Arts Preview Singapore

Preview: Singapore Night Festival 2022

Whether you’re a history buff looking to discover hidden stories about the Bras Basah.Bugis (BBB) precinct, or a festival connoisseur seeking innovative new experiences that spark conversations, the Singapore Night Festival (SNF) has something for everyone. From 19 to 27 August 2022, SNF returns with the theme Rebirth for its 13th edition. This year’s festival will zoom in on the BBB precinct’s heritage and stories through an iridescent line-up of experiences, with a greater focus on programmes and artworks by local artists. 

Festival Director David Chew said, “The Singapore Night Festival (SNF) is returning after a two-year hiatus. We are going hyperlocal by zooming into the myriad of intriguing and intimate stories of the Bras Basah.Bugis precinct and its people, and celebrating all that our local artists and community have to offer. In doing so, we are also presenting brand new commissions by local artists, and providing them opportunities to show their works, develop their capabilities and take on new challenges. In turn, our artists and BBB partners, many of whom have been in the precinct for a long time, lend their dynamic energy to the festival and present festival-goers with fresh, innovative offerings and experiences. We hope that all festival-goers will find meaningful experiences at the festival, and be able to connect with the precinct and its stories like never before.” 

Artist impression, courtesy of Vertical Submarine

At this year’s SNF, the Bras Basah.Bugis (BBB) precinct will come alive with highlight act Cathay Hotel: The Curse of the Missing Red Shoe, by local art collective Vertical Submarine, six projection mapping installations, 15 Night Lights installations, five performance locations, five experiential programmes and a Festival Village abuzz with an array of music performances and food and beverage experiences. 

Headlined by immersive theatre performance Cathay Hotel: The Curse of the Missing Red Shoe by local art collective Vertical Submarine, SNF invites festival-goers to revel in the thrill of solving a mystery set in the grandeur of a large-scale recreation of the Cathay Hotel. Situated at the Cathay Green opposite the Cathay Building, the highlight act opens with the story of a mysterious curse from more than 60 years ago that led to the separation of two lovers. In this gripping anti-fairytale adventure, iconic Cathay characters such as Mat Bond, Pontianak and Mambo Girl are brought back to life in a surreal version of old Singapore. With the freedom to author their own adventures, audiences can expect an intimate encounter with the nostalgic cinematic landscape of Singapore’s post-war era as they revisit the origins of these bygone film characters.

Artists’ impression of Madeleine, courtesy of Lueur

SNF’s popular projection mapping installations return with six works illuminating iconic buildings in the city. Rediscover Singapore’s mythical origins at the National Museum of Singapore with Stories from Forbidden Hill by Maxin10sity, then head to the National Archives of Singapore for a colourful throwback to the cinema of times past with Midnight Show at the Capitol by MOJOKO, which revisits the classic movie posters that used to adorn the walls of Capitol Theatre and Cathay Picture House.

SNF continues to serve as a platform for local talent to showcase their works, collaborate, and grow their capabilities. On the facade of the Stamford Clock Tower, festival-goers can enjoy The Melting Pot, a kaleidoscopic ode to Singapore’s multicultural communities, co-created by illustrator and visual artist, Adeline Tan and award-winning DJ, Benedict Teo; and Madeleine, a pop art style piece by Lueur, a collective of five students from the School of Film & Media Studies at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, that takes audiences on a journey through the stories of the BBB district. Blending audio and visual mediums, Through Worlds by Jo Ho and Intriguant will light up the facade of CHIJMES Hall, showcasing an imaginative world of endless possibilities. Audiences can immerse in multiple perspectives within the history and hypothetical, imagined future of CHIJMES and the area around it. 

Artist’s impression of City of Books, courtesy of Fish Jaafar

Night Lights makes its return with 15 installations dotted around the BBB precinct, bringing to life everyday spaces that festival-goers are familiar with in the day but may not have experienced in the beauty of the night. The installations will shine a light on the precinct’s rich history and heritage with Night Lights like Paddy Fields by FARM, inspired by rice cultivators along Sungei Brass Brassa; and An Ocean Without The Anchor by Speak Cryptic, that pays homage to theBugis people and their history as seafarers.

