Joanna Dong to star in Esplanade play on migration, and other highlights from Huayi 2018

Sing! China finalist Joanna Dong will star in the multidisciplinary performance, I Came At Last To The Seas, which looks at migration and the Chinese diaspora.
Sing! China finalist Joanna Dong will star in the multidisciplinary performance, I Came At Last To The Seas, which looks at migration and the Chinese diaspora.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - The 16th edition of Huayi - Chinese Festival of the Arts next February will feature the festival's first-ever local work commissioned for the 2,000-seater Esplanade Theatre.

The multidisciplinary performance, I Came At Last To The Seas, looks at migration and the Chinese diaspora.

Directed by the Theatre Practice's Kuo Jian Hong, it will star Sing! China finalist Joanna Dong and local actor Sugie Phua, as well as overseas talents such as Rosa Maria Velasco from Hong Kong and Ethan Wei from Taiwan.

Tickets for the festival, which will run from Feb 23 to March 4, go on sale next Thursday (Nov 16). It is organised by Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay in celebration of Chinese New Year.

Other festival highlights include theatre production Why We Chat? by award-winning director Edward Lam, starring Taiwanese actors Sylvia Chang and David Wang as two hotel guests who compete to tell increasingly bizarre ghost stories.

The festival will also bring together unusual bedfellows.

Einstein In The Carpark is Huayi's first commissioned site-specific performance which combines ancient Chinese kunqu with Western opera in the Esplanade's basement carpark.

 
 

Hong Kong instrumentalist Guo Yazhi will play the suona, an instrument traditionally associated with Chinese funeral processions, in concert with Western instruments.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese director Wang Chia-Ming will remix William Shakespeare's historical plays Henry VI and Richard III in Mandarin and Chinese dialects.

The Esplanade is also commissioning local arts groups T. H.E. Dance Company and Nine Years Theatre to collaborate for the first time in an interdisciplinary work called Cut Kafka! inspired by the works of German-language author Franz Kafka.

On the music front, popular Taiwanese music acts such as singer-songwriter Crowd Lu, Taiwanese-American rapper Miss Ko and reggae musician Matzka will also make appearances.

Parents who would like a break from their progeny can leave them at The Story Of Redhill, a children-only interactive theatre experience for those aged six to 11, who will explore local folklore through storytelling and handicraft activities.

BOOK IT/ HUAYI - CHINESE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS

WHERE: The Esplanade, 1 Esplanade Drive

WHEN: Feb 23 to March 4, 2018

ADMISSION: Various prices from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg). Esplanade&Me Black and White cardholders enjoy up to 20 and 15 per cent savings respectively during the early bird period from Nov 16 to 30.

INFO: www.esplanade.com/huayi and www.facebook.com/huayifestival