Somewhere in Time

Step back in time and relive the transformation of the historic Tanjong Pagar district, through this interactive walking tour. Enrolled as “errand runners”, wander the streets with our guide and a mystery character from the past, as you complete various tasks to uncover hidden gems and lesser-known tales about one of Singapore’s first conservation districts, learn about the resilience and resourcefulness of our pioneers and how they have strived for a better tomorrow. Be prepared to engage all your senses – you’ll never look at Tanjong Pagar quite the same way again.

TOURS

Saturdays 9.30am to 11.30 am or 3 pm to 5 pm From Sat 27 Nov 2021, except Christmas and New Year weekends.

We are also available for private group tours on Tuesdays or Fridays.

TICKETS

$60 per person

Book here if you are using SingapoRediscover Vouchers (SRV)

https://www.klook.com/activity/65366-somewhere-in-time-singapore-walking-tour/

or book here if you are not using SRV

https://bit.ly/3GY1JQ1

Food Memories

About the Silver Arts Community Arts Residency

The Silver Arts Community Arts Residency at LB SAC @ AMK 318 is an initiative by the National Arts Council in collaboration with Lions Befrienders Service Association (Singapore). It aims to provide artists with opportunities to engage and co-create with communities, to shape communal spaces, reflect collective stories and complement conversations surrounding Arts & Ageing.

Check out all seven Food Memories video on the Theatre Today Youtube channel! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_XwBUm5aBpFY4nf1fGrOsw

Review of SAME-SAME (2020)

The Barefoot Review

Same Same No Strings Attached

No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability & Diverse Abilities Dance Collective, DADC (Singapore). Adelaide Festival Centre. 13 Nov 2020

There’s live performance and there’s live Zoom performance. No Strings and DADC have just pulled off both in an absolutely delightful international coup. Each company had a live performance group in situ, one in Singapore and one in Adelaide. But they merged as one interactive body via a Zoom collaboration. 

Here in Adelaide, a live audience gathered covid-style in the Festival Centre’s Quartet Bar with the No Strings performers sitting beneath the giant screen whereupon they were joined by the Singapore performers. The theme of the event, apart from being a ground-breaking piece of new-tech international theatre, was an exploration of how performers with disability in two worlds have been coping with covid-19. 

The show’s title is the answer. Same Same. Everyone, no matter where, has been going through the same weird and worrying experience of pandemic life.

The show’s creative director and host, Jeffrey Tan, interviewed the diversity of performers one by one, establishing their differences. They have different abilities, different interests, different family groupings, different cultures, even different colour preferences. But they all share new living conditions, particularly the hand-washing rituals. And there were 20 characters on the big Zoom grid, all miming hand-washing at once; quite an artwork if one looks at sheer aesthetics. But it was saying much more.

Tan and Adelaide’s Emma Beech liaise and direct from their venues, Beech guiding the likes of Zoe to perform a lithe, hair-flicking dance of liberation while Tan offers Jasprin in a bright red dress doing something of a lively Bollywood routine. At the end of the show, the Singapore crew is shown as a dance group while in Adelaide, performers swayed in harmony. 

Tan has an exceptionally agreeable voice and demeanour. He is utterly inclusive and everyone shows loving patience with those who need a moment longer to get their words out. By the end of the Zoom hour, the strengths, skills, and characters of all the performers have been elicited and an extremely pleasing spirit of conviviality has presided.

And one feels one has come to know a bunch of interesting people from near and afar.

Tan said he devised this performance concept while brooding on the limitations that covid had inflicted on the theatre world. Partnering with No Strings’ Emma Beech brought forth the support of Arts South Australia and the Adelaide Festival Centre and, at his end, Maya Dance Theatre, the Singapore International Foundation, and Singapore Repertory Theatre. Also melded were the professional peers, Subastian Tan over there and Michaela Cantwell here. The whole endeavour grew in substance, strength, and authority; all of which showed when it came to the first of four public performances. 

Sightlines in the Quartet Bar are nothing to write home about. Even in covid chequerboard configuration, sitting at the back of a large, flat room, one can’t see the protagonists at the front except via the Zoom screens. So there is a little bit of loss of involvement. Those at the front, however, joined in with the warm-up exercises and there was lots of arm waving. So, it speaks well of the spirit of the production and the hosting of Tan and Beech that such a warm sense of covid-era kinship is communicated.

This is a brave and beautiful use of the tools of the moment with a very positive and beautiful outcome.

Three cheers.

