S'pore Night Festival, bigger with more home-grown talents

The Bras Basah-Bugis area will be alight with activities for the Singapore Night Festival which has about 80 free events The Singapore Night Festival is back tonight, bigger and with more home-grown talents.

Close to 80 free events will take place throughout the Bras Basah-Bugis area over four nights, from 7pm to 2am today, tomorrow and on Aug 30 and 31.

The stretch from Plaza Singapura to Raffles City - including Waterloo and Armenian streets and Fort Canning Park - will be transformed into a nocturnal wonderland. Mesmerising light shows, gravity- defying and flame-throwing dancers, as well as interactive exhibitions are among the attractions.

More than 400,000 people are expected to attend this year's festival, the sixth edition. It is the biggest instalment yet, up by some 25 events from last year's festival, and cost the event's organiser, the National Heritage Board, about $1 million to produce. Last year's festival attracted 476,000 people over four nights.

There will be unicycle jugglers, mime artists and balloon sculptors. Do not be surprised if, say, a jester helps you to cross the road - guiding pedestrians is part of these roving artists' job-cum-act.

Festival director Angelita Teo, who is also director of the National Museum of Singapore, says the goal is to create "an extravaganza, a carnival to energise the entire Bras Basah-Bugis precinct".

While previous themes have included "Voyage" and "New World", this year's festival, like last year's, will not have a leitmotif. "With more partners joining us to offer a wide array of programmes, having a theme would be too limiting," says MsTeo, 41. "We want people to have the room to be creative and engage our diverse audience."

Almost 100 local artists, musicians and filmmakers will have their work on display this year, compared to 43 last year. Some will share the stage with nine international artists flying in from France, Spain and Germany.

For example, Singaporean film-maker Victric Thng has created a video and light show that will be projected on the facade of the National Museum of Singapore during French aerial dance troupe Compagnie Retouramont's 20-minute performance, Vertical Extraction, a festival highlight.

Performing at a national festival in front of so many people is a fantastic opportunity for local artists, says illustrator Michael Ng, co-founder of the Organisation Of Illustrators Council Singapore. He is among more than 10 illustrators from the organisation whose work will be projected on the National Museum's facade, for a music and video projection called Moongrazing, on Aug 30 and 31.

Says Ng, 49: "It is our first time participating and it is an amazing platform for us to introduce our illustrators to the public and highlight their work. Not as background boys drawing beautiful pictures, but as artists."


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