SIFA 2017: The Art Festival You Have To Catch

Learn more about the Arts in Singapore! Click here to find out about our national arts festival this year and a quick summary of the exciting lineup to expect.

By Hui Ling Chang


Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA), is an event organised and managed by the Arts House Limited. This national arts festival features a variety of dance, theater and music performances for the local community.

Cultural Medallion recipient Ong Keng Sen is heading the festival for one last year as festival director, with 16 specially curated productions to be showcased over a span of about 6 weeks starting 5 August till 9 September. The festival explores relationships between society and its landscape, and the artworks will surface many issues that we find familiar and overlook sometimes.

What to expect

We encourage the public to go support and be involved in the growing local arts scene. The various performances will be held in several different locations; mostly in the central region, with some scattered around Singapore. Open Homes by Jeffrey Tan, for example, is having his theater experience in thirty public and private housing areas. Residents will open up their homes to the public to share stories with those who are keen to hear more about what goes on behind other Singaporean households. It celebrates the diversity of experience, backgrounds, and dreams of the people here. It even features multiple languages as well, making this performance an embodiment of nationalistic spirit.

Another showpiece at SIFA with an interesting concept is Becoming Graphic, a collaboration by award-winning cartoonist Sonny Liew and theater-maker Edith Podesta. A performance that confronts ageing and mortality, it will attempt to marry the two vastly different languages of comics and theatre to construct a show led by a central ‘voicer’.

Various international acts will also premiere in Asia-Pacific right here in SIFA 2017 such as the provocative performance artist Robyn Orlin, and even the National Theatre of Korea, who will be collaborating with the festival director to bring their musical production Trojan Women outside of Korea for the first time. The latter, which adapts from a Greek classic, is also having Beijing choreographer Wen Hui to do movement work that is inspired by the daily lives of women to reinforce the piece’s strong gender perspectives.

If you are more of a film person, then you could catch the selection’s culminating work, the film titled Lizard on the Wall by K. Rajagopal. Starring unknown performers taken directly from the O.P.E.N. (SIFA’s pre-festival), this Singapore film embraces spontaneity and interactivity and is the combined effort of hundreds of artists.

Our Verdict

The Performing Arts scene is far too underrated in Singapore and we highly recommend you give this festival a try. A colourful and exciting line-up awaits, and you can check out more details in SIFA’s official site here .