Samela Harris

When: 13 and 14 Nov

Where: Adelaide Festival Centre, Quarter Bar

CONNECTIONS @ Singapore Writers Festival 2020

Connections - Original Monologues From Our Homes #1

Connections – Original Monologues From Our Homes #1

VIDEO

DATE / TIME

31 Oct 2020, Sat 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM 
30mins

VENUE

SISTIC Live

Festival Pass Event

S$20Get ticket

LANGUAGE

This session is in English

DESCRIPTION

Produced by Theatre Today

No Other Name by Vara Hariharan 
From love, to family, to growing old in Singapore, five seniors who are first-time writers capture the intimacies of life in their respective short monologues filmed from their homes. In this video, the narrator bemoans the name foisted on her at birth and struggles to come to terms with what it spells of culture, belonging and identity.

Vara Hariharan was formerly a Principal Master Teacher with MOE and the founder of the Singapore Writing Institute for teachers. She is interested in exploring identity through her writing.

This is a pre-recorded session, and will be available on video-on-demand replay. 

There will be a free post-monologue Q&A happening 8 Nov, Sun 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM on SWF FB Live.

FEATURING

Theatre Today

Singapore

Theatre Today was established by experienced theatre director and producer, Jeffrey Tan, to bring artists together for art projects that celebrate the diversity of stories and lived experiences. 

Jeffrey was also the Festival Director of #Engage2.0, a virtual youth arts festival produced by The Rice Company Limited, the creator of Open Business @ Ji Xiang and Open Business @ Tea Chapter as part of the Singapore Heritage Festival 2020, storyteller for The Snail Who Didn’t Want His Shell as part of #BuySinglit 2020, and director of Cross-Talk Siu Dai Pop Ups as part of Textures 2020 at The Arts House.

Find out more about Theatre Today here.Theatre Today is featured in the following SWF event(s):Connections – Original Monologues From Our Homes #2

Connections – Original Monologues From Our Homes #3

Connections – Original Monologues From Our Homes #4

Connections – Original Monologues From Our Homes #5

Connections (LIVE Q&A)

Connections – Original Monologues From Our Homes #2

VIDEO

DATE / TIME

31 Oct 2020, Sat 7:00 PM – 7:30 PM 
30mins

DESCRIPTION

Produced by Theatre Today.

Nursing Memories by Mary Ng Soon
From love, to family, to growing old in Singapore, five seniors who are first-time writers capture the intimacies of life in their respective short monologues filmed from their homes. In this video, a retired nurse falls sick and gets lonely in the hospital. She would prefer to be at her own home, nursing her memories and grappling with reality.

Mary Ng Soon is a training consultant. She also dabbles in writing plays, poetry and sketches for church. She aspires to write a book on the adventures of being a grandmother.

This is a pre-recorded session, and will be available on video-on-demand replay. 

Connections – Original Monologues From Our Homes #3

VIDEO

DATE / TIME

1 Nov 2020, Sun 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM 
30mins

VENUE

SISTIC Live

Festival Pass Event

S$20Get ticket

LANGUAGE

This session is in English

DESCRIPTION

Produced by Theatre Today.

Rules of the Game by Nooraini Majeed
From love, to family, to growing old in Singapore, five seniors who are first-time writers capture the intimacies of life in their respective short monologues filmed from their homes. In this video, a woman reflects on the rules in the game of marriage, negotiating with love, harmony, conflict and struggles within family relationships.

After ten years of service in the medical field, family and kids made Nooraini Majeed a stay home minister. She is now a wellness advocate and continues to touch many lives.

This is a pre-recorded session, and will be available on video-on-demand replay. 

Connections – Original Monologues From Our Homes #4

VIDEO

DATE / TIME

1 Nov 2020, Sun 5:00 PM – 5:30 PM 
30mins

VENUE

SISTIC Live

Festival Pass Event

S$20Get ticket

LANGUAGE

This session is in English

DESCRIPTION

Produced by Theatre Today

What’s in a Name? by Shahnaz Ali 
From love, to family, to growing old in Singapore, five seniors who are first-time writers capture the intimacies of life in their respective short monologues filmed from their homes. In this video, Shahnaz recollects experiential moments as someone who has moved all her life. She realises that home is not a place but a feeling, and is thankful for a life that is kaleidoscopic.

Shahnaz Ali is an emerging artist currently residing in Singapore. She considers herself a cultural traveller. Shahnaz works with diverse mediums in abstract art. Her other interests include photography and creative writing.

