Hang mid-air over Singapore River

Acclaimed Spanish theatre group La Fura dels Baus performing Dreams In Flight at the 2007 Singapore Arts Festival.
Acclaimed Spanish theatre group La Fura dels Baus performing Dreams In Flight at the 2007 Singapore Arts Festival.PHOTO: LA FURA DELS BAUS

Singapore River One seeking locals to join Spanish theatre group La Fura dels Baus to form aerial "human net" in October

If anyone wants to perform Cirque du Soleil-style stunts in mid-air over the Singapore River, he can do so at this year's Singapore River Festival.

The event's organisers are looking for Singaporeans to form an aerial "human net", an unusual 20-minute aerial display to be staged nightly at the event to be held from Oct 23 to 25.

The festival is organised for the first time by Singapore River One (SRO), a non-profit, private sector-led organisation which aims to increase investments and footfall in the Singapore River precinct.

In previous years, there was another festival that went by the same name, but it is not related to the new festival.

The highlight of the upcoming festival will be the human net display, which will see the local performers join those from acclaimed Spanish theatre group La Fura dels Baus, producers of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics opening ceremony.

Over 40 people will be suspended over the Singapore River by a 220-tonne crane to form a human net and the display will be part of a story on the role of the river in Singapore's history and development.

La Fura dels Baus will be staging the centrepiece in collaboration with Muse Inc, the festival's official events organiser.

Muse Inc's executive director Stan Lee says they are looking for Singaporeans to comprise 90 per cent of the human net.

"Because this is a Singaporean story, we really wanted it to have a core Singaporean production. That's why we're looking for Singaporean volunteers," he says.

Volunteers do not need to have a background in the performing arts; they just have to be at least 1.7m tall and cannot be afraid of heights.

Festival organisers have been collaborating with the Singapore Memory Project and the National Heritage Board to recover archival stories about the river. Open calls for Singaporeans to "share stories that are based on the river" are also ongoing.

Apart from the "human net", audiences can expect other fantastical giant props, such as an 8m-tall hourglass structure controlled by a performer inside the prop. The hourglass contains water instead of sand, to reflect the development of the Singapore River over time.

Other attractions of the three-day festival include Urban Artery, an outdoor art exhibition in the alleyways of Circular Road featuring the works of local artists such as Ceno2, Mindflyer,  Mightyellow and A Whispering Campaign.

There will also be a Makers Market pop-up featuring an exclusively local line-up of musicians and food and beverage producers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2015, with the headline 'Hang mid-air over Singapore River'. Print Edition | Subscribe