Arts Review SIFA 2021 Singapore

SIFA 2021: Four live shows to be presented this August

The 2021 Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) may technically be over, but with the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures, some of its programmes faced indefinite postponement during the planned run. But this National Day weekend, count your lucky stars, because four of its previously postponed programmes are back, and set to play live in theatres.

The four productions are namely:

In a rare collaboration, the Singapore Dance Theatre joins forces with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra to present The Rhythm of Us, a lyrical three-part journey of music and dance, featuring original choreography by Janek Schergen, Pam Tanowitz and Christina Chan, all testament to hope and the indomitable spirit of the arts amidst these challenging times.

The evening opens on a meditative note with William Walton’s Passacaglia for Cello, performed by Ng Pei-Sian, SSO’s Principal cellist and The HEAD Foundation Chair, along with dancer Chihiro Uchida. The evening builds up to a crescendo with Henry Cowell’s Variations on Thirds, featuring a string ensemble and six dancers. The finale presents brand-new commission, The Light Behind Us, by local jazz pianist and composer, Chok Kerong, matched by fresh choreography by Christina Chan and a dazzling ensemble of musicians and dancers.

Pre-Event Testing (PET) will be required for this performance.

After watching the initial two parts, which slowly but surely taught us how to reconnect with a fellow human being again after a pandemic, we felt the distinct lack of a conclusion to this immersive work by 600 HIGHWAYMEN. Now, our experience will at last reach its finale, with A Thousand Ways Part III: An Assembly, in this public convening of attendees all following a shared score, and presenting the power and complexities of group assembly.  

The world premiere of the remote version of The Invisible Opera will be available free with registration, and play at the Funan Mall steps. Created by Australian multidisciplinary artist Sophia Brous, the work invites a solo observer to witness what we see and do not see in our public environment, using immersive sound design, electroacoustic orchestration and live vocal performance, as beamed in from Australia through a network of CCTV cameras and hidden microphones that map each movement of the square in real-time. Experience the city and take a closer look at this place we call home.

Finally, play+GROUND: Closer Apart by MySuperFuture Theatre Productions invites parents and young children to this non-verbal programme tells the story of a father trying to raise his daughter under harsh conditions and the value of small everyday acts.

The Rhythm of Us plays from 7th to 8th August 2021 at Esplanade Theatre, A Thousand Ways Part III: An Assembly runs from 5th to 7th August at SOTA Drama Theatre, The Invisible Opera runs from 6th to 8th August at the Funan Mall atrium steps, and play+GROUND: Closer Apart from 6th to 8th August at The Artground WhiteBox at Goodman Arts Centre.

The 2021 Singapore International Festival of Arts ran from 14th to 30th May 2021, with shows available as video on demand from 5th to 20th June 2021. More information available here  

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