Singapore Artists And Performances At The Arts House Opening Festival Heralds New Beginning For Nation’s Oldest State Building

Introduction: Singapore, 17 February 2004 – The nation’s latest arts venue, The Arts House at the Old Parliament, opens officially this March with its Opening Festival, NO MORE WALLS.

Billed as “The Ultimate Housewarming Party”, 200 Singaporean, regional and international artists will gather at Singapore’s oldest surviving government building for a 10-day feast of music, dance, theatre, comedy and visual arts from 26 March 2004.

Singapore, 17 February 2004 – The nation’s latest arts venue, The Arts House at the Old Parliament, opens officially this March with its Opening Festival, NO MORE WALLS. Throughout this 10-day event, Singapore artists and their artistic achievements will be in the forefront of the action at a place where Singapore’s political leaders once took centrestage in debating hot issues of the day.

Billed as “The Ultimate Housewarming Party”. NO MORE WALLS celebrates Singapore’s arts and artists in a feast of music, dance, theatre, comedy, film and visual arts as Singapore’s oldest surviving government building and its most important historical and political landmark is handed over for the arts.

Says Mr Colin Goh, General Manager, The Old Parliament House Limited which manages the Arts House : “NO MORE WALLS is literal and symbolic. There are no more walls surrounding the building and all are now free to enter a space closed off from public access for more than 60 years. The walls coming down also signals a more open society with a willingness to engage beyond the accepted and a desire to move out to explore different forms of expression.”

“It is important that we celebrate all this with a festival that primarily focuses on Singapore artists and arts, men and women who are among the top in their art and young people who are making a name for themselves. As a place that laws for Singapore were once made, this opening festival is a celebration of the Singaporean artists who continue to strive and push boundaries. Hence, we have attempted at a selection that we hope would represent this aim.”

The Arts House will complement the existing attractions in the Civic District, including the Asian Civilisations Museum, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, making the district a vibrant arts precinct. The Singapore Tourism Board looks forward to working closely with The Arts House and the travel industry to introduce visitors to Singapore’s newest lifestyle and heritage venue.

“The Arts House will offer visitors and locals alike a unique blend of history and the arts in a contemporary setting. The 10-day opening festival is the best introduction to The Arts House’s exciting new role. As a new historically-rich venue, transformed from a political to an arts landmark, it is a truly distinctive, must-see destination for tourists and Singaporean alike, as for the first time in more than 60 years, it will be open to all” said Mr Lim Neo Chian, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive of the Singapore Tourism Board.

Key Singapore acts in NO MORE WALLS include :

  • A new staging of theatre doyen Kuo Pao Kun’s satire No Parking on Odd Days by TheatreWorks Associate Artist Director (Education and Outreach) Jeffrey Tan, featuring leading Singapore actor Lim Kay Tong
  • The irreverent and irascible Kumar takes centre-stage at the former Legislative Chamber in a new talk show Tell it To Kumar, to challenge the wit and humour of even Bill Crosby and David Letterman
  • Singapore’s young and upcoming vocal percussionist Peter Huang from a capella group Skritch teams up with tap dancers in the Play Den, once the former office of Singapore’s first Chief Minister, David Marshall
  • Up-coming contemporary dance group Ah Hock and Peng Yu in the site-specific Big Daddy Says . . . that will involve about 100 dancers throughout the entire building culminating in a rock concert style dance theatre piece in the former Legislative Chamber
  • The Other PAP or Party at the Promenade which will see Singapore producer, composer and performer Andrew Lum in numbers from his new album A Matter of Time

“The above is just a glimpse of what we hope to do here in the long run,” elaborates Mr Goh, “These acts which are serious yet not without humour. There are acts which highlight both established and upcoming names should look out for. And there are many more acts which you can participate in.”

The programme line-up is appended below:

The main sponsors of NO MORE WALLS are DBS Cards and Tiger Beer. Official sponsors are Peninsula-Excelsior Hotel, PICO and Translink. Official media for The Arts House Opening Festival are radio stations, WKRZ 91.3 FM and UFM100.3, with Channel 5 as Supporting TV station. NO MORE WALLS is supported by Singapore Tourism Board.

“DBS Cards is pleased to be the “Preferred” credit card for The Arts House. Through our sponsorship, we are helping to make it possible for our 600,000 card members and the community to have an additional outlet for arts entertainment,” said Raymond Ang, Business Director, DBS Cards & Unsecured Loans.

“Tiger Beer is happy to be part of ‘NO MORE WALLS’, the Opening Festival of The Arts House. Tiger Beer’s association with the historical building and its new role for the arts society is more apt. Tiger Beer is always looking for new and engaging ways to enliven Singapore and to contribute towards making Singapore a “Fun City.” The Arts House presents a very exciting and unique venue to do that,” said Schubert Neo, Senior Marketing Manager for Tiger Beer.

Further information about the programme and schedule can be found in the Festival Guide distributed at this afternoon’s press conference, and in The Arts House’s website www.theartshouse.com.sg from 1 March 2004.

Ticket bookings to shows in NO MORE WALLS start today. Ticket prices range from $38-$42 to $100. DBS cardholders enjoy exclusive 15% discount on ticket prices. Bookings can be made by telephoning 6332 6919 or faxing to 6339 9695. The public can also buy tickets online by logging into www.theartshouse.com.sgfrom 1 March 2004.