Connections – Original Monologues From Our Homes #5

VIDEO

DATE / TIME

1 Nov 2020, Sun 7:00 PM – 7:30 PM 
30mins

VENUE

SISTIC Live

Festival Pass Event

S$20Get ticket

LANGUAGE

This session is in English

DESCRIPTION

Produced by Theatre Today.

My Mama And Me by Anne Lim
From love, to family, to growing old in Singapore, five seniors who are first-time writers capture the intimacies of life in their respective short monologues filmed from their homes. This video is a reimagining of a Peranakan grandmother’s strong matriarchal influence as the writer reflected on the challenges of growing older, with grace.

Anne Lim is grateful for the opportunities in her silver years to uncover the artist within. She loves exercising her creativity through writing, painting and singing. Anne finds inspiration in nature.

This is a pre-recorded session, and will be available on video-on-demand replay. 

LIVE Q & A Trailer

November 2020

Arts Down Under 2020

same-same-900x600

An Interview with Jeffrey Tan, on Arts For Good-funded work SAME-SAME.

Thank you Bakchormeeboy.com for this write up!

Think Singapore is too small? Then perhaps it’s time to think about the great wide world beyond our island’s shores, something non-profit organisation the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) has been promoting since it was founded in 1991.

But what makes the SIF stand out from other organisations aiming to build stronger bridges between Singapore and other countries is in their methods. Rather than seeing it as a strictly political issue, for example, diplomat to diplomat, their initiatives and programmes are primarily targeted at a more down-to-earth level, focusing on the human element, and connecting people to people instead. Their idea of internationalisation is centred around capacity building, with broad ideas of what it means to go international, and give Singaporeans the opportunity to network and formmeaningful relationships, learning from others and vice versa, forming a strong international, inter-country community, be it in the field of arts, business, education or healthcare.

For a foundation that’s all about bringing Singaporeans global though, the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) usual plans had to be changed in a year where commercial flights had all but stopped, and the world seemed to be becoming increasingly insular and bubbled thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the wake of crisis comes creativity, and the NGO pivoted their goals accordingly. This year, instead of focusing on physically bringing Singaporeans to other countries, the focus was instead primarily on creating new opportunities for collaboration, one of which resulted in the inaugural open call for the Arts For Good projects to support arts-based initiatives. Receiving almost 140 applications from 25 countries, five projects were ultimately selected and awarded up to S$20,000 in funding each to fulfil their projects, with the aim of positively impacting over 37,000 people globally.

Ms Jean Tan, Executive Director of the SIF, said: “In 2016, SIF launched Arts for Good to grow a community of practice that harnesses the transformative power of arts and culture to create positive social change. COVID-19 may have disrupted our progress and adversely impacted the arts and culture scene here and abroad, but SIF stands in solidarity with our community. We are ramping up our Arts for Good Projects to help support our arts practitioners and their arts-based collaborations that build a better world.”

The second edition of the Arts for Good Fellowship

Arts For Good’s exchange programme in Chennai, India

Of the five projects, one that stands out is by local independent theatremaker Jeffrey Tan, with his collaborative dance-theatre production SAME-SAME. Created in collaboration with No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability (AUS) and Maya Dance Theatre’s Diverse Abilities Dance Collective DADC (SG), the project is also produced in collaboration with Subastian Tan (Maya Dance Theatre), Emma Beech and Michaela Cantwell (both from No Strings Attached), and features the similarities between differently-abled performers in Singapore and Australia during COVID-19, and will be performed across both Adelaide and Singapore and available to view on Zoom. Says producer and co-director Jeffrey Tan: “COVID-19 has been unprecedented in how it has affected lives, including the arts and culture scene globally. The Arts for Good Projects and the SIF’s Arts for Good ecosystem provides an important source of support in this challenging period, enabling artists to continue pursuing creative collaborations while contributing to uplifting world communities.”

Jeffrey himself is an alumni of SIF’s Arts For Good fellowship, a programme started in 2017 that aims to harness the power of arts and culture to effect positive social change. The fellowship in particular seeks to build a vibrant community of practice from diverse sectors of the arts to create positive social effect, and to date, has seen over 450 artists and 170 Fellows from more than 60 countries working together to build upon the SIF’s Arts for Good network, where art practitioners and different sectors of society can collaborate, ignite change and advocate socially-engaged creative practices collectively.

SAME-SAME performer Wanyi

On the genesis behind the project, Jeffrey explains how the relationship between Singapore and Australia had already been established during his stint as a fellow at SIF’s Chennai Exchange Programme. “During the fellowship, I met Kari Seeley from No Strings Attached, and we got along really well,” says Jeffrey. “When I was in Brisbane in 2019 for Open Homes, she even came down for a weekend from Adelaide to catch five performances, and I was amazed because not many would be willing to do that. But we just weren’t sure when or how we would end up collaborating, as much as we wanted to.”

