Preview Guide

An Arts Festival to Remember

By Zaki JufriEvents - 21 March 2011 10:16 AM | Updated 04 April 2011

An Arts Festival to Remember

If you think that you can take a breather from the arts after a marathon of a show that is the Singapore Biennale, another arts fest, the Singapore Arts Festival, begins.

The Singapore Arts Festival returns this May 13, promising a host of works that spans the art gamut ranging from plays, paintings, dance performances and film.

Despite being more than three decades old, the city’s annual art extravaganza, the Singapore Art Festival’s taste for cutting-edge, experimental and original works hasn’t waned one bit. This year the festival is again pushing the creative boundaries and artistic envelope with this year’s theme—“I Want to Remember”—which is inspired by our recollection of memories, albeit with a more Asian flavour.

Expect to see 62 productions by 81 artists and arts companies that are related in some part to remembering past historical events. This year’s edition will see the works grouped into five threads—Dance Greats, Histories, Lost Languages & Memories, Personal Memories and Sites.Sights.Sounds. Of these, 18 are new commissions and 13 are from Singapore which organisers say is the largest number of local commissions in the past decade.

Making a comeback to the festival after a 10-year absence is the Festival Village. Located at Esplanade Park, the village will act as a meeting point for artists and arts lovers hosting free performances, film screenings as well as food and drink stalls. And there is a Kids Arts Village designed by children for children as well, which will feature a series of hands-on activities and performances tailored for children.

If you missed out on the Singapore Arts Festival’s stellar line-up last year make sure you grab your tickets for this year's festival. Here are some highlights for the ticketed events.

Flip Book

Flip Book (May 16-17, Drama Centre Theatre)

Avant-garde French choreographer Boris Charmatz uses the work of Merce Cunningham, the great American master of postmodern dance for this performance which creatively recreates some of the moves invented by the Cunningham, as if flipping through the pages of a book. The starting point for this piece is David Vaughn’s influential book Merce Cunningham: Fifty Years, containing photos and drawings of all his creations and portraits of him and his dancers too. $20-60

The 1955 Baling Talks (May 18-19, School of The Arts Gallery)

History buffs and arts buff will surely love this one. History comes alive before your very eyes in this interesting performance which revisits the debates of Malayan Chief Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, Singapore Chief Minister David Marshall and Chin Peng of the Malayan Communist Party during the Malayan Emergency. $20


Singapore (Jun 3-5, Esplanade Theatre Studio)

Brought to you by The Necessary Stage, Singapore is inspired by the late S. Rajaratnam. The play examines the concept of modern Singapore, bringing to life a host of historical characters in real and made-up situations. $36

Radio Muezzin (Jun 4-5, Esplanade Theatre)

After last year’s highly original Cargo: KL-Singapore, Germany’s Rimini Protokoll returns this year for yet another mind-blowing production. Featuring a haunting soundtrack and evocative video images, Radio Muezzin provides a brief but profound insight into a culture increasingly under threat from the relentless march of modernisation and technology. Providing moving insights into the lives of the four men, and poetic evocations of the glory of Islam, Radio Muezzin is a quiet and poetic homage to a way of life that is about to change forever. $20-80

A Throw of Dice

A Throw of Dice (May 20, Esplanade Concert Hall)

Known for blending classical Indian raagas with electronica, British-Indian sound artist Nitin Sawhney makes a comeback to the arts festival. In this festival first, Sawhney and his band collaborates with the Singapore Festival Orchestra in a performance of his soundtrack to the silent film classic Prapandcha Dash (A Throw of Dice). $20-100

Singapore Arts Festival is on from May 13-June 5 at various locations. Log on to for more details. Ticketing is available via Sistic. Make sure you get your tickets now as you've no doubt seen; the selection of productions is incredible. Also, don’t miss our guide to some of the festival’s free events at a later date.