Australia and Singapore enjoy a strong and close cultural relationship. Our countries share many cultural similarities, as well as in our funding and organisational structures for our arts and culture institutions. In June 2015, we signed a Cultural Memorandum of Understanding, a signal of our commitment towards greater cultural cooperation. This was followed by the establishment of an Australia-Singapore Arts Group comprising key cultural leaders in 2016, which paved the way for more exchanges, partnerships and collaborative projects between our artists and institutions.
As part of the Australia-Singapore Arts Group meeting in November 2020, NAC commissioned a video performance that brings together elements of music, dance and poetry from Australia and Singapore. The performance explores the concept of childhood memeories that remain, in spite of constant change. Based on an original musical work by Singapore’s TENG Ensemble titled ‘Childhood’, the performance features this arranged medley of four popular Asian songs in Mandarin and Malay, as well as original choreography by First Nations dancer Janaya Lamb of a child seeing and mimicking a cockatoo (burung kakatua). The performance also weaves in poetry by Aboriginal writer Nola Gregory and Singapore writer Ann Peters, read by Paul Carr (AU) and Siti Khalijah (SG).
Some of the past projects between Australia and Singapore artists include:
Image by: Tim O'Connor
Memorandum of Understanding between the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
In 2018, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra signed a four-year MOU to provide opportunities for exchange of musicians, young conductors, and arts managers, and the co-commissioning of new work by Singaporean and Australian composers.
Image by: Victor Frankowski and Sydney Festival
Australia-Singapore showcases at Sydney Festival 2020
Singapore musicians SAtheCollective presented two shows at the 2020 Sydney Festival - they played a successful standalone concert at Riverside Theatres, SAtheCollective, and collaborated with Australian group Kurinji to presented an interdisciplinary work-in-progress as well.
Image by: Drama Box Ltd
TOPIA: Australia-Singapore residency between Drama Box, Teater Ekamatra and pvi collective
Singaporean theatre companies Drama Box and Teater Ekamatra worked with Western Australian multidisciplinary arts group pvi collective, to conceptualise and develop TOPIA, a unique 3-phase residency programme. The residency included skills exchange, particularly in technology and participatory practice, and the ideation of a prototype lab process to unpack and suggest interventions in the development and re-development of works created by the three companies.
Image by: The Artground
Especially On Birthdays: Australia-Singapore-NZ collaboration
Through a joint residency programme between The Paperboats (Australia) and The Artground (Singapore), the artists collaborated and devised an intimate visual-theatre performance titled “Especially On Birthdays” for audiences aged 4 to 8 years old. The production premiered at the Commonwealth Games Festival in April 2018, and was subsequently staged in Singapore at The Artground’s inaugural children’s festival in May 2018..
Image by: Rebecca Jensen and Zul Mahmod
Australia-Singapore Micro-Residency Programme
The Australia Council for the Arts and the National Arts Council Singapore jointly launched a programme of reciprocal micro- residencies between Australia and Singapore artists in November 2019.The residency was designed to seed research on artistic practice and collaborative opportunities between artists from the two countries. Two Singapore artists and two Australian artists were selected for this inaugural edition - Dance Nucleus (Singapore), Bhumi Collective (Singapore), Samara Hersch (Australia) and Rebecca Jensen (Australia).
Image by: Park Suhwan
Singapore Showcase at Asia-Pacific Triennal of Peforming Arts
The Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts is a tri-annual festival that celebrates contemporary arts from the Asia region, organised by Arts Centre Melbourne. The 2020 edition showcased the following Singapore works The Mysterious Lai Teck by Ho Tzu Nyen, and Dragon Ladies by Margaret Leng Tan. Singapore artists were also featured in the following public programmes such as Far East Networks: Imaging Pan-Asia in a State of War and Staging the Historical Record in Asia and Australia.