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Natalie Hennedige to fuel next era of artistic transformation with Singapore International Festival of Arts

Arts House Limited (AHL) appoints Natalie Hennedige as next Festival Director for SIFA 2021 to 2023.


(L-R: Ms Sarah Martin, CEO AHL, Ms Natalie Hennedige, SIFA Festival Director Designate and Mr Gaurav Kripalani, SIFA Festival Director)

Singapore, 21 October 2019
– Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) welcomes Natalie Hennedige as the next Festival Director for SIFA 2021 to 2023, after current Festival Director Gaurav Kripalani’s three-year tenure draws to a close at the upcoming 43rd edition of Singapore’s pinnacle performing arts event in 2020. This move is in line with AHL’s policy of ensuring continuity and a smooth transition from one festival to the next. The additional time will enable the Festival Director Designate to have more time to plan and curate performances.

Known for her avant-garde productions as the Founder and Artistic Director of Cake Theatrical Productions (Cake), Hennedige has engineered artistically adventurous works such as the multi-disciplinary Decimal Points series and Running with Strippers platform. Hennedige’s vast palette of work defy conventional labels, and her unique artistic voice and bold inventiveness have won her several accolades, including the 2007 National Arts Council Young Artist Award and the 2010 JCCI Singapore Foundation Culture Award.

Cake’s productions have been presented on a variety of local and international platforms from conventional theatres to Singaporean neighbourhoods and outdoor spectacles. Cake, now in its 14th year, is known for presenting progressive works at the intersection of performance and a variety of other disciplines, garnering a total of 41 nominations and 16 awards at The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards.

The selection of a new Festival Director is a reminder of the core values of SIFA which emphasise the need to showcase the best of local and international works that present unique voices within a broader remit of international discourse. Hennedige will continue to build on those values and provide fresh perspectives while strengthening SIFA’s identity as a premier destination in the global arts scene.

Sarah Martin, CEO of AHL, shares that “Art in life, and life in art does not stand still. SIFA embodies this spirit of evolution and a different director at the helm at each new cycle brings new insights and introduces diversity into the arts landscape. Gaurav and the AHL team have brought the festival from strength to strength in the last three years. We welcome Natalie as she embarks on the next lap of SIFA’s future where we can continue to explore, innovate and grow the festival in its multiple dimensions on the world map.”

Hennedige will officially assume the role as Festival Director Designate in January 2020 where she will get to work with Kripalani and the AHL team to ensure a smooth handover. During this period, Hennedige will begin to make plans and forge relationships as she prepares to unveil her vision for the next three years of SIFA in 2021.

Hennedige adds, “I will be looking to reacquaint myself with the festival from its beginnings til present time, taking in its shifts and evolutions. The festival is on a continuum and taking it forward means understanding its place in the context of the present. Each festival director writes a new chapter by designing an arc that corresponds to their unique perspectives and artistic leanings. Together with the AHL team, I hope to define and deliver an inspired vision for SIFA in its next chapter for Singapore. To uplift, that would be my ultimate hope.”

Gaurav Kripalani, SIFA’s current Festival Director says, “I am delighted by the AHL Board’s decision to appoint Natalie. It has been an honour to be the eighth Festival Director, helming Singapore’s pinnacle national arts festival. I look forward to passing the baton to Natalie after my last SIFA concludes on 31 May 2020 and have communicated my full support to her for a smooth transition.”

Commissioned by the National Arts Council, the festival will return from 15 to 31 May 2020 for its annual three-week tour de force featuring commissions which showcase renowned local and international artists. As the emblematic festival championing the creation and presentation of local and international works across theatre, music, dance, film and visual arts, SIFA provides a platform for ground-breaking world-class shows.

Mrs Rosa Daniel, CEO of the National Arts Council says, “Under the guidance of past illustrious Festival Directors over the years, SIFA has anchored our performing arts calendar, positioned Singapore as a place for cultural exchange, and deepened understanding. NAC recognises the importance of SIFA as a significant platform for our major performing arts groups and practitioners as articulated in Our SG Arts Plan. Under current Festival Director Gaurav Kripalani, SIFA 2020 promises to be a distinctive finale for his three years at the helm of Singapore’s pinnacle performing arts event. We are pleased to welcome Natalie Hennedige as Festival Director Designate and look forward to the entire team building on the momentum created by Gaurav. We are confident audiences will continue to experience diverse international performances, meaningful engagement of our home-grown talents, and the growth of new SIFA fans, both Singaporean and international.”

SIFA is committed to providing opportunities for local artists to broaden their creative horizons by cultivating and strengthening networks among artist communities around the world. Hennedige will continue to develop SIFA as a hub of meaningful collaboration and dialogue amongst art lovers and practitioners as well as the festival’s mission of presenting local and international artists’ works, from their creation to curtain call.


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About the Singapore International Festival of Arts 2020 (SIFA 2020)

As Singapore’s annual pinnacle performing arts festival, the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) presents captivating and diverse works across theatre, music, dance, film and visual arts. First launched as the Singapore Festival of Arts in 1977, the festival has gone through several evolutions and inspired generations of arts lovers and practitioners. Today, the highly anticipated festival is a high point on Singapore’s arts and cultural calendar.

Under the helm of Festival Director Gaurav Kripalani from 2018–2020, SIFA continues its festival mission to champion the creation and presentation of Singaporean and international works. At SIFA 2020, The Arts House will once again be transformed into the Festival House.

With meaningful engagement opportunities from artists talks, workshops, discussions and the festival bar—House Pour, the Festival House breaks down the walls between artists and audiences to create unique experiences and inspiring artistic encounters.

About Arts House Limited

Arts House Limited (AHL) is a not-for-profit organisation committed to enriching lives through the arts. AHL manages two key landmarks located in the heart of Singapore’s Civic District – The Arts House, a multi-disciplinary arts centre with a focus on literary programming, and the Victoria Theatre & Victoria Concert Hall, a heritage building that is home to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. It also runs the Goodman Arts Centre and Aliwal Arts Centre, two creative enclaves for artists, arts groups and creative businesses, and performing arts space Drama Centre. AHL presents the Singapore International Festival of Arts, the annual pinnacle celebration of performance and interdisciplinary arts in Singapore commissioned by the National Arts Council.

AHL was set up in 11 Dec 2002 as a company limited by guarantee (CLG) under the National Arts Council and was formerly known as The Old Parliament House Limited. It was officially renamed Arts House Limited on 19 Mar 2014.

About National Arts Council

The National Arts Council champions the arts in Singapore. By nurturing creative excellence and supporting broad audience engagement, our diverse and distinctive arts inspire our people, connect communities and profile Singapore internationally. We preserve our rich cultural traditions as we cultivate accomplished artists and vibrant companies for the future. Our support for the arts is comprehensive – from grants and partnerships to industry facilitation and arts housing. The Council welcomes greater private and corporate giving to and through the arts, so that together we can make the arts an integral part of everyone’s lives. For more information on the Council’s mission and plans, please visit www.nac.gov.sg.

Follow #SIFA2020 on:
Website: sifa.sg
Facebook: facebook.com/sifa.sg
Twitter: twitter.com/sifa_sg
Instagram: instagram.com/sifa_sg

(Credits: Arts House Limited)


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For more information, please contact:

Samantha Jong
Huntington Communications
T: +65 6339 2883
M: +65 8163 4662
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Glenn Huang
Head, Communications
Arts House Limited
T: +65 6435 0240
M: +65 9274 7553
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Johann Khairi
Manager, Communications
Arts House Limited
T: +65 6435 0176
M: +65 9180 7776
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  • 2020