Ruckus ends with search for help

Ruckus ends with search for help
Mr Ong, 50, and Ms Lee, 51

The Singapore International Festival of Arts is looking to fill four new job positions, in a step towards a clearer definition of roles within the festival team and streamlining the way it works.

This seems to spell the close of a ruckus which erupted last month between the two festival heads, director Ong Keng Sen and Arts House Limited chief executive Lee Chor Lin. Ms Lee heads the newly merged entity of Arts Festival Limited and The Old Parliament House Limited.

Mr Ong, 50, and Ms Lee, 51, had been involved last month in a public spat over the artistic direction of the festival as it was presented to the public through festival guides and brochures. These materials were printed and released yesterday.

Signalling an end to the dispute, the director yesterday thanked Ms Lee and the festival team "for producing these beautiful brochures".

The festival is now looking to hire four people who will work closely with Mr Ong. The positions are for a general manager, a communications and engagement manager, a partnerships and development manager and a marketing and sales manager.

On the new openings, Ms Lee says: "This will help us give the festival a dedicated effort because all of us will be doing many other things, so we wanted just a few more people to focus on the festival.

"It's also something that we couldn't quite visualise until recently, how much work there is to do. As CEO of the new company, I have to really rejig things and be flexible. We have to be very nimble about it."

The festival now has about eight people on staff, and Mr Ong and Ms Lee say there is a possibility that the staff of The Arts House, an independent arts centre, might join the team to help with the festival.

There were also hopes for The Arts House to host several O.P.E.N. events, but with the year's current bookings already in place for the building, most of the O.P.E.N. will take place in Mohamed Sultan Road at the space of TheatreWorks, of which Mr Ong is artistic director.

Ms Lee says: "During the festival time, some of the existing programmes here at The Arts House could also have some sort of synergy with the festival... If something in the programme is really in the spirit or the rhythm of the festival, we can look at how to market these things to parallel the festival."

This article was published on April 9 in The Straits Times.

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