Returning on 17 May, the Festival invites audiences to embrace a harmonious coexistence with the natural environment and the diverse voices around them

Singapore International Festival of Arts SIFA 2024

Organised by Arts House Limited (AHL) and commissioned by the National Arts Council (NAC), the programme line-up for the 2024 edition of the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) was unveiled by Festival Director Natalie Hennedige. With the radiant sunset and sounds of crashing waves setting the stage for an unconventional reveal, Hennedige also announced the theme for SIFA 2024 – They Declare – an expression of the multiplicity of voices that the Festival welcomes and celebrates. Returning from 17 May to 2 June 2024, the Festival will present five newly commissioned productions and seven invited international presentations, as well as an engaging event that celebrates Singapore’s vibrant theatre scene and an all-new programming pillar catered for families and children.

Welcoming diverse ways of being

Since 2022, the recurring title, The Anatomy of Performance, has served as a guiding framework for SIFA under Hennedige’s leadership, reflecting her intention to push and expand the possibilities of performance, while expressing potent narratives and insights about complex issues today. Further defining the focus of each edition’s programming is a changing subtitle tagged to the recurring title. Following SIFA 2022’s Ritual and SIFA 2023’s Some People, SIFA 2024’s They Declare is an evocative call for audiences to make space for the coexistence of different beliefs and ways of being, by reflecting on their relationship to the natural environment as well as the other voices and existences that surround them.

Festival Director Natalie Hennedige says, “The intent to illuminate how performance can be approached as a dynamic arena not only for artistic innovation and expression, but also to gather and be moved by shifting perspectives has been the driving force behind each edition of the Festival. With clear Singapore identity and international presence, we continue to build a Festival that responds to the now, encouraging all present to embrace difference, and different ways of being in these testing times.”

Fostering creative intersections and progressive, original works

As Singapore’s annual pinnacle performing arts festival, SIFA is a platform devoted to supporting the development and presentation of cutting-edge creations that hold contemporary relevance to local audiences. SIFA 2024 continues to explore dynamic transnational collaborations, bringing together the unique artistic perspectives of Singapore’s brightest creators and celebrated international artists.

This year’s Festival commissions include:

● Conceived by Singapore music artist Safuan Johari in collaboration with Māori Choreographer Eddie Elliott, SUARA / Oro Rua features original compositions centred on and driven by a choral unit comprising singers from diverse musical practices and backgrounds, with string and electronic music and a cast of New Zealand dance artists to imagine a post-Anthropocene future.

● WILFUL MACHINE, a performance-installation work by Singapore visual artist Genevieve Chua, which presents a playful take on artificial intelligence, examining humanness in a world of data and algorithms.

● Celebrated Singapore theatre-makers Haresh Sharma and Chong Tze Chien come together for THE PROSE AND THE PASSION, which draws from the works, letters and life of one of the greatest English novelists of all time, E. M. Forster, to create a play where fictional characters from Forster’s novels traverse space and time and interact with characters from Sharma’s imagination.

● Iconic Singapore band The Observatory presents REFUGE, an interdisciplinary live performance project combining sound, live music, moving image and light that takes audiences on a metaphysical sojourn into the subterranean to examine the relationship between the self and the natural world in the face of profound and constant change.

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