SPH Foundation Arts Fund calls for more applicants

The SPH Foundation Arts Fund helps them expand their reach in the community and also treats the underprivileged to quality productions

Angkat by Teater Ekamatra features (from far left) Faizal Abdullah, Farez Najid and Erwin Shah Ismail. PHOTO: TEATER EKAMATRA

The SPH Foundation Arts Fund is sponsoring 55 tickets for beneficiaries of Muhammadiyah Welfare Home and Jamiyah Children's Home to attend a new play about mother-daughter relationships, Angkat, staged this week.

Arts groups in Singapore can apply to the fund to sponsor tickets to upcoming performances. The tickets are distributed to invited charities specified by the applicant.

Teater Ekamatra is working with the fund for the first time to widen the reach of its year-end performance, staged from tomorrow to Sunday at the Malay Heritage Centre Auditorium. Angkat tells the story of a mother (played by Norsiah Ramly) and her adopted daughter (played by Nur Sahirrah Safit) who is not of the same race. The cast also include Erwin Shah Ismail, Farez Najid and Faizal Abdullah in various roles.

The play, which is in Malay with English surtitles, is written by rising playwright and former Straits Times journalist Nabilah Said, who has been involved with Teater Ekamatra for seven years and was last year named the troupe's artist-in-residence. Irfan Kasban, an associate artist with Teater Ekamatra, directs.

Earlier this year, Teater Ekamatra restructured and invited more associate artists on board, as part of its mission to promote and nurture the next generation of talent in the Malay theatre scene. Sponsorship can be harder to secure for productions from less well-known names and company director Shaza Ishak says the SPH Foundation Arts Fund's support was useful.

She adds that the fund also helped the theatre company cater to those who could not afford tickets to its shows. "It allowed us to reach out to the underprivileged communities in Singapore. This is something we've been working towards as a company, to be able to share our stories and give a voice to the disenfranchised," she says.

The SPH Foundation Arts Fund was launched in 2011 and has donated about $800,000 to arts groups since. This year, it helped about 1,500 beneficiaries attend performances put up by 15 arts groups such as dance group Arts Fission and opera company L'arietta Productions.


  • WHERE: Malay Heritage Centre Auditorium, 85 Sultan Gate

    WHEN: Tomorrow to Saturday, 8pm; Saturday and Sunday, 3pm

    ADMISSION: Tickets at $20 each from ekamatra.org.sg/tix or e-mail tix@ekamatra.org.sg for inquiries.

L'arietta Productions founder Akiko Otao says the fund helped 89 arts enthusiasts and their families from Very Special Arts and Special Olympics attend comic musical The Four Note Opera in March.

The fund also sponsored 50 tickets to Arts Fission's October show Theatre Of Trees for beneficiaries from AMKFSC family service centres and Minds, Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore.

Ms Angela Liong, artistic director of Arts Fission, says: "The support allows us to reach a wider audience, particularly the audiences that would otherwise not be in a position to attend a theatre performance on their own."

She and Ms Otao both said that ticket costs aside, getting to arts venues was also challenging for some audiences they would like to reach out to. "The organisations we worked with had their own transport, but that is not always the case," said Ms Otao.

Ms Ginney Lim, general manager of SPH Foundation, said she hoped more arts groups and charities would take advantage of the arts fund. "We hope to be able to help new and existing arts groups to expand their reach in the community. At the same time, the underprivileged will be treated to quality arts productions ranging from drama to music."

•Find out more about the SPH Foundation Arts Fund and how to apply from www.sphfoundation.org.sg/artsfund.html

All Singapore arts groups which are accredited with the National Arts Council are eligible to apply. Please provide details about the company, a summary of the production, the number of tickets to be sponsored and the charities to be invited.

Charities should either be Institutions of a Public Character or classified as a Voluntary Welfare Organisation and a member of the National Council of Social Service in Singapore.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2017, with the headline SPH Foundation Arts Fund calls for more applicants. Subscribe