February is fast on our heels and you know what that means? The Esplanade’s annual Huayi Festival is back with a smorgasbord of new productions to feed your spirit and soul with art! There’s a whole range of options available this year, from theatre to music to dance and everything in between, and we’ve summarized what you can expect from this year’s festival, set to be bigger than ever before!
Of particular focus would be the all new theatrical works created by our local artists. In fact, the entire festival kicks off with an epic new cross country collaborative project headed by The Theatre Practice. Titled I came at last to the seas, this theatrical piece will feature artists from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and of course, Singapore as we watch six individuals go on deeply personal journeys, exploring various identities in the Chinese diaspora. Meanwhile, Nine Years Theatre will be joining forces with T.H.E. Dance Company for the very first to produce inter-disciplinary work Cut Kafka!, based off the works of Franz Kafka. Finally, experimental theatre group Emergency Stairs returns to the festival with site-specific Einstein in the Carpark, featuring George Chan and Chinese Kun Opera performer Zhang Jun, as we watch the Esplanade carpark transformed into a performance space for the first time ever.
In addition, Huayi will also be bringing in stellar international performances to play at the festival. Look out for Edward Lam Dance Theatre’s Why We Chat, starring Golden Horse Award winner Sylvia Chang and popular Taiwanese actor David Wang, inspired by Liaozhai Zhiyi. Shakespeare takes on an Eastern twist as Shakespeare’s Wild Sisters Group (Taiwan) flies down to perform in Singapore for the very first time. The group will present Blood and Rose Ensemble, a production condensing England’s historic War of the Roses into a two hour performance, and star nine top Taiwanese actors alongside Singapore’s very own Oliver Chong.
In Chinese culture, music has always been a key part of the performing arts, and audiences can expect the arrival of instrumental groups such as Taiwan’s beloved percussion ensemble Ju Percussion Group, while Asia’s best suona player Guo Yazhi (Hong Kong) will be arriving to perform with his fellow musicians from Berklee College a concert fusing Eastern and Western music. Even the concerts will be taking on a fascinating multidisciplinary twist, as the Singapore Chinese Orchestra presents Songs of Liu Sanjie – A Musical Film in Concert, as renowned Chinese soprano Wang Qing Shuang takes to the stage with other vocal talents as they reenact classic songs and scenes from film. This production will be led by Music Director Tsung Yeh and directed by theatre veteran Goh Boon Teck.
For those in want something more along the lines of pop, check out ever popular Taiwanese indie musician Crowd Lu makes a triumphant return to the Esplanade Concert Hall after an absence of seven years from our shores. The young and young at heart will also be pleased to know that the in::music series returns once again, with Queen of Mandarin hip hop Miss Ko, reggae icon Matzka and katncandix2 former vocalist Xiao Qiu as they play intimate live gigs at the Esplanade Annexe Studio.
There’s something for everyone at Huayi Festival 2018, with plenty of free activities from dance to concerts to catch all around the Esplanade, workshops for parents and children, and countless other programmes to watch in the two weeks the festival takes place. Even if Chinese New Year is over, there’s no stopping this extravaganza of the very best in Chinese arts presented by the Esplanade this February. Also look out for our Individual Previews of the shows we will be catching during this years Huayi Festival.
The 2018 Huayi – Chinese Festival of the Arts takes place around the Esplanade from 23rd February to 4th March 2018. For the full list of programmes and tickets, visit the Esplanade website here