The Theatre Practice’s (Practice) Nursery Rhymes Project is back Singapore’s longest running bilingual theatre institution, the third instalment of the beloved series is set to launch this September. Inviting the young (and young-at-heart) to travel back to the whimsical world of nursery rhymes, Practice has partnered with the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC) to host a celebratory launch event, taking place from 8th to 9th October 2022.
First launched in 2017, The Nursery Rhymes Project preserves the classic melodies and stories we grew up loving, while offering a modern refresh so they can be enjoyed by future generations. Providing multiple entry-points into the world of Mandarin nursery rhymes, each instalment consists of three parts: Sing Our Songs (music album), Paint Our Songs (illustrated lyric book) and Imagine Our Songs (live performance).
“These were the songs I grew up listening to, but when it came time to introduce them to my own daughter, it was impossible to find material that was high quality, or didn’t feel dated,” explains Practice’s Artistic Director Kuo Jian Hong. “So we really wanted to update these classics so that a new generation of parents can introduce their children to the joys of nursery rhymes!”
Enchanting families with its catchy arrangements and unique Singapore flair, the project has since become a cultural tour-de-force. Songs from both albums have been streamed over 1.5 millions times, and over 6,600 copies of the lyric books have been distributed to families around the world. Performed at over 110 schools, educational institutions and community events all across Singapore, the touring show has reached tens of thousands of children, in both physical and digital formats.
The newest instalment features 12 Mandarin nursery rhymes – refreshed, rearranged and recorded by Singapore’s top music talents including Ethel Yap, Windson Liong, Ric Liu (DreamzFM ), Audrey Luo, Celine Rosa Tan, Juni Goh and other musical theatre performers, alongside Singapore vocal band group MICapella and children from the Practice Education Project. Adding a dash of local flavour to the imaginative wonders of nursery rhymes, it also includes a brand-new illustrated lyric book by popular Singaporean illustrator Lee Kow Fong aka Ah Guo.
“This round, we wanted to mix things up, by including some ‘future classics’ alongside the nursery rhymes we grew up with. This includes traditional folk songs from Grandma’s Penghu Bay to Mandopop hits like Paper Plane by Singapore songwriting veterans Xiaohan and Eric Ng and Hong Kong singer Sandy Lam,” notes Kuo. “These are songs not just for children, but the whole family.”
Envisioning these songs both as tools for learning Mandarin and a source of familial bonding, the 12 tracks have been curated to facilitate different types of interactions – alone, with siblings, or with grown-ups. Additionally, they also cater to different levels of Mandarin proficiency, making it suitable for listeners of all ages.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, Practice has partnered the SCCC to jointly present The Nursery Rhymes Project 3 Official Launch, a 45-minute performance cum celebration held at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre Far East Organization Auditorium.
This event offers a rare opportunity to see and hear the songs sung live by the recording artists themselves; the festivities will include musical performances by Ethel Yap, Ric Liu, Audrey Luo, Olivia Yi-Le Hatton and children from the Practice Education Project. Additionally, audiences can look forward to the interactive Theatre For Young Audiences performance, The Nursery Rhymes Project: Imagine Our Songs. Join beloved characters Kaya, Roti and their new friend Kopi, as they sing and dance their way through two brand-new stories: Pull The Radish and The Rabbit In The Desert. Limited edition signed copies of The Nursery Rhymes Project 3: Paint Our Songs lyric book will also be available for purchase for both days.
Mr Low Sze Wee, Chief Executive Officer of SCCC also shared the reasons for collaborating with Practice, “Nursery rhymes are an intimate part of our childhood. It is an effective way to expose young children to the Chinese language, and introduce them to the context of our daily life and culture. Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre is delighted to launch the ‘The Nursery Rhymes Project 3’ with The Theatre Practice this year. Working with local musicians and artists, we hope to present a collection of nursery rhymes with its own distinctive local style for parents and children to enjoy together, as well as to have fun learning the Chinese language and our Chinese Singaporean culture.”
The Nursery Rhymes Project 3 Official Launch takes place on 9th October 2022 at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, with tickets available from SISTIC. The Nursery Rhymes Project 3: Sing Our Songs music album will be available on Spotify and Apple Music from 5th September, launched alongside The Nursery Rhymes Project 3: Paint Our Songs book at Practice and selected book retailers. More information can be found on The Theatre Practice’s Facebook and Instagram (The Theatre Practice/ @thetheatrepractice) and the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre website.