Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts

Huayi 2018 includes fusion opera in a carpark

The festival from February to March also features Sing! China's Joanna Dong in a work on migration and Shakespeare's plays remixed in dialect

Popular Taiwanese music acts such as singer-songwriter Crowd Lu (left) will make an appearance at the Esplanade festival.
Popular Taiwanese music acts such as singer-songwriter Crowd Lu (above) will make an appearance at the Esplanade festival.PHOTO: ESPLANADE - THEATRES ON THE BAY

The 16th edition of Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts in February next year will feature its first local work commissioned for the 2,000-seat Esplanade Theatre.

The multidisciplinary performance, I Came At Last To The Seas, looks at migration and the Chinese diaspora.

Directed by The Theatre Practice's Kuo Jian Hong, it will star Sing! China finalist Joanna Dong and local actor Sugie Phua, as well as overseas talents such as Rosa Maria Velasco from Hong Kong and Ethan Wei from Taiwan.

Tickets for the festival, which runs from Feb 23 to March 4, go on sale on Thursday. It is organised by Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay in celebration of Chinese New Year.

Other highlights include theatre production Why We Chat? by award-winning director Edward Lam, starring Taiwanese actors Sylvia Chang and David Wang as two hotel guests who compete to tell increasingly bizarre ghost stories.

The festival will also bring together unusual bedfellows.

Einstein In The Carpark, which is loosely inspired by Western opera Einstein On The Beach, is Huayi’s first commissioned sitespecific performance, which combines ancient Chinese kunqu with Western opera in the Esplanade’s basement carpark.


  • WHERE: The Esplanade, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: Feb 23 to March 4

    ADMISSION: Various prices from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to Esplanade&Me members enjoy savings of up to 20 per cent (Black card) and 15 per cent (White card) during the early-bird period from Thursday to Nov 30

    INFO: and

Hong Kong instrumentalist Guo Yazhi will play the suona, an instrument traditionally associated with Chinese funeral processions, in concert with Western instruments.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese director Wang Chia-ming will remix William Shakespeare's historical plays Henry VI and Richard III in Mandarin and Chinese dialects.

The Esplanade is also commissioning local arts groups T.H.E. Dance Company and Nine Years Theatre to collaborate for the first time in an interdisciplinary work called Cut Kafka!, inspired by the works of German-language author Franz Kafka.

On the music front, popular Taiwanese music acts such as singer-songwriter Crowd Lu, Taiwanese-American rapper Miss Ko and reggae musician Matzka will also make an appearance.

Parents who would like a break from their kids can leave them at Child's Play - The Story Of Redhill, a children-only interactive theatre experience for those aged six to 11, who will explore local folklore through storytelling and handicraft activities.

Correction note: This story has been edited for clarity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2017, with the headline 'Watch fusion opera in a carpark'. Subscribe