Notice: The Singapore International Festival of Arts is cancelled due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019).

Stage view of 100 Singapore play.

Photo by Arts House Limited

Inspiration takes front and centre stage at the Singapore International Festival of the Arts (SIFA), one of our island’s most iconic celebrations of arts and culture.

Back for its 43rd year, the grand old dame of our national arts events returns with over 200 artists from 14 countries participating in more than 100 diverse programmes.

2020’s edition of the festival is set to take place at a myriad venues across our city, from the stages of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and Victoria Theatre to the lush green lawns of Gardens by the Bay and Cathay Green Orchard.

Embark on an exploration of the imagination and discover new ways of looking at the world, with our round up of the plays, performances and expert panels that await you at SIFA 2020.

All the world’s a stage
Poster of Cold Blood play.

Photo by Julien Lambert

New worlds beckon at SIFA 2020, as talented thespians from all across the globe take to the stage in an array of captivating performances.

International performances include exuberant performance Revisor by Kidd Pivot and Three Sisters, an Anton Chekhov classic given new life by local troupe Nine Years Theatre and the SITI Company of New York.

Cold Blood—A surreal Belgian performance that features dancing hands on a miniaturised stage—is bound to evoke a standing ovation, while Queen Blood interrogates the complex issues of womanhood through dynamic dance.

Festival-goers looking to discover the world of Singaporean theatre (and its talented thespians and playwrights) can sign up for The Year of No Return, which addresses the impact of climate change, and A Dream Under The Southern Borough, a modernised retelling of Ming Dynasty playwright Tang Xianzu’s work.

Muses and music
Image of Grammy and Academy award-winning artist Tan Dun at the Buddha Passion orchestra performance.

Photo by Arts House Limited

The world of music can inspire emotions that go beyond language and the intellect, and the performances at SIFA 2020 showcase the pinnacle of these art forms.

Be mesmerised by Buddha Passion, a six-act opera in Mandarin and Sanskrit that captures the ancient narratives of Buddhist teaching. Or discover a renewed love for symphonic music at Ensemble Intercontemporain—The Wind Quartet, which fuses contemporary video, lighting and visual arts with a traditional orchestra performance.

Local experimental rock band The Observatory will also return for the third edition of its performance series, Source X Audible Land, which champions under-represented voices in arts, music and culture.

For an unforgettable interactive experience, be sure to visit Musical Swings, which invites visitors of all ages to collaborate in music-making. Comprising ten swings that mimic instruments like the harp, guitar and piano, this installation is bound to re-ignite your childlike sense of wonder towards music.

Beyond the screen
Poster of Singular Screens curated by Asian Film Archive.

Photo by Arts House Limited

A great film does more than entertain—it lives beyond the screen in our imaginations.

Singular Selection by the Asian Film Archives showcases a collection of masterpieces from Singapore and the rest of the globe, with a curated selection that will evoke and inspire in equal measure.

Other films at the event include Bill Frisell: A Portrait, an in-depth documentary of legendary musician and composer Bill Frisell. In addition, Shiro Takatani: Between Nature And Technology shares insights into the mind of the artist, and his fixation on the depiction of the natural world.

Art and ingenuity

Get behind the scenes and into the minds of artists, composers and directors, with SIFA 2020’s range of scintillating talks, workshops and seminars.

Gain insights from beloved Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, learn about the nuances of visual installations with local artist Ho Tzu Nyen, or deepen your love for music with Bill Frisell.

If you’re looking to hone your own skill sets, you can sign up for a workshop on the nuances of the Suzuki Method or discover the boundaries of dance at a panel by some of the art form’s leading practitioners.

SIFA 2020 takes place at multiple venues in the heart of the city. More information on other venues can be found here.