Free Mid-Autumn shows at Esplanade

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."


WHERE Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, 1 Esplanade Drive, and online

WHEN Sept 17 to Oct 3

ADMISSION Free and from $18 for workshops


Moonfest: Highlights


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


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


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


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


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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2021, with the headline 'Free Mid-Autumn shows at Esplanade Moonfest: Highlights'. Subscribe