Join a Peranakan party this weekend at Armenian Street

Highlights of the party include a performance by Dance Ensemble Singapore titled Motifs.
Highlights of the party include a performance by Dance Ensemble Singapore titled Motifs.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Traffic-free bash will feature activities such as dance performances, literary readings and a mass outdoor exercise class

Armenian Street will be closed to traffic in the evening today and tomorrow for a street party featuring live music, dance performances, literary readings and art installations.

Today, get up close and personal with Singapore poets and writers such as Ng Yi-Sheng and Robert Yeo, who will talk about their literary heroes and hold readings at SMU Labs, located at the former MPH Building.

Tomorrow, catch Motifs - a contemporary dance performance inspired by Peranakan culture, by Dance Ensemble Singapore - taking place at the Peranakan Museum.

On both nights, visitors can check out Peranakan-inspired song-and-dance performances, and skits based on Peranakan plays such as a musical version of Emily Of Emerald Hill, as well as take part in a mass outdoor exercise class.

All these programmes are part of the inaugural Armenian Street Party organised by the Peranakan Museum and Singapore Management University (SMU).

SMU Labs was leased by the university for its students to attend classes, study and hang out at 24 hours a day.

  • BOOK IT / ARMENIAN STREET PARTY

  • WHERE: Armenian Street

    WHEN: Today and tomorrow, 7pm to midnight

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: peranakanmuseum.org.sg

Armenian Street will be closed from 7pm to midnight on both days and the party extends to the Peranakan Museum, SMU Labs and the alleyway between The Substation and the museum.

The alleyway will be transformed into The Urban Garden, an outdoor garden space decked with swings, carpet grass and fairy lights.

Flanked by the graffiti-filled walls of The Substation on one side and the stately Peranakan Museum on the other, the space exemplifies the collaborative spirit of the street party.

"We wanted to do a community takeover of this space and show that Armenian Street is where the cultural and the contemporary can co-exist and where old and new can intertwine," says Mr Bernard Tan, assistant director for audience at the Peranakan Museum. He hopes the event can be an annual affair.

Besides the Peranakan-inspired song-and-dance items and skits inside and outside the museum, there will also be band performances on both nights, featuring music ranging from Top 40 hits to hip-hop to folk-electronica.

Partygoers can take along their own mats to have a picnic while enjoying the live music.

Sporty types might want to check out Xtend The Night, a mass Xtend Barre class that will be held on both days at 7pm.

Organised by fitness studio Upside Motion, the class combines a mix of ballet and Pilates-based workouts set to top hits.

Upside Motion has been in Armenian Street for three years, but has never taken part in past events such as the Night Festival, which is usually more performance-based.

Upside Motion director Beh Hwee Sze says: "There's so much possibility with this street. Besides performances and the arts, other stakeholders can be involved to bring lifestyle and wellness together into one eclectic event."

The free 45-minute class, which can accommodate about 80 participants at one time, has been fully subscribed for tonight, although Ms Beh says it might try to squeeze in more people if possible.

Advance registration is required.

Besides performances, there will also be food trucks by The Travelling C.O.W, Kerbside Gourmet and Old Chang Kee, to cater to partygoers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2016, with the headline 'Armenian Street party'. Print Edition | Subscribe