Published on 9 February 2018

This year’s Singapore International Festival of the Arts (SIFA) brings a vibrant range of arts events from Singapore and around the world.

By: Melanie Lee

This April and May, you’ll be spoilt with choice pickings for your arts fix whether you’re an arts newcomer or an arts enthusiast. SIFA will be bringing over 46 shows from 15 countries under the helm of new festival director Gaurav Kripalani. The festival is organised by Arts House Limited and commissioned by the National Arts Council.

Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect:


Image courtesy of Shane Reid

Plays with strong social messages feature prominently at this year’s SIFA programme. A theatrical adaptation of George Orwell’s “1984” takes place during the festival’s opening from 26 -29 April at Esplanade Theatre. Berlin production “Enemy of the People” (11 – 12 May, also Esplanade Theatre) follows a doctor who discovers the drinking water in his spa town is contaminated by industrial waste.


Jazz fans need to listen up because SIFA will be bringing in the legendary Duke Ellington Orchestra from the US during the festival closing (admission is FREE) on 12 May at Singapore Botanic Gardens. There’s also Grammy Award winner and YouTube sensation Jacob Collier giving a one-night only concert on 27 Apr at Victoria Concert Hall. Local jazz musicians such as Alemay Fernandez and Rani Singam will also be jazzing it up with “Jazz at Play I, II & III” at The Arts House from 28 – 30 Apr.


Image courtesy of Regina Brocke

It’s abstract poetry in motion with “OCD Love” by L-E-V Dance Company (Israel) from 5-6 May at SOTA Drama Theatre while “The Blues Project” (8 – 9 May, Victoria Theatre) by legendary American tap dancer and choreographer Michelle Dorrance will have you tapping your feet to this explosive and innovative performance that won the Bessie Award in 2015.


Look out for SIFA’s Festival Commission – a modern reinterpretation of “A Dream under the Southern Bough” (30 Apr – 1 May) by Toy Factory Production at SOTA Studio Theatre. Meanwhile, master storyteller Kamini Ramachandran will be spinning rich and evocative tales at the Armenian Church accompanied by live music with “The Hidden” (3 – 6 May).


There’ll be literary events based on SIFA’s theatre performances of Orwell’s “1984” (as mentioned earlier) as well as Octavia E. Butler’s “Parable of the Sower”. “1984 – The Lecture” (29 Apr, 4pm, The Arts House) will be given by academic and poet Dr Gwee Li Sui as he explores the damage to individuality under oppressive conditions. “Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower – The Book Club” (28 Apr, 11am, The Arts House) will be hosted by Jason Erik Lundberg, fiction editor at Epigram Books and founding editor of “LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction”. The author, Octavia E. Butler, will also be at this special session.


For festival director Gaurav Kripalani, he hopes this promotion will motivate more youths to attend. “As I was thinking about how to shape the festival, I was thinking about how to shape the festival that would inspire young people just like I was 25 years ago while watching Ninagawa’s Macbeth at Singapore Arts Festival,” he said during the media preview. There are limited student tickets available for selected shows, so grab them while you can!

2018 Singapore International Festival of the Arts will take place from 26 April to 12 May 2018. Click here for more information.

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