9 April 2018 – Presented by leading local theatre company W!LD RICE, the Singapore Theatre Festival (STF) returns to centre stage for its sixth edition in July 2018. For the first time, the Festival will have two Directors: Ivan Heng and Alfian Sa’at. Together, they have curated a thrilling new line-up of plays by Singapore’s emerging, established and undiscovered playwrights. The Festival will also see the launch of a new scheme that will make available 500 free tickets for students and youths.
“This is our most ambitious Festival yet,” observes Heng, W!LD RICE’s Founding Artistic Director. “The eight brand-new plays are bold, provocative and very entertaining. They are very much about Singapore and the world that we live in today, and I believe there is something for everybody in this Festival!”NEW PERSPECTIVES – Shining a Spotlight on Contemporary Issues
From 5 to 22 July, this singular arts event will celebrate contemporary Singaporean theatre through the development and presentation of new and original home-grown writing.
The plays in this year’s Festival explore a diverse range of social themes and the latest hot-button topics. Each playwright speaks out and speaks up on issues affecting Singaporeans today, including media freedom, surveillance, racism and the value of our national heritage and history.
“Theatre serves as a public forum in which today’s issues, problems and possibilities can be freely examined and discussed,” says Alfian, who is also the Festival’s Dramaturg and W!LD RICE’s Resident Playwright.
“Over the years, the Festival has provided an outlet for voices and stories in Singapore that would otherwise have gone unheard. This year, we are especially keen on celebrating the stories of ordinary women and men – from actors and journalists to domestic workers, soldiers and flea-market vendors.”NEW VOICES – A New Generation of Talents on Stage
As the only Festival in Singapore that focuses on presenting fully realised productions of new local writing, this season will feature seven plays making their world premieres, including former Straits Times journalist Tan Tarn How’s Press Gang. One of Singapore’s finest dramatists and social commentators, Tan makes his Festival debut with this political thriller that doubles as a satirical commentary on media self-censorship and offers first-hand insight into the workings of the so-called free press.
Other highlights include Thomas Lim’s Supervision, a funny, tense and insightful new work that asks pressing questions about a domestic worker’s right to privacy, dignity and freedom; and Cheow Boon Seng’s.
One Metre Square: Voices From Sungei Road, a provocative verbatim play that looks at poverty, pragmatism and the price of progress one year after the closure of the Sungei Road Market.
The Festival prides itself on its collaborations with undiscovered and emerging playwrights, many of whom have since made a name for themselves in Singapore’s theatre scene. This year, first-time playwrights Ruth Tang and Chong Woon Yong will take to the stage, offering fresh and unique perspectives on theatre and the arts.
Thomas Lim, W!LD RICE’s Artist-In-Residence, made his professional playwriting debut in STF2016 with two-time sold-out smash hit Grandmother Tongue. As such, he has first-hand experience on what the Festival means to an aspiring playwright.
“Putting up a play is a risky and daunting endeavour – it requires so much in terms of passion, experience and resources. The Festival gave me a safe space to grow as a writer, and an invaluable platform by which I could share my voice and my ideas with audiences.”
NEW AUDIENCES – Free Youth Tickets
This year, the Festival will welcome its 60,000th audience member into the theatre – a remarkable milestone for an event featuring new names and untested works. In keeping with its commitment to developing the next generation of audiences, W!LD RICE will be launching W!LD & Free, its youth access programme, in conjunction with the Festival.
“We want these exciting plays to reach young people,” says Heng. “They are the future and we believe these plays will engage, inspire and empower them. Nothing compares to the shared experience of theatre when it comes to opening up new possibilities and new ways of looking at Singapore and our society.”
Under the auspices of W!LD & Free, 500 free tickets for the Festival will be set aside for young people and students from the ages of 16 to 25. All interested and eligible individuals can sign up via the festival website, www.singaporetheatrefestival.com, from 9 April to 30 April, on a first-come-first-served basis.
There will also be many opportunities for audiences to engage with the themes, ideas and issues raised by the eight plays in the Festival. A series of Festivities have been planned that will include discussion forums, readings of new plays, and a dramaturgy workshop.
Tickets for the Singapore Theatre Festival go on sale on 9 April for W!LD RICE Angels. Tickets for the general public go on sale on 23 April, with early-bird discounts and package deals available. For more information, visit www.singaporetheatrefestival.com.