This December, the inaugural edition of IMAGINIQUE – Singapore Children’s Festival comes to town, bringing with it a series of world-class, award-winning non-verbal performances from overseas.
Managed by the Singapore Street Festival, IMAGINIQUE promises to be a life-changing experience, with shows that have been specially curated through an extensive study period using various platforms of non-verbal performances, interactive responses and musical theatre with engagement through Arts, Culture and Community.
Aimed at exciting the imagination and inciting curiosity in children, IMAGINIQUE takes inspiration from children’s festivals around the world such as the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, Brisbane Out-of-Box Festival and Okinawa’s Ricca Ricca Festival for very young audiences. Along with the global rising trend of ‘baby theatres’, these experiential theatre performances are increasing gaining popularity as it aims to develop inner curiosity, focus, a strong sense of identity and emotional empathy in young children.
IMAGINIQUE also seeks to strengthen family connections by providing platforms for families to attend arts events focused on the children, exposing the community to the endless possibilities of various art forms for children. Programmes featured in IMAGINIQUE are to focus on the experiential, the interactive, and the non-verbal. While programmes are aimed at children, educational talks and workshops for caretakers will be organised in line with the presented programmes, inspiring further conversations and continued arts appreciation between audience members.
A total of four programmes will play as part of IMAGINIQUE’s inaugural edition, namely Loo (Spain), Here I Am – Self-Portrait (Brisbane, Australia), Toddler’s Room
(Norway), and Air Play(New York). Loo plays at the Gateway Theatre Blackbox, exploring the changes this wind can cause, using music, buried objects and visual effects to move the desert sand dunes, dry up wetlands and jungles, and leave ships buried in sandy oceans, unable to sail as audiences clamber aboard the bow of a sunken boat in a sea of sand.
Here I AM takes place at the Gateway Gallery, and is a visual arts workshop where children will create their own self-portrait to be digitised and hung. Essentially a large-scale installation that grows with each day, as more and more participants add their artworks, Here I Am then celebrates the wonderful diversity in our society and at the same time, explores each individual in their own right, as we consider that the way our children perceive themselves may be very different to how we see them from the outside.
Toddler’s Room is a mini dance theatre piece created by choreographer Siri Dybwik to appeal to the youngest audiences. Taking place at the Drama Centre Black Box, audiences will enter a white dome, where children and their carers immediately become involved in a play without words where gorgeous sculptural objects, sounds and costumes are the stimulus for a magical and sensory experience.
Finally, the biggest performance of all, Air Play, plays at the whopping Esplanade Theatre, where Acrobuffos merge circus and street theatre performance art with sculptural artistry. A circus-style adventure of two siblings journeying through a surreal world, watch as ordinary objects are transformed into uncommon beauty, as fabrics dance in the wind, balloons have a mind of their own, confetti turns into the night sky and an enormous canopy of hovering silk forever alters their future. Expect one extravaganza of a show with flying umbrellas, larger-than-life balloons, giant kites floating over the audience, and the biggest snow globe you’ve ever seen to make audiences gasp in wonder.
IMAGINIQUE also hopes to connect artists via dialogues and workshops by visiting artistes for local practitioners, in keeping local practitioners up to date with the latest global trends and connecting internationally-renowned artists with practitioners in Singapore to inspire local practitioners and form connections to the global arts and theatre arena.
Says Ms. Annie Pek, Founder of Singapore Street Festival and Singapore Children Festival: “Like what Educator Kelly Pollock said, ‘The true purpose of arts education is not necessarily to create more dancers or artists. It is to create more complete human beings who are critical thinkers, who have curious minds, who can lead productive lives.’ My passion has always been supporting and nurturing the young. With our successful Singapore Street Festival, which over the years had groomed many local talents in different fields of the arts, culture and entertainment, we realise that an ecosystem is fundamental to sustain these passions with a strong foundation starting from as young as a baby.”
“This ecosystem include the parents, grandparents, early childhood educators and even the domestic helpers,” she adds. “IMAGINIQUE was thus evolved which seeks to engender a virtuous cycle of innovation and creativity in the sphere of local children’s arts, and grow an increasing core of future arts audiences in Singapore.”
IMAGINIQUE runs from 13th to 22nd December 2019 across various locations. For the full line-up and ticketing, visit their website here