Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) 2015 returns with a bigger and more inclusive programme to reach out to a wider cross-section of people in Singapore. Close to 65 shows and activities are lined up across SIFA and the pre-festival of ideas, public engagement initiative, The O.P.E.N. and the newest addition to the Festival, the SIFA Network, a network of informal venues around the island. These comprise 12 Singapore commissions, international performances, a dance festival within SIFA itself, films, talks, concerts and exhibitions, as well as an augmented reality tour of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.
SIFA 2015, curated by Festival Director Ong Keng Sen around the theme of POST-Empires, will position us to look at the things of the past differently and to draw elements out of the ‘archival boxes’ of our lives to inspire us to chart our own independent pathways as we move into the future.
Ong Keng Sen, Festival Director, Singapore International of Arts elaborates, “We’ve emerged from the ‘empires’ of colonialism, dictatorship and communism, and we now see a globalisation of life in an age that’s defined by global networks and monopolies of power. How do we chart our own destinies after the Empire? Different aspects of SIFA 2015 are organised along certain main strands: the archives of our past, transformations, the ‘post’ phases after the ‘empires’ that we’ve emerged from, and ultimately what remains after? The offerings are diverse and eclectic, ranging from the light-hearted to the cerebral, the dramatic to the provocative.”
Significantly, two-thirds of this year’s main line-up are by Singapore artists, with 12 Singapore productions specially commissioned for SIFA 2015 out of the 19 main productions. Among these artists are many of our pioneers, Cultural Medallion winners as well as Young Artist Award winners.
The new commissions include a Mandarin production, Nanyang – The Musical; Returning, a new collaboration helmed by iconic choreographer, Goh Lay Kuan; Versus, a ferocious theatre production by Cake Theatre; Hotel, an immersive and multi-generational epic by Wild Rice;
Smriti Padha (Memory Route) by Santha Bhaskar in collaboration with top Kerala dancers and her Arts Academy;
The Incredible Adventures of Border Crossers by Ong Keng Sen and creative industry collaborators; a new work by Drama Box around the Bukit Brown Cemetery and Cabinet of Curiosities, by queen of the toy piano, Margaret Leng Tan; while the T’ang Quartet presents a musical odyssey of three concerts. Beijing Director, Wang Chong directs the fresh students of LASALLE Performing Arts Faculty in an ambitious production as part of SIFA’s aim to bring international top artists to collaborate with students from Singapore art schools.
All shows in the international line-up will be marking their Asian debut at both SIFA 2015 and The O.P.E.N. These include the Dance Marathon – OPEN WITH A PUNK SPIRIT!, a contemporary Aboriginal jazz concert, Taiwan new wave theatre, a focus on South America: Teatro La Re-sentida, one of Chile’s hottest theatre groups with The Imagination of the Future and Brazilian Cristian Duarte, dancer extraordinaire as he emulates The Hot One Hundred Choreographers.
Among the biggest stars are Proton Theatre from Hungary directed by renown film director Kornel Mundruczo who presents a visceral performance about the endgame of human life in Dementia; spectacular French installation artist, Daniel Buren presents Cabanons, a cutting-edge circus performance in an art-installation stage; and acclaimed baritone, Matthias Goerne performs Schubert’s song cycle, Winterreise, against a backdrop of animated images by a renowned South African artist, William Kentridge.
SIFA 2015 is set to reach out to audiences on three levels. There are ticketed performances in established theatres in the city centre, and free performances in informal venues across the island. For those wishing to have a better understanding of the topics that will be explored in the POST-Empires theme, SIFA offers The O.P.E.N. (Open, Participate, Enrich, Negotiate), a public engagement initiative which is a pre-festival of ideas. This popular academy or school of life is organised along the genres of arts like O.P.E.N. Exhibition, O.P.E.N. Salon which comprises talks and discussions, O.P.E.N. Performance, O.P.E.N. Concert and O.P.E.N. Film. Two central lines are demonstrated here: Augmented Reality where the physical reality is no longer enough as well as The Young and Restless because they begin to redefine the Empire.
Two major differences emerge from last year’s O.P.E.N. First of all, The O.P.E.N. is tapping into specific genre audiences in The O.P.E.N. with venues like DECK (photography), Barber Shop, TIMBRE (indie music) and The Projector (film). The Festival has also developed The O.P.E.N. Keynote Insight where renowned individuals are invited to talk in relation to the theme. This year, the Keynote Insight is provided by the Pritzker Prize 2013 winner, Toyo Ito, a prominent Japanese architect who collaborated to build post-tsunami Homes-For-All.
Finally the SIFA Network will bring the arts closer and more intimately to the people of Singapore through two initiatives, which are free of charge. Open Homes, a collaboration with the PAssionArts, of the People’s Association, consists of intimate theatre experiences in the living rooms of Singaporeans;
while stand-up comedian, Kumar and his fellow collaborators will entertain in Living Together in the heartlands.
Ong says, “A new development is that we are creating a SIFA network of informal performance venues all over the island of Singapore. There will be 25 of these new sites comprising four HDB estates in Upper Serangoon Road, Tampines, Marsiling Lane, Jurong East and intimate living rooms in neighbourhoods like Yio Chu Kang, Siglap, West Coast. I am excited about its potential as the living room is the first theatre for a lot of people, it is here that parent and child collide, relationships blossom, debates of issues occur in everyday life. With our stand-up comics, laughter is the best medicine to look at how we live in such close proximity.”
Get Your Tickets Today!
Tickets for the Festival are now on sale at all SISTIC outlets.
– EARLY BIRD (Till 10 May 2015): 20% off ticket purchases
– SIFA BUNDLE (From 11 May 2015): 15% off ticket purchases
– O.P.E.N. BUNDLE (From 11 May to 4 July 2015): 15% off ticket purchases
Valid with a minimum purchase of 4 SIFA productions. The above promotions are not valid with other discounts or promotions.
SIFA offers 10% off ticket purchases to local and international students, NSFs and seniors aged 55 and above.
3. School and Group Bookings
For school and group bookings of 25 or more tickets, SIFA offers a 15% discount. To make bookings, please [email protected].
4. NTUC Cards Special
The following NTUC Cards enjoy a 10% discount that is not valid with other discounts or promotions.
– NTUC Plus! Visa Card
– NTUC Plus! Card
– nEbO Plus! Card
– U Plus! Visa Card
– U Card
– Temp Card
See you at the performances!