Free live Moonfest shows at Esplanade's Concourse and Outdoor Theatre

There are digital programmes like The New Mulan Ballad, a recorded performance by Lu Jinhua of the renowned Shanghai Pingtan Troupe.
There are digital programmes like The New Mulan Ballad, a recorded performance by Lu Jinhua of the renowned Shanghai Pingtan Troupe.PHOTO: ESPLANADE THEATRES ON THE BAY

SINGAPORE - The Esplanade's Mid-Autumn celebration Moonfest returns this year from Sept 17 with free live performances as well as ticketed workshops and digital programmes.

All audiences will be required to show vaccination status or undergo pre-event testing at their own expense except for two shows at the Concourse: The Tiger Hero and Laugh Out Loud: A Crosstalk Showcase.

The Tiger Hero, presented by home-grown puppetry troupe Paper Monkey Theatre, tells the story of Wu Song and his encounter with a man-eating tiger.

The cross-talk showcase by Young People's Performing Arts Ensemble will offer a light-hearted selection of familiar and new works.

These shows will also not restrict the number of children under 12, although the seating capacity is limited to 50.

As part of safe management measures, the number of children will be limited to 40 at the Outdoor Theatre, with a maximum capacity of 200.

Ticketed workshops, however, will have no restrictions on the number of children although capacity is limited.

Moonfest producer Desmond Chew, 35, says the Esplanade has increased the variety of workshops this year in anticipation of demand.

There are three workshops catering to parents and children, including a lantern-making session, as well as two workshops for young adults, including a Chinese opera movement class.

In keeping with the new pandemic normal, there are also digital programmes like The New Mulan Ballad, a recorded performance by Lu Jinhua of the renowned Shanghai Pingtan Troupe.

Lu, in her 30s, says in Mandarin that this tale of the Chinese heroine who goes to war in place of her father is a "classic among classics".

She adds: "This ballad has always preserved its traditional charm, so no matter how many times it is presented, it can still maintain its richness and appeal. Sometimes, a traditional classic need not be deliberately changed. Keeping to its original form is the most beautiful presentation."

The heroine, she observes, is also eternal. "Hua Mulan represents the collective spirit of not just one woman, but the female gender as a whole. Hence the story continues to resonate with people to this day."

Her 10-minute performance will premiere on Esplanade's Offstage website and Facebook page on Sept 17 at 3pm.

The online commissions are short works, ranging from 10 to 20 minutes. Mr Chew says: "That's a comfortable range for online viewers. It's just enough to pique their curiosity and encourage them to finish watching the video."

Book It/Moonfest 2021

Where: Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, 1 Esplanade Drive, and online
When: Sept 17 to Oct 3
Admission: Free and from $18 for workshops
Info: Esplanade's website


Five highlights

Journey To The West: The Tongtian River


PHOTO: ESPLANADE THEATRES ON THE BAY

What: Taipei Puppet Theatre presents an excerpt from the Chinese classic Journey To The West, which tells how the monk Sanzang and his three disciples free a village from a fish demon.
Where: Esplanade's Offstage website and Facebook page
When: Premieres on Sept 17, 3pm
Admission: Free

An Ode To Chinese Opera


PHOTO: ESPLANADE THEATRES ON THE BAY

What: Winners of the Singapore Chinese Opera Orchid Awards will present excerpts from classic operas of different genres in this live performance.
Where: Esplanade Outdoor Theatre
When: Sept 17, 7 and 8.30pm
Admission: Free on a first-come-first-served basis. Limited to 200 people

Of Ink, Music And Mind


PHOTO: LEE JU-LYN

What: Learn Chinese ink painting to the strains of pipa and guzheng music at this mindfulness workshop targeted at young adults.
Where: Esplanade Annexe Studio
When: Sept 18, 1.30 and 4.30pm
Admission: $18

The Tiger Hero


PHOTO: ESPLANADE THEATRES ON THE BAY

What: The story of Wu Song is told with traditional metal-rod puppets in this performance by home-grown puppetry troupe Paper Monkey Theatre.
Where: Esplanade Concourse
When: Sept 18, 2, 3 and 4pm
Admission: Free on a first-come-first-served basis. Limited to 50 people

Paper Lantern-making


PHOTO: ESPLANADE THEATRES ON THE BAY

What: This parent-child workshop is aimed at kids aged between six and nine. Children under four will not be admitted and children must be accompanied by an adult.
Where: Esplanade Studio 219
When: Sept 18 and 19, 1.30 and 4.30pm
|Admission: $36 for one parent-child pair