Arts Chinese Theatre Experimental Preview Singapore Singapore Arts, Theatre. Theatre

Preview: Southernmost – One Table Two Chairs Project 2018 presented by Emergency Stairs

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Building on from the success of their inaugural Southernmost Project launched in 2017, Emergency Stairs returns with the 2018 edition of the experimental theatre festival this November.

Taking its name from traditional Chinese opera’s convention of ‘southern’ stages and the one table two chairs performance format, the Southernmost Project was conceptualised as an “arts festival for the future”, and focuses on bringing together local and international artists of varying backgrounds, using intercultural dialogue to unite the contemporary and traditional for unexpected, brand new works of art. This year, the festival hub has shifted to Centre 42, and brings together 7 different artists across 7 programmes, ranging from masterclasses to showcases, to a full production and open forum to end off the festival.

This year’s festival brings a stronger focus to Singaporean artists, featuring experimental ethnic musician and Chinese flutist Andy Chia, ruan and liuqin musician Ee Vian Loi, traditional Malay dancer Soultari Amin Farid, and Chinese dancer Elizabeth Chan. They will be joined by Japanese Noh master Kanji Shimizu, as well as classical Javanese cross-gender dance master Didik Nini Thowok and Cambodian masked Lakhaon Khaol dancer Nget Rady,  both of whom were part of Southernmost last year, and promising exciting, never-before-seen collaborations

As for the programming itself, Southernmost invites audiences to critique the existing format of audience-centric, production-driven programmes, instead focusing on the process behind the work and artists. Over the course of the week, audiences will immerse themselves fully in cross-cultural, cross-form artistic experimentation and dialogue as one continues to question how the arts festival model can act as a platform for cultural exchange.

The festival will culminate in the premiere of the brand new production Journey to Nowhere. Here, the entire week’s worth of dialogue and discoveries is compiled, curated and co-created into a single work, with all seven featured artists performing, as they straddle the traditional and the contemporary, past and present and dissolve borders in this fitting end to the festival. Throughout the week, audiences are also invited to be a part of the process, and are allowed to attend the various open rehearsals for the production.

Audiences can also look forward to programmes such as a traditional Noh showcase from Kanji Shimizu, a physical masterclass and showcase by Nget Rady and Didik Nini Thowok, and an open forum about Southernmost’s structure as an arts festival, with speakers including critic Corrie Tan, artist Ang Gey Pin and playwright Tan Tarn How.

Says Emergency Stairs artistic director Liu Xiaoyi: “As a revolutionary and experimental way to approach theatre, the One Table Two Chairs format has been used by many artists to engage in cross region, cross-disciplinary, and cross-cultural dialogue. Borrowing the spirit of One Table Two Chairs, Southernmost is a dialogue between different theatre languages, different art forms and different cultures. One Table Two Chairs is a symbol of intercultural dialogue in our festival.”

Join Emergency Stairs and these seven revolutionary artists this November as they dive deep once again into intercultural exchange and expected the unexpected with the endless possibilities for the future of the arts offered from Southernmost 2018.

Southernmost: One Table Two Chairs Project runs from 3rd to 11th November 2018 at Centre 42, with the festival production Journey to Nowhere playing on 10th and 11th November. For the full list of programmes and tickets, visit Apactix

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