Taking the arts to the community

Performances include The Rainbow Toymaker, a children's theatre show by Cake Theatrical Productions.
Performances include The Rainbow Toymaker, a children's theatre show by Cake Theatrical Productions.PHOTO: CAKE

The National Arts Council is partnering Safra to offer arts and culture programmes and activities for its clubhouse members

Get in touch with the arts at different spots around the island from today to Feb 26.

There will be 25 arts performances, activities and installations to choose from at 15 locations, including community centres, libraries and Safra clubhouses. Most are free and some require pre-registration.

For example, learn about the history of batik painting in the Tampines Regional Library, enjoy a jazz performance at Pasir Ris Elias Community Club or watch a children's theatre performance at My Community @ Queenstown.

All this is part of an attempt by the National Arts Council to throw open these 15 "arts and culture nodes" to bring the arts to the community, an initiative it has developed since 2012.

The nodes, which are different venues in Singapore where arts and cultural programmes are offered periodically, are developed in collaboration with partners such as the People's Association, National Library Board and Safra.

This will help boost the number of arts activities here. Since 2012, about 1,000 activities have been organised at the various nodes, involving more than 200 artists and arts groups, and reaching out to more than 170,000 people.

In a statement issued by the National Arts Council yesterday, the council's director of arts and communities, Ms Chua Ai Liang, says that she hopes the growing network of nodes "makes it easier for anyone to enjoy and participate in quality arts experiences", whether he is an arts lover or new to the arts.

It seems that a potential target group is the NSmen community.

Safra Punggol is the latest to be added to the network of nodes, joining existing nodes at Safra clubhouses in Jurong, Mount Faber and Toa Payoh.

Ms Kris Ho, Safra's deputy chief executive officer (operations), says that the arts can encourage "meaningful interactions among the NSmen community and their families".

"We are certainly looking at having more workshops conducted by well-known artists to engage and benefit Safra members," she says.

One performance to look forward to this month is an interactive shadowplay performance at Safra Toa Payoh presented by artist Isabelle Desjeux on Saturday. Participants can learn how to create projectors using paper cups and coloured transparency sheets.

Another artist involved in the 12-day string of art activities is Singapore theatre company, Cake Theatrical Productions. Cake's community and outreach arm, Sweet Tooth, will present a children's theatre show, The Rainbow Toymaker, at Safra Punggol on Sunday and at My Community @ Queenstown on Feb 26.

The performance is about a fantastical character who brings joy to kids using retro games such as five stones and pick-up sticks.

Cake's artistic director Natalie Hennedige says: "We use a lot of oversized props and big bright sets and costumes as well as music and interaction to engage the audience. The five stones, for instance, are over-sized and the audience is invited to play along on stage.

"It's just magical, engaging and fun for everyone."

•Go to artsforall.sg for information on upcoming programmes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2017, with the headline 'Taking the arts to the community'. Print Edition | Subscribe