This August, audiences can celebrate Singapore’s National Day from the comfort of home, as Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay presents a power-packed lineup of free online programmes featuring Singapore artists and various art forms, with something to suit all interests.
Red Dot August will feature performances streamed online by Singapore and Singapore-based artists, performing original works across different art forms. Two of Esplanade’s well-loved music programmes—alternative music festival Baybeats and the Coffee Morning & Afternoon Tea concert series which features veteran Singapore artists performing evergreen favourites—will also be making online debuts. In little red comma, a project that fuses literary arts with digital media, audiences can explore homegrown fiction and diverse literary voices. And as part of the Raga series, there will be screenings of two dramatised readings featuring new works by Singapore playwrights.
Amy Ho, Head, Music, The Esplanade Co Ltd, said: “The arts allow us to better understand who we are as individuals, as a community and a society. As we commemorate Singapore’s National Day in August, we hope that the diversity of our online programmes at Esplanade will give everyone the opportunity to celebrate, experience and embrace the richness of what it means to be a part of Singapore.”
Throughout August, celebrate Singapore’s birthday and the things that make Singapore unique with Red Dot August, the month’s theme for Esplanade’s year-round series of free programmes. The series will bring together Singapore’s different communities and feature performances of original work across a diverse range of art forms.
Beyond our artists, Red Dot August also engages people in underserved communities—migrant workers, people with special needs and people who deserve a second chance in our society—and provides a stage for them to express themselves creatively through the arts. Highlights include an improvised theatre performance by ASAP Improv, a poetry play by Migrant Writers of Singapore and storytelling performances by MoonShadow Stories and Kamini Ramachandran. The programmes will be streamed on Esplanade Offstage, with all videos available until 7th September, noon.
Fans of alternative music can look forward to a special online edition of Esplanade’s beloved annual music festival, Baybeats, from 21st to 23rd August. As the live festival, which usually takes place in August, has been postponed to November, Baybeats Online was put together to still support and to give Singapore’s music community something to look forward to at this time of the year. In keeping with the character of the live festival, Baybeats Online will feature music across a range of different genres, from unplugged sets by artists like Forests and Annette Lee, to performances by metal bands like Every Rage I Seek. The line-up will include a mix of live and pre-recorded sessions, featuring both new content and content from the festival’s archives.
Coffee Morning and Afternoon Tea, Esplanade’s popular concert series that offers a burst of nostalgia, also returns in a stripped down version online. The six acoustic performances will feature Singapore artists including Mel Ferdinands, Donnie Chan & Shuk Fong, Skye Sirena and more, performing evergreen English, Cantonese and Mandarin hits. The performances will be live streamed from the Esplanade Concourse every first and third Monday of the month from August to October at 3pm, on Esplanade Offstage and Esplanade’s Facebook page. Each video will be made available online for 72 hours after the livestream, in case viewers may have missed it.
Under the Raga series, screenings of two recorded dramatised readings by Brown Voices will be published on Esplanade Offstage on 11 and 25 Aug respectively. The two works featured are Between 5 Cows and the Deep Blue Sea by playwright A. Yagnya and directed by Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai, and Shakuntala by playwright Hemang Nandabalan Yadav and directed by Grace Kalaiselvi. Both works are performed in English. These dramatised readings were recently filmed in the Esplanade Annexe Studio and are to be screened online, in place of the live performances which were cancelled due to COVID-19.
Finally, written word lovers can explore homegrown works of fiction and diverse literary voices in little red comma, a project commissioned by the National Arts Council and part of the #SGCultureAnywhere campaign to bring together the best of Singapore’s arts and culture digital offerings to be enjoyed and experienced, anytime and anywhere. It is produced by creative agency Tusitala and Esplanade is its presenting partner. Fusing the literary arts with digital media and original soundscapes and illustrations, little red comma will feature six interactive digital works of Singapore poetry and short stories in English or English translation and three audio recordings of works in their original Mandarin, Malay and Tamil text. The writers featured are Arthur Yap, Latha, Melissa De Silva, Mohamed Latiff Mohamed, Samuel Lee and Yeng Pway Ngon.
To add to the festive mood, Esplanade will also be donning red and white on its twin domes till the end of August and Singapore’s Lion Head symbol will be added on to the domes’ lighting design on National Day. At the Esplanade Forecourt Garden facing the Padang, parts of the garden will be lit in red and white in the first three weeks of August, and will end off with calming shades of blue and lavender from the last week of August till Moonfest, Esplanade’s festival in celebration of the mid-autumn season in September.
Red Dot August runs online throughout the month of August. For more information and the full lne-up of programmes, visit their website here