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Singapore Cultural Calendar 2014 | Things To Do For Every Month
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Singapore Cultural Calendar 2014 | Things To Do For Every Month

Picture of Marian Shek
Updated: 9 February 2017
The cultural life of Singapore has long been incubating and, in 2014, it is set to burst forth in all its diverse glory. This year will see the launch of many new and exciting cultural events, as well as the return of firm favorites and the anticipated revival of previous stalwarts. Our curated calendar is the ultimate month-by-month guide to what’s happening in the Lion City’s art and culture scene.
Singapore Skyline | © Erwin Soo/Flickr
Singapore Skyline | © Erwin Soo/Flickr

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January | NÓNG by Edible Gardens

20 January – 31 March 2014

Sitting on the once-empty roof of the People’s Park Complex in the heart of bustling Chinatown, NÓNG is a quirky pop-up shop with a distinct mission to promote eco-living in resource-poor Singapore. It is a canny collaboration between Edible Gardens, an urban farming community set up in 2012 by Bjorn Low and Rob Pearce, and cool Singaporean design e-tailer Naiise.com. This intriguing space, named after the Chinese word for ‘farming’, offers workshops and everything a green-fingered city dweller would need to set up their own micro-garden, as well as locally designed, sustainably sourced furniture and home ware. It also has a gallery space for exhibitions, and will host a farmer’s market on 28 February, where plants from the NÓNG rooftop garden will be harvested and cooked.

NÓNG, Rooftop, Open Air Level 6 Car Park of People’s Park Complex, 1 Park Road, #06-01/02, Singapore.

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February | Singapore International Jazz Festival 2014

27 February – 2 March 2014

The inaugural Singapore International Jazz Festival 2014 promises to be an exciting addition to the island’s music scene. Taking place at the iconic Marina Bay Sands, Sing Jazz will play host to big-name jazz acts such as Jamie Cullum, Natalie Cole and honey-voiced soul star India Arie. Bringing together international and local talent, both established and up-and-coming, this festival presents a wide and accessible definition of the genre, and is set to establish itself as a world-class festival. Music lovers should also keep an eye out for the last ever Mosaic Music Festival, to be held at the Esplanade from 7 to 16 March.

Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave, Singapore. For more information, please visit the festival’s website.

March | Singapore Design Week

10 – 16 March 2014

Organized by the DesignSingapore Council, the first Singapore Design Week will be held from 10 to 16 March, with most events taking place at the National Design Centre in the cultural district of Bras Basah Bugis. This is a chance to discover the latest innovation in all areas of creativity, especially at the principal event SingaPlural, which celebrates original Singaporean design across advertising, architecture, furniture, fashion and more. With a variety of events, including the International Furniture Fair Singapore 2014, Maison&Objet Asia 2014, as well as design workshops and forums, the Singapore Design Week captures the best of international and local design.

Various locations across Singapore. For more information, please visit Singapore Design Week’s website.

Singapore Design Festival | © chinnian/Flickr
Singapore Design Festival | © chinnian/Flickr

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April | KAGEMI: Beyond the Metaphors of Mirrors

30 April – 1 May 2014

Sankai Juku, the award-winning Japanese dance troupe, brings their atmospheric and ethereal show, KAGEMI: Beyond the Metaphors of Mirrors, to the Esplanade for two nights. This performance piece, which premiered in 2000 at the Theater de la Ville in Paris, transforms the playful, absurd butoh style of dance into a thing of ethereal beauty and wonder. A group of seven dancers, led by renowned artistic director Ushio Amagatsu, embark on a journey of enlightenment, an exploration of human nature and the cycle of life. represented in seven tableaux of poetic metaphor and powerful imagery. This is a sensory spectacle that is guaranteed to mesmerize, mystify and move you in equal measure.

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Raffles Ave, Singapore.

