SIFA 2019 Festival Message

When I was appointed as the new Festival Director for Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) last year, one of the central tenets of the curation process we put in place was to present work by game-changing artists. From the outset of my three-year tenure, it was important to me that SIFA challenges audiences intellectually, emotionally and artistically, allowing them to experience works they would not normally have a chance to see in Singapore.

(Photo by Tuckys Photography)

Last year, I found myself huddled amid the sand dunes and pine forests of Terschelling Island off the north coast of The Netherlands, to watch Bedtime Stories, a brilliant one-man show which we are bringing to SIFA this year. It reminds us that powerful stories can be told with the simplest of tools - in this case, the actor’s voice. Or through elaborate work such as the cross-cultural, multi-faceted Dionysus by Tadashi Suzuki. Game-changing artists and work exist everywhere – it is our mission to find them and bring them to you.

This season, SIFA 2019 is proud to present provocative and challenging works by artists from Singapore and abroad. Our local Festival commissions explore contemporary issues and daringly bring to the spotlight lesser-known facets of Asian history and culture. Toy Factory will realise its innovative re-interpretation of a beloved Ming play. Checkpoint Theatre delves into the realities of the humanitarian aid industry, while Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen investigate some of Southeast Asia’s most shadowy historical figures. 

On the international front, SIFA is delighted to welcome to our shores works by world-renowned theatre directors Tadashi Suzuki and Simon McBurney, legendary musicians Ryuichi Sakamoto and Bill Frisell, and ground-breaking choreographers Gisèle Vienne and Sasha Waltz. 

SIFA 2019 audiences can also expect to see a greater range of multidisciplinary work that defies easy classification, from pushing boundaries between theatre and dance in ST/LL by Japanese artist Shiro Takatani, to the use of virtual reality and binaural sound in Frogman by UK company curious directive.

SIFA will also present Silo Theatre’s Peter and the Wolf for families, as well as free outdoor performances in non-traditional venues for audiences of all ages.

Festival House will be back this year, as the epicentre of SIFA 2019. Here, audiences and artistes can extend their engagement with the Festival beyond the performance, as well as engage with each other, through a range of talks, workshops and master-classes to delve deeper into the themes and perspectives of each show.

SIFA 2019 would not have been possible without the support of CEO Sarah Martin; our three extraordinary producers – Junmin, Rydwan and Sara; and the phenomenal team at Arts House Limited. I would like to thank each of them for their dedication and passion. 

Finally, I would like to warmly welcome you, our audience, to SIFA 2019. We look forward to taking you on this exciting journey with us.

Gaurav Kripalani
Festival Director