In response to SNF 2022’s theme Rebirth, installations also prompt audiences to reflect upon poignant themes relevant to modern-day issues. We can no longer be strangers after this by Perception3, located outside the National Museum of Singapore, highlights the shifts and changes in the post-pandemic experience; while Celebration of Life+Style by Justin Lee, situated at the Stamford Arts Centre, is a tongue-in-cheek juxtaposition of traditional Eastern characters with modern elements calling into question the impact of technology on our daily lives. City of Books, a large-scale anamorphic pavement mural by Fish Jaafar, sheds light on the decline of print media.

Artist’s impression of tobyato bird pitstop, courtesy of tobyato

The festival also expands to Fort Canning Park this year, showcasing works that festival-goers can enjoy at any time of the day. tobyato bird pitstop by tobyato is an artistic nod to Singapore’s rich bird biodiversity, inspired by the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings, inviting festival-goers to rediscover the well-trodden park by night. Also in the park, Under My Tree Roof is artist Chloë Manasseh’s first voyage into translating her artwork into a digital print displayed on the iconic Fort Canning Spiral Stairway.

Enactment of Discoloo Centre, courtesy of P7:1SMA

Festival-goers can also look forward to an exciting line-up of performances at five different locations across both weekends during the festival, which celebrate the diverse and vibrant performing arts scene in the precinct. Yesterday Once More: Queen Street by Inch Chua and Tim De Cotta will dive deep into the history of the precinct, spotlighting personal stories from past and present inhabitants, including a young mother who previously sold noodles along the street come rain or shine; and Aunty Cecilia, who lived through the Japanese Occupation on Queen Street and still resides there today. Armenian Street Party will feature a special catwalk stage at Armenian Street with BBB’s very own artists and arts groups taking the limelight, including Bhaskar’s Arts Academy, The A Cappella Society, Traditional Arts Centre Ltd, OM The Arts Centre, and SMU Voix. At Waterloo Centre, P7:1SMA’s roving act Discoloo Centre will relive the precinct’s past nightlife paired with historical anecdotes of disco fever. Music-lovers can also swing over to Jazz’in @ Capitol Singapore at Capitol Singapore’s Outdoor Plaza for smooth jazz tunes from home-grown artists such as Amanda Lee Swingtet and The Rhythmakers. 

Image Courtesy of My Community

Discover Singapore’s heritage by night with immersive tours that unveil BBB’s unique and colourful history through intimate stories told by its inhabitants. Sit back and see the precinct through a trishaw rider’s eyes with Explore SG Night Fest with Trishaw Uncle; or discover the architecture of Bras Basah and the stories these buildings hold on guided tour After Hours@My Bras Basah with May Hui.Get competitive in a self-guided race down memory lane with Heat Of The Night, and solve clues and discover stories of BBB for a chance to win attractive prizes including dining vouchers and a staycation at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore.Those hungry for more can eat their way through the BBB district’s rich history with the SG Night Fest Food Tour or sample a taste of the precinct’s bustling nightlife with BBBooze O’Clock powered by Sui Gin.

On top of these offerings, stakeholders in the BBB precinct will be presenting programmes such as a night bazaar, workshops, film screening and guided tours. At the National Design Centre, art installation TERRARIUM invites festival-goers into an immersive garden landscape, exploring the possibilities of nature in the future and how technology can blur the lines between virtual and physical realms. 

Image courtesy of National Design Centre

Over at the Stamford Arts Centre, festival-goers can look forward to A Date with Tradition, and soak in the charm of our traditional arts with a series of music and dance performances, traditional arts and crafts workshops, art installations and more. Other partners of the precinct presenting programmes in conjunction with SNF include the National Library Board, Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations, School of the Arts (SOTA), The Theatre Practice, Objectifs, and more. 

Topping off the night, Dhoby Ghaut Green will transform into an enchanting Festival Village featuring an array of performances, live DJ acts, game stations and specially curated food and beverage experiences. Festival-goers can groove to the beat at the urban park with five days of music programming featuring acts by local artists such as cover band Cosmic Alley and singers Hashy Yusof and Marian Carmel, covering a variety of genres from urban beats and R&B, to pop covers and electronic music. Festival-goers can also replenish their energy with delectable offerings from Fooditube, The Swag Social and Sofnade! 

Singapore Night Fest 2022 runs from 19th to 27th August 2022. More information available here

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