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The Romeo by Trajal Harrell
Photograph: Orpheas EmirzasThe Romeo by Trajal Harrell

The Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) returns this May with both local and international shows

International highlights include a 90-minute performance inspired by famous novel Moby Dick

Mingli Seet
Written by
Mingli Seet

The Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) will return from May 17 to June 2, 2024, showcasing five newly commissioned productions, seven invited international presentations and an all-new programme pillar catered for families and children. Organised by Arts House Limited (AHL) and commissioned by the National Arts Council (NAC), SIFA 2024 continues to gather the artistic perspectives of our local creators and celebrated international artists.

SIFA 2024 Festival Launch Party
Photograph: Arts House LimitedSIFA 2024 Festival Launch Party

This year’s theme,They Declare, is an expression of the several individuals SIFA welcomes and celebrates. It is also a call for audiences to open their hearts and minds to beliefs that differ from their own by looking outwards and reflecting on their environment. 

Visitors will be able to enjoy a wide range of shows. Starting localSingapore music artist Safuan Johari, together with Māori Choreographer Eddie Elliott, presents Suara / Oro Rua. This show features original compositions driven by a choral unit of singers from diverse musical backgrounds, as well as the string and electronic music and a cast of New Zealand dance artists to imagine a post-Anthropocene future. 

Singapore visual artist Genevieve Chua will be showing Wilful Machine, a playful performance-installation that reinterprets artificial intelligence, and Singapore theatre-makers Haresh Sharma and Chong Tze Chien will present their play The Prose And The Passion, where characters from English novelist E. M. Forster comes alive to interact with characters from Sharma’s imagination.

Local band The Observatory will also present a live performance titled Refuge, combining sound, live music, moving image and light that promises to take audiences on a trip to explore the relationship between self and the natural world.

Moving beyond our shores, SIFA will also showcase several internationally invited works including the debut of internationally-acclaimed award-winning experiential opera performance Sun & Sea by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, Lina Lapelytė. This performance revolves around the mundane emotions of worry, existential crisis and boredom. And fun news, the show is interactive – audiences will also be able to participate by applying for the Open Call here by March 15, 2024, 10pm.

Moby Dick by Plexus Polaire
Photograph: Christophe Raynaud de LageMoby Dick by Plexus Polaire

Moby Dick, a 90-minute live adaptation of Herman Melville’s mythical work about an ancient white whale by Yngvild Aspeli, Norwegian director, actress, puppet-maker and artistic director of Plexus Polaire, will also be held. This show is an interesting one as it employs filmic techniques, captivating puppetry and clever stagecraft to manipulate the audience’s perspective.

Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About A Terrible Monster by Manual Cinema
Photograph: Rebecca J MichelsonLeonardo! A Wonderful Show About A Terrible Monster by Manual Cinema

And families, don’t forget to look out for ‘Little SIFA’ happening from May 24 to 26, 2024. Here, your little ones will be able to participate in programmes that will introduce them to the world of performing arts. Some of the programmes includeThe Dancer’s Fair at Cathay Green, where there will be installations that invite audiences to breathe new life into sculptures made from recycled materials. For those looking to be involved in his project, find out more on SIFA’s website. Manual Cinema will also present a lighthearted theatre show Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About A Terrible Monster wherehundreds of illustrated paper puppets, book pages, two-dimensional props, furry monster puppets and songs will bring Mo Willems’ books to life.

Early bird tickets for SIFA 2024 offering a discount of 15% will go on sale from February 20, 5pm till March 31, 2024, 11.59pm via here.


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