Artistic Director’s Message Banner

DEAR AUDIENCE,

I am beyond thrilled to welcome you to the fifth edition of the Singapore Theatre Festival! At a time when Singapore is poised between its storied past and the uncertain future, the Festival presents eight of the most exciting, ambitious and thought-provoking new plays that have been written in and about today’s Singapore.

In this day and age, many issues surrounding race, religion, politics, sex and gender identity have become divisive and polarising. When it comes to thinking and talking about them, we are frequently paralysed by political correctness and fear.

We need new ways of seeing and thinking. Collectively and individually, the plays in the Festival invite and enable conversation and debate about today’s hot-button topics. Insightful, funny and moving, they challenge and encourage us to imagine possibilities beyond our own biases and prejudices, giving us clues as to how we can live with one another.

Check in to W!LD RICE’s HOTEL, an electrifying five-hour odyssey through time and history that was unanimously acclaimed as an instant classic following its sold-out premiere at the 2015 Singapore International Festival of Arts. Travel with us through the neon-lit lorongs of Geylang and the makeshift motorcycle racing lanes near Yishun Dam, where you’ll learn why Riders Know When It’s Gonna Rain. Get swept up in the political manoeuvrings playing out in Chai Chee-Commonwealth GRC. Watch as faith and sexuality come into conflict when an unconventional love story comes to a premature end in Hawa. And listen to the voices of those who are bravely breaking the silence: young people questioning their sexuality and gender in Let’s Get Back Together, dialect-speakers cast into linguistic exile in Grandmother Tongue, and an older woman discovering buried passions in My Mother Buys Condoms.

To enrich your theatre-going experience, we have also planned an exciting range of FEST!VITIES. Engage with prominent public personalities and thought leaders at The Art & Life Sessions, a series of lively forums reflecting on the issues of the day. Kick back and relax in the Festival Club with Drag Attack!, Songs of Protest and Stand Up for Singapore, a late-night programme that shines a spotlight on emerging and established talents in the respective fields of drag, music and stand-up comedy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this Festival is about YOU, and it’s about US. From the disarmingly intimate to the startlingly epic, these new plays will open your eyes, touch your hearts and blow your minds. They are immediately relevant to anyone who calls Singapore home. But, far from being insular and parochial, they also speak to the universal experience of being human and the world we live in today.

We look forward to welcoming you to the theatre!

IVAN HENG
Artistic Director