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© cegoh/Pixabay
© cegoh/Pixabay

A History of the Singapore International Festival of Arts in 1 Minute

Picture of Prianka Ghosh
Updated: 10 August 2016
Established in 1977, the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) celebrates a variety of different art styles popular across the country’s ethnically diverse communities. This year’s festival runs from August 11th – September 17th and offers up a wide range of local and international artists performing works of theater, dance, music, photography and more.


Much-admired theater director, Ong Keng Sen, continues his role as festival director (2014-2017). Whereas previous years were thematically retrospective; 2014 was themed Legacy and the Expanded Classic, which considered the impact of the 20th Century on the future as well as the definition of classic. The 2016 festival is themed Potentialities, looking ahead to the future and what can potentially result from the current political and economic conditions of our society.

This year’s festival has been scaled down considerably compared to last year, just 15 productions make up the 2016 edition of SIFA. These productions were all commissioned specifically for the Singaporean edition of the festival in line with Ong Keng Sen’s goal of moving SIFA towards becoming a creations festival.

One of this year’s most highly anticipated works is Ron Arad’s 720°, an immense outdoor video installation that will be constructed in Gardens by the Bay. Arad’s work itself is more of an installation than a performance, however, it will show different video content each day. The circular installation stands at an impressive 18 meters in diameter and consists of 8 meter silicon cords (5,600 of them!) that create an interactive screen on both sides of the circular stage. Previous versions of Arad’s works in London and Jerusalem drew crowds well into the thousands.

The festival boasts an impressive range of world-renowned artists including the world’s best pipa virtuoso, China’s Wu Man, Argentinian dramatist and visual artist Fernando Rubio whose work has been staged across Europe and the Americas and Robert Lepage, the Canadian director partners with Russian actor Evgeny Mironov for a completely unique, contemporary look at Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Find more information about each of the performances, venue locations, ticket info and a comprehensive schedule of all performances in the SIFA 2016 Festival Guide.


📅   August 11th – September 17th (Opening times vary)