The Arts House Turns 10 and "Disappears": Catch The Next Page
Singapore, 10 February 2014 – The Arts House marks its 10-year milestone by “disappearing” from the arts scene! Tongue-in-cheek yet contemplative, the 10-day celebrations from 26 March till 6 April will create an alternate universe in which The Arts House is replaced by a dance club, a posh five-star boutique hotel, and even a mega bookstore!
Conceptualised by Artistic Director Chong Tze Chien of The Finger Players, the anchor show The Next Page takes over the entire former Parliament House, and re-imagines the spaces through an immersive visual and performance installation show. The show invites the audience to consider The Arts House’s contributions via its “absence” and muse on the question of what-ifs: What if The Arts House no longer exists? What if in its place are a bookstore, a heritage gallery, a club and even a hotel?
Says William Phuan, Director, The Arts House: “This is a celebratory moment for us, but at the same time it puts us in a state of existential angst too. True to the spirit of the building, which has seen many transformations since it was built in 1827, The Arts House has also changed and reinvented itself over the past 10 years. Now, at this pivotal juncture, we are more than ready to make the leap to the next page as a centre for writing, writers and ideas. We want to be the home to Singapore literature and writers, and be the nexus where you can access the best of the writing from Southeast Asia and around the world as well. For the year ahead, some of The Arts House’s plans include revamping the bookstore Earshot and overhauling its equipment. The programme highlights include the Singapore International Translation Symposium, Remembering Moore: An Exhibition of Singapore’s Arts Pioneer and Serajah Melayu - [Dis]Covering The Malay Annals.”
Explaining further the concept of The Next Page, Chong Tze Chien says: “We tend to miss things most when they are gone; it's only when there's a void that we better appreciate its impact on our lives. As such, I want to play on this sentiment with The Arts House’s 10th anniversary. I hope audiences will appreciate how The Arts House has played its role as a centre of literary and performance arts in the past, and how it will continue to evolve and reinvent itself such that the arts will always be relevant and integral to our lives.”
Audiences will be immersed in a House of re-imagined histories through site-specific performances written and performed by some of Singapore’s brightest and emerging talents, including playwrights Lucas Ho and Joel Tan. As part of the show, audiences can also look forward to an outdoor projection show on the building’s façade every night by multimedia artist Brian Gothong Tan.
In addition to the anchor show, many free literary-inspired events and activities will also spread over the two weeks from26 March to 6 April. Visitors can take a lyrical tour through Singapore via the visual-audio installation exhibition Going Places, which features almost 30 recordings of poems about places in Singapore by 25 poets themselves. They include Prof Edwin Thumboo’s Bras Basah, Eileen Chong’s Victoria Street, Damon Chua’s Katong, Lee Tzu Pheng’s Amoy Street, Arthur Yap’s Old House at Ann Siang Hill, as well as a specially commissioned piece of The Arts House by Pooja Nansi. The exhibition will run from 26 March to 18 May.
In a literary “face off” that is one of its kind, Singapore writers will be paired in the programme Writer x Writer, where local English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil writers, poets or playwrights will discuss each other’s works or riff off on some themes. Some of the pairings include Cyril Wong versus Verena Tay, Isa Kamari versus Mohd Latiff Mohd and Rafaat Hamzah versus Noor Hasnah Adam. And on 29 March, two teams of writers will engage in a passionate debate in the Chamber on the motion, “Singapore can be a City of Literature”.
Over the weekend of 28 and 29 March, audiences can get under the stars, relax on the lawn and enjoy a line-up of Timbre bands and Singapore Original Series artists, including [.gif], Gareth Fernandez, Nick Chim and Natalie Hiong atConcert On The Lawn. Families and arts enthusiasts can also check out the pop-up flea market Art Mart.
The old walls of the Old Parliament House will come alive with tales from 2 to 4 April, when master storyteller Kamini Ramachandran will take audiences through the secret crevices of the building that were previously not open to the public during Night Walk With The Storyteller. It will be an unforgettable nocturnal experience of spooky and captivating tales, heightened by food, scent and sound.
For a grand finale to the 10th anniversary celebrations, The Arts House will be opening its spaces for a fun-filled Open House weekend from 5 to 6 April. Audiences can enjoy a variety of free books-related arts activities and performances put up by the community themselves, who had responded to our call to organise activities for the public in the spirit of an arts commons.
The public are also invited to share photos of their most cherished moments at The Arts House on Instagram. The five most popular entries will stand to win a pair of tickets to The Next Page as well as an exclusive copy of The Arts House’s 10th anniversary commemorative book.
The Official Projector Sponsor for The Arts House 10th anniversary programmes is Epson and the Official Printing Sponsor is NPE Print Communications. The Programme Partners are Timbre Music, BooksActually and the National Institute of Education. One of the Supporters is the Singapore Memory Project, National Library Board.
The Arts House’s 10th anniversary programmes run from 26 March to 6 April. The two ticketed shows, The Next Pageand Night Walk With The Storyteller, can be purchased at $10 from www.bytes.sg. All other events, including Going Places, Writer x Writer, Art Mart, Concert On The Lawn and Open House events are free. For full information about the programme, the public can visit www.theartshouse.com.sg.
For media queries, please contact:
Marketing & Communications
The Arts House
+65 6332 6903
The Arts House - Home To Words
Occupying the almost 200-year-old building that was Singapore's first Parliament House, The Arts House since its opening in 2004 has been playing an active role in the Singapore arts and creative scene. As a centre for writing, writers and ideas, The Arts House supports and presents programmes and festivals that aim to develop and promote literary arts in Singapore. For more information: www.theartshouse.com.sg.