NDP 2017 show to feature drones, 'mosquito puppets', Parkour group

From an 81-year-old woman playing the electric guitar to a robot host, get a sneak peek of the people behind this year's National Day Parade.

SINGAPORE - Audiences at this year's National Day Parade on Aug 9 have more reason to look to the skies this year, aside from watching the Red Lions skydivers or fireworks.

For the first time in an NDP, 300 unmanned drones will take to the skies over Marina Bay, in what would be the largest display of such drones in South-east Asia. The performance seeks to inspire Singaporeans to imagine the opportunities that the future brings.

There will also be moments designed to engage and interact with the audience. For instance, there will be "mosquito puppets" that move through the audience to the stage, and the audience would be involved in a fun clap choreography, to symbolise the collective effort required to address the threat of mosquitoes.

The highlights of this year's NDP show were shared at a media briefing on Thursday (July 6).

Told over six chapters, the show will feature the collective strength and determination of Singaporeans, in line with the NDP theme #OneNationTogether.

"We're not going to take Singaporeans back to 1819 or 1965," said Colonel Tan Tiong Keat, chairman of the NDP show committee, referring to the respective years when Singapore was founded and when it gained independence.

"Instead, we'll do what we do in a typical birthday celebration: We gather with our friends and families in a cosy setting to reflect on the past, celebrate the present and inspire and look forward to the future."

The six chapters represent different issues close to people's hearts, such as families and the learning of new skills to overcome economic challenges.

More than 3,000 performers - aged four to 81 - will wow the crowds with dazzling costumes and colourful mobile platforms.

 

The stage also has several features that are firsts for an NDP held at the Marina Bay Floating Platform, which was first used as an NDP venue in 2007.

These include an aerial system that can elevate performers and props 20m above the ground; a revolving stage which provides more options in terms of performance areas; and two movable main stage LED screens that can combine into a single screen.

Three groups will also make their NDP debuts this year: The Purple Symphony, an orchestra made up of people with and without special needs; A2 Movements, a Parkour group; and the Joyriders, a recreational cyclist group.

The show's creative director Goh Boon Teck, chief artistic director of theatre company Toy Factory Productions, said he was proud of the progress of the performers, many of whom are not trained theatre practitioners.

"Are we trying to do a Broadway show or West End show or world-class show? No, we're not," he said. "We're trying to do a show by Singaporeans, and through this, we make friends, come together... and we know that Singaporeans are brilliant if we believe we can do it."