Arts Preview

Preview: Silver Arts 2021

The annual Silver Arts festival returns for its 10th edition from September to December 2021, and will be presenting more than 30 engaging  programmes in hybrid format. Presented by the National Arts Council (NAC), this festival  celebrates seniors and the meaningful possibilities that they can enjoy through the arts, and  highlights the significance of arts engagement in enhancing the well-being of seniors and  people around them.  

Themed “TENacity”, Silver Arts 2021 forefronts messages of hope and continued possibilities,  exemplified by seniors and the arts community in these difficult times. With programmes  ranging from live performances, digital workshops and exhibitions organised in collaboration with more than 120 artists, arts organisations and community partners, this year’s festival also  showcases the diversity of our artists who have been providing opportunities for seniors, their  peers and loved ones to discover their creative potential through activities across various  genres such as visual arts, music, dance and film. Seniors can expect a diverse line-up of  programmes presented in English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and Chinese dialects, exploring  themes that relate to senior audiences from different communities. Beyond the festival, year round programmes from our community partners and cultural institutions continue to be  accessible for example, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay’s Moonfest – A Mid-Autumn  Celebration, as well as a virtual introduction to iconic artworks by National Gallery Singapore.

“Last year, we were encouraged to see many seniors participating in the first-ever digital Silver  Arts. With a hybrid edition this year, seniors can look forward to enjoying both exciting live  shows and online arts programmes. We hope seniors will experience not only joy but  connectedness as the rich offerings will also provide opportunities for them to bond with their  friends and families while enjoying the programmes together. This special effort to bring the  arts to seniors is made possible in collaboration with artists and community partners. Our tenth  edition themed “TENacity” is inspired by the remarkable efforts and innovations of the arts  community and their unwavering strength during this period.” said Elaine Ng, Senior Director of Engagement and Participation at NAC.” 

After last year’s fully digital edition, live performances are making a comeback this year with  nine ticketed, in-venue shows by various arts groups, held in accordance with the latest safe  management measures.  

Audiences can enjoy a specially commissioned humorous dialogue about death and farewells  in The ETCeteras’ Mandarin play Curtain Call (后会无期). In addition, loyal fans will be pleased to know that four digital performances from last year’s festival have been adapted to  be presented on stage. These include the fan-favourite repertoire of songs in Toy Factory  Productions Ltd’s Old Songs of Redhill Market (红 山 脚 下 的 歌 谣); Wadah Seni  Entertainment’s Keroncong Asmara (Romantic Keroncong); Asian Cultural Symphony Orchestra’s (ACSO) Evergreen Symphonic Jukebox and a musical tribute to cultural icon  Teresa Teng in Ding Yi Music Company’s I Only Care About You (我只在乎你).  

For seniors looking for a trip down memory lane, they can attend live performances in theatres  with their family and friends to indulge in nostalgic tunes. With a little something for everyone,  they can groove to evergreen tunes from the 40s in SwingOUT Party by City Swing Big Band,  reminisce the golden age of Malay films with Gambar Kegemaran, serenade loved ones with  songs of yesteryear in Oldies but Goodies (黄金今曲) and join an intergenerational jam  session to the tunes of the 60s and 70s in Music Hall: That’s My Jam by Broadband. 

Lim Hai Yen, Artistic Director of The ETCeteras, said “With a growing sense of social isolation  and loneliness in the community, we see these live performances as a meaningful addition to  our seniors’ lives and routines, and a chance to spend time and enjoy the arts with their loved  ones. This makes going the extra mile to create tailored programmes for seniors while  ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all, so worthwhile.”  

To ensure the safety and well-being of our seniors during the ongoing pandemic, selected  programmes are held online for everyone to enjoy the best of arts and culture from anywhere  and from the comforts of their homes. Our artists have been riding the digital wave the past  year, overcoming challenges to present fresh, digital offerings that are highly interactive and  engaging for audiences. 

Digital highlights include The Glowers Drama Group’s radio play series Chap Lau (十楼), an  auditory experience that transports audiences to the heart of the kampong; a dynamic singing  

cook-along session in The Singing Chef by Irene Jansen and Family; an exclusive scoop  about the lives and careers of veteran singers like Rahimah Rahim and Iskandar Ismail in  Songs In Our Lives, and a virtual photography and writing workshop, Tiong Bahru:  Walkshop with Young Artist Award recipient Marc Nair to discover Tiong Bahru. There will  also be a series of artist-led workshops providing introductory lessons in lindy hop, acappella  singing and handbells, amongst others.

Guided by established artists, the new works created as part of the four Community Art  Projects will be showcased in the form of online and physical exhibitions. These programmes  encourage social bonding as families and different generations come together to participate  and form new social connections. Participating seniors co-created with artists where some told  their stories through an exploration of light, silhouette and shadows with their family members in Stories Beyond Us; and others boogied away with youth partners in a collaborative dance  video Stop, Look, A-Go-Go!. The digital exhibitions will be available online till December  2021, and the physical exhibitions will be roving to three public libraries for viewing across  multiple dates.

Besides actively involving them in the creation process, other Silver Arts initiatives underscore  NAC’s commitment to have deeper engagement with seniors through the arts in every aspect of the festival for example, with seniors as festival volunteers. To advocate for the social value  of the arts, the Arts & Ageing Circle platform will bring artists, partners, social and healthcare  practitioners, and community leaders together to explore how the arts, health and social  sectors can effectively engage our senior sector. 

Seniors are encouraged to subscribe to the Silver Arts WhatsApp channel for regular updates  on upcoming programmes or join the online programmes on NAC’s Facebook Page.  Tickets for the nine in-venue programmes are free and available via SISTIC. Visit for more information. 

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