“Fast forward to 2020, and COVID-19 was upon us. Following several rejections of applications and grants, Arts For Good announced their open call, and because of the international collaborative nature of the funding, I thought maybe it was a sign to do something together. Even after getting approval, we were wondering how we would do an international collaboration when we couldn’t travel.”

SAME-SAME performer Jack

The answer to that was simple enough – going digital. But that still didn’t resolve the issue of what exactly Jeffrey and No Strings Attached would end up doing. “For some reason, over the last few years, I’ve been working mostly with people in the margins, like visually impaired teenagers as tour guides,” says Jeffrey. “And I kept wondering: what else could we do in Singapore? There’s been this explosion of inclusivity and access in recent years, and a sudden interest in those with disabilities wanting to perform. At some point, I met Kavitha, artistic director of Maya Dance Company, and found out about how they started Diverse Abilities. I’d never worked with Maya Dance before, so it was a good chance to get to know them and collaborate with some one who believed in giving access and opportunities locally. So we introduced No Strings Attached to them, and decided that the three of us would do something together for Arts For Good.”

SAME-SAME performer Junlin

Jeffrey then hit upon the idea of working with those in the disabled community, and how many of them, even before COVID-19 struck, had spent most of their time at home, and how the circuit breaker measures ended up not impacting their daily lives as much as some other people. “So we got excited, and decided that we would start with the premise of finding the connectivity and sameness across countries,” Jeffrey says. “We found a few performers across both countries, both actors and dancers, and got ready to begin the rehearsal process. The project, at the end of the day, is really trying to show how we’re all human, and to be able to reach out and connect to one another to make sense of where we are. Our endgame wasn’t to create a show with the performers doing a script, and it was a creative risk to just say ok, let’s play and find what are our points of connection.”

SAME-SAME performer Kobi

While Jeffrey has been working in theatre for a long time now, he still feels he had plenty to learn from the experience. “I was a little apprehensive because I wasn’t officially trained at facilitating disabled people and arts, but I did an intense 4-day online course and learnt how to work with children and audiences with disabilities across the whole spectrum,” says Jeffrey. “I guess I also ended up learning a lot about patience, and the importance of deep listening and being sensitive to the partners we worked with. It was nice how they were all connecting, and while some started off being shy onscreen or frustrated with not understanding, it was very rewarding to watch them grow together.”

SAME-SAME performer Zoe

Over the course of three months, the seven performers from both countries ended up getting to know each other and explored the idea of SAME-SAME online. Their roles evolved from performers to reveal the sameness of what it means to be human, and how even beyond COVID-19, we can continue to celebrate our bonds and how we can overcome differences to connect. “Overall, it was a very open process, with a lot of give and take on either end, and we were continuously devising as we rehearsed for the show,” says Jeffrey. “At this stage, we’re doing a long-list of the exercises they enjoyed, what they think they’d enjoy online, and for many of them, they’d never had the opportunity to have so much say before, since dancers just follow choreography and actors follow a script so much of the time. In a way it’s quite a complex project. It may look simple on the outside, but the more you allow yourself to engage with your performers and the process, and how both us and them are always negotiating and processing.”

Jeffrey Tan in rehearsals

At the end of the day, while limited in some ways by COVID-19, SAME-SAME still manages to find new ways of connecting across countries and borders, building up these relations between performers and collaborators in Australia and Singapore, and in a way, establishing a foundation on which the relationship can only continue to grow and impact even more people in future. “SAME-SAME is ultimately something you’re not just watching, but experiencing as you see these seven performers trying to connect online, to feel and understand the idea of friendship. It’s definitely a big challenge to have chosen to do this live on Zoom, and have this element of interactivity and participation for audiences. So much of it is about the here and now, something that I think is lacking when it’s pre-recorded,” says Jeffrey. 

“We need to learn not to be afraid of silences on Zoom, and perhaps, not to be afraid of giving people time, because of their very different abilities, and to have patience if we just try to hear what they’re trying to say. For folks to come watch same same live in person in Adelaide or online via Zoom, it’s a really unique encounter, and I think there’s something in there that will move you in one way or another.”

SAME-SAME plays from 13th to 14th November 2020 at the Quartet Bar, Adelaide Festival Centre. Tickets available here. It will also be streamed online, with tickets available on Peatix

For more information on the other projects funded by the Singapore International Foundation, visit their website here

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