The Esplanade celebrates SG50 by revisiting iconic works and commissioning new ones

Singapore's largest arts centre is joining the SG50 celebrations next year, welcoming back many international artists who have performed at the Esplanade over the years, including choreographers Lin Hwai-Min (left) from Taiwan and Akram Khan from Bri
Singapore's largest arts centre is joining the SG50 celebrations next year, welcoming back many international artists who have performed at the Esplanade over the years, including choreographers Lin Hwai-Min (left) from Taiwan and Akram Khan from Britain. -- PHOTO: CLOUD GATE/ LAURENT ZIEGLER

SINGAPORE - Singapore's largest arts centre is joining the SG50 celebrations next year with a full slate of arts events and performances, from recognising 50 iconic works of Singapore English-language theatre starting from the 1960s, to welcoming back the many international artists who have performed at the Esplanade over the years, including choreographers Lin Hwai-Min from Taiwan and Akram Khan from Britain.

The Esplanade will be presenting a special season of The Studios, a platform that has evolved into one that develops, produces and presents local theatre in an intimate setting.

With playwright-director Chong Tze Chien co-curating the season, the Esplanade will commission five full-length productions: Stella Kon's Emily Of Emerald Hill, Tan Tarn How's The Lady Of Soul And Her Ultimate "S" Machine, Haresh Sharma's Off Centre, Kuo Pao Kun's Descendants Of The Eunuch Admiral, and Huzir Sulaiman's The Weight Of Silk On Skin, which will be re-interpreted by local directors such as Aidli "Alin" Mosbit, Jeff Chen, Oliver Chong, Tracie Pang and Zizi Azah. The Studios will also present 45 plays as dramatised readings.

The Esplanade's music programming for next year will also include several commissions, including a full-length Chinese opera produced in collaboration with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. Based on Chinese playwright Cao Yu's Savage Land, the "concert opera" will be directed by Toy Factory Productions' Goh Boon Teck.

The Esplanade will also be working with The Philharmonic Orchestra and dance group Arts Fission to present a dance-theatre production featuring the music of composers from Singapore's pioneer generation.

The Orkestra Melayu Singapura will also be collaborating with two iconic bands of the Malay music scene of the 1970s, Black Dog Bone and Gingerbread, to reinterpret their songs.

Visual artists who have worked with the Esplanade, such as artists Han Sai Por and Koh Nguang How, and photographers Darren Soh and Caleb Ming, will also be returning to participate in an exhibition titled These Sacred Things.

Many foreign artists who have performed at the Esplanade's various festivals will be returning to give shows. Renowned dancers and choreographers Akram Khan and Israel Galvan from Spain will be doing a kathak-meets-flamenco performance at the 10th edition of the da:ns festival, and Lin is coming back with a piece for Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts.

Mr Benson Puah, chief executive of the Esplanade, hoped that audiences would be "inspired anew" by the programming. He said in an e-mail statement: "Our nation's arts and culture are what define who we are as a people - they reflect our traditions and beliefs, challenge our fears and perspectives, and give voice to our hopes and dreams."

corriet@sph.com.sg

For more information, go to www.esplanade.com/sg50