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Programme Line-up

The 65 performances in NO MORE WALLS include:

  • Singapore musicians who have made their mark on the international music scene such as producer, composer and performer extraordinaire, Andrew Lum and pianist, Muliadi Ahmad Jaafar
  • New staging of Singapore’s most important dramatist Kuo Pao Kun’s socio-political satire, No Parking on Odd Days by TheatreWorks’ young artistic director, Jeffrey Tan, and with leading Singapore actor Lim Kay Tong reprising the role he premiered
  • Hilarious new talk shows by Singapore’s top comedian, Kumar
  • Video-installation wizards, Craig Walsh, who promises to dazzle with visuals that will change the face of The Arts House
  • Create your very own musical on the spot with the much feted Baby wants Candy from the United States
  • Well-known Singapore pianist, Shane Thio recreating 20th century sounds on an instrument from the past, the harpsichord. This concept also features the premiere of Singapore composer Howard Wan’s “. . . and it went psychedelic” specially commissioned for the event
  • Upcoming artists such as Ah Hock and Peng Yu in a site-specific dance spectacular, Big Daddy Says . . .
  • Vocal and instrumental highlights including those from the young but hugely promising human percussionist, Peter Huang; Neri Per Caso, the Italian sextet who sounds as refreshing as they look; Singapore’s very own Vocaluptuous; Vox Box with the Singapore A Capella Groups; and Kaya, fusion music from (local) Gamelan Asmaradono & Guests;
  • Poetry Slam from Word Forward
  • Out of the Blue series – Launching the next generation of Singaporean artists in a unique platform for young musical talents
  • Jeronimo Maya, Spain’s hottest young flamenco guitarist
  • The phenomenal Antonio Vargas, choreographer and flamenco master in the movie, Strictly Ballroom as he mesmerizes you with his footwork
  • Singapore Flamenco C ircle who will enthrall with their collaboration with Jeronimo Maya and Antonio Vargas

Street Entertainment

The compound and River precinct of The Arts House will be transformed into a sprawling playground (over two weekends) for those who relish late-night revelry of fast music, dance, outdoor shows, or just eating, drinking and chilling out.

  • Opening Weekend, 26-27 March
  • The Other PAP or Party at the Promenade will feature Chalk Circle’s art on the ground writ large; New Asia sounds from Andrew Lum with his musicians from Japan, India and China, and the raucous beats of percussion group, Batacuda and Singapore’s tabla player, Maniam. The DJs of WKRZ radio station will be on the stage decks to spin vibes that will get party-goers moving to the rhythms at the River Promenade
  • Natural Theatre Company, a touring theatre show will take the audience on a hilarious journey from City Hall to The Arts House
  • Closing Weekend 3-4 April
  • The Evolution Party, complete with a Drum-Out Parade where everyone joins in; buskers; live concert celebrating female artists including Singapore’s very own women rockers, Wendi Koh and Ho Yeow Sun as well as international female artists such as Becky Taylor (UK) and Dirty Lucy (Australia) and DJ Club set, GTS, celebrated spin-maestros from Japan that will get all dancing on the river bank the whole night long

Film

  • A wide selection for the movie buffs, ranging from the Singapore premiere of Icelandic director Dagur Kari’s award wining Noi Albinoi; Eric Khoo’s controversial Mee Pok Man and Pain; the Oscar nominated Twilight Samurai and Robert Altman’s highly-acclaimed The Company
  • Outdoor screening of the ever popular, ever memorable, Strictly Ballroom created by Australian director, Baz Luhrmann

Exhibitions at NO MORE WALLS

  • Material Matters, a showcase of leading and aspiring Singapore artists who work in the three-dimensional medium – sculpture, ceramics and jewellery, includes Iskandar Jalil, Chong Fah Cheong, Jason Lim, Lee Mei Ling, Lim Shing Ee and Lai Wee Meng
  • Six String Heaven – an exhibition and auction of vintage electric guitars
  • Timeless – a showcase with hands-on dips of rare, unusual and historical instruments – the 17th century violda gamba, a double-bass created in 1825, the theremin, one of the earliest electronic musical instruments

Another (permanent) exhibition that will be featured to the public for the first time

  • Corridor of Time, an exhibit on Singapore’s constitutional history tells the story about the building when it was a courthouse and during the period when it was an Assembly House through an inventive glass and timber display of artefacts, text, images and lighting

Twelve workshops including

  • Rock and Roll Kids
  • Improving Your Life with Improv (Theatre)
  • Discover Duene! Be inspired at the movie plays under the stars. Pick up tips from the Master at our Workshop. Then the stage is yours
  • Multimedia Art
  • Chalk & Talk
  • Street Performance (Circus)
  • Drum Out! Workshop (Percussions)

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The Arts House at the Old Parliament

The Arts House is Singapore’s newest arts and heritage venue. Built in 1827, Singapore’s first Court House and former Parliament House, is the only gazetted government building designated as a multidisciplinary arts centre. At The Arts House, audiences connect with artists and arts organizations through a broad spectrum of engaging, contemporary arts and entertainment events. The Arts House is managed by Old Parliament House Limited, a not-for-profit full-service arts management company limited by guarantee.  For further information, please visit www.theartshouse.com.sg.

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For further queries, please contact

Mary Lee
Assistant Director, Corporate Communications & Marketing
The Old Parliament House Limited
Tel: 65 6332 6903
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Joyce Chia
Communications Consultant
Sinkid
Tel : 65 6 226 3450
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