for these shows are available from the SISTIC box office at the Singapore Indoor Stadium from 12 to 25 May. Details of the refund procedure are in Annex 2.


All other groups have affirmed their attendance at the Festival. "Everybody is looking so much forward to be part of your Festival," wrote Gabriele Zerweck from Ballett Nürnberg in a recent email dated 22 April 2003. The Builders Association's agent and Executive Producer for Alladeen, Kim Whitener said, "... and given your (Ching Lee) assurances and all of the information that we've been tracking, we feel that it is possible to move forward." Jonathan Nye, Company Manager of Meredith Monk/The House Foundation For The Arts, Inc. said, "Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble And Company (is) moving along and all are looking forward to perform 'mercy'!! We have all decided that it is safe to cross the ocean..."


The Festival also salutes those involved in battling SARS. A 50% discount on tickets will be extended to all health and medical workers. Patrons will also be encouraged to contribute a voluntary amount to the Festival house programmes. The proceeds collected will be donated to the Courage Fund.


The Singapore Arts Festival 2003 aims to be a celebration of our solidarity and triumph over adversity and is an event not to be missed!



  • Annex 1 – Assurance Measures against SARS at the Festival
  • Annex 2 – Ticket Refund Policies and Procedures