Parliament: NAC's support helps Singapore artists widen their horizons, tour abroad

Ms Shaza Ishak is now pursuing a Masters degree in Creative Producing at London's Royal Central School of Speech and Drama after being inspired by her participation in the International Society for the Performing Arts congress.
Ms Shaza Ishak is now pursuing a Masters degree in Creative Producing at London's Royal Central School of Speech and Drama after being inspired by her participation in the International Society for the Performing Arts congress.PHOTO: HARYANI ISMAIL

SINGAPORE - Ms Shaza Ishak was so inspired by her participation in the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) congress that she is now pursuing a Masters degree in Creative Producing at London's Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

The company director and general manager of Malay theatre group Teater Ekamatra, who attended three ISPA congresses from 2017, said the event for arts practitioners opened her eyes to new possibilities.

"Previously, we were quite myopic in our idea of what audience development meant. There is a better understanding now of the importance of touring and collaborating."

Ms Shaza, 29, was cited in Parliament by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng on Friday (March 8) as an example of how the National Arts Council (NAC) is supporting artists on international platforms.

Ms Shaza also took part in the Australian Performing Arts Market, a biennial networking event for Australian and international arts groups.

Her participation produced a working collaboration with Singapore theatre group Drama Box and Australia's arts group pvi collective.

The three groups have hosted one another for residencies, during which "artists participated in various activities, which included some public sharings and events, as well as industry networking sessions".

 

Ms Shaza added that as a result, there are ideas for further collaborations which they will be pursuing in the next few years.

She said: "I believe there is a need to find more ways to support the growth of arts managers in Singapore."

Besides supporting artists with funding for career development, the NAC has also supported arts groups' efforts to tour their productions.

The Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO), for example, will be touring Europe in September.

Singaporean violinist Kam Ning will play the classic Butterfly Lovers concerto with the SCO on this tour, and the SCO will also be playing Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong's composition Krakatoa.

Besides performing in Berlin, the SCO will play in Italy's Emilia Romagna Festival with renowned British composer Michael Nyman.

The tour, which has taken two years to plan, is estimated to cost $1.2 million.

SCO's executive director and Nominated Member of Parliament Terence Ho said: "Touring enables the orchestra to broaden its spectrum, experiences and exposure collaborating with international festival organisers, composers, artistes and partners overseas at established performing venues."