Kagemi | © Masafumi Sakamoto/Courtesy Esplanade Theatres on the Bay
Kagemi | © Masafumi Sakamoto/Courtesy Esplanade Theatres on the Bay

May | Affordable Art Fair

23 – 25 May 2014

The Singapore edition of this global phenomenon has grown from strength to strength, with 17,800 people coming through the doors at the November 2013 fair, up from 16,000 in 2012. The Affordable Art Fair started its life in 1999 in London, and has since been launched in 14 cities across the world, coming to Singapore in 2010. With the support of over 100 local and international galleries, showcasing the diverse work of up-and-coming artists alongside well-known names such as Yayoi Kusama and Damien Hirst, the Affordable Art Fair has made buying and appreciating contemporary art more accessible. Every piece is between S$100 – S$10,000, with 75% of the works less than S$7,500, which has helped to stimulate the art market in Singapore. The fair is, moreover, a good opportunity to discover fresh artistic talent in a relaxing environment.

Various locations across Singapore. For more information, please visit the fair’s website.

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June | Baybeats

27 – 29 June 2014

Since 2007, Baybeats has become Singapore’s favorite alternative music festival, which promotes up-and-coming Asian acts from Singapore and the surrounding region. Each year, budding musicians and bands are selected and mentored by industry experts, before being given a platform to perform on the waterfront, at the Esplanade complex. As well as being able to sample local and international bands, ranging from folk, pop and electro, there is also a festival village where local craft businesses offer their wares.

Esplanade, 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore. For more information, please visit the festival’s website.

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July | Ballet Under the Stars

18 – 20 and 25 – 27 July 2014

Ballet Under the Stars is an annual outdoor event, which, after 19 years, has become something of a Singaporean institution. Taking place at Fort Canning Green, in the historical Fort Canning national park, across two weekends in July, this year’s event will see the Singapore Dance Theater present a range of classical and contemporary ballet pieces. These include the world premieres of work by renowned Australian choreographer Natalie Weir, as well as work by George Blanchine, Val Caniparoli, Edward Liang and Edmund Stripe. Ballet Under the Stars never fails to be a wonderful experience, and a chance to see Singapore’s top dance company in a magical setting.

Fort Canning Park, 70 River Valley Rd, Singapore.

August | Singapore International Festival of Arts

12 August – 21 September 2014

From 1999 up until 2012, the Singapore Arts Festival was the premiere event on the city’s cultural calendar, showcasing cutting-edge theater, dance, music and visual art of an international standard. The annual three-week event was known for its experimental approach, which stimulated the cultural growth of Singapore and sought to encourage excellence in the arts. After taking a year’s hiatus to review the direction of the SAF, the National Arts Council has decided to relaunch the festival in 2014 under an independent organisation headed by Ong Keng Sen and former director of the National Museum of Singapore Lee Chor Lin. The revamped and re-branded Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) will open with the acclaimed composer Michael Nyman’s Facing Goya, an opera that revolves around the long-lost skull of Goya. The festival will consist of 12 works in total, based on the theme of ‘Legacy’, and will close with The Wooster Group’s experimental production of Troilus and Cressida. The complete programme has yet to be announced, but the anticipated return of the SIFA is already set to be a success.

Locations to be announced. For more information, please visit the festival’s website.

Stephan Schäfer, Andy Klinger, Anna Graenzer and Sabin Tambrea in 'Peter Pan' | Courtesy of Lucie Jansch
Stephan Schäfer, Andy Klinger, Anna Graenzer and Sabin Tambrea in ‘Peter Pan’ | Courtesy of Lucie Jansch

September | Mid-Autumn Festival

Throughout September

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is an annual celebration in the Chinese calendar that centers around the day where the moon appears the fullest and brightest. This is when the sweet and rich moon cakes are traditionally gifted and eaten, and the legend of Chang E is commemorated. This year, the date falls on 8 September, but as usual, there are celebrations going on throughout the month. The Moonfest (5 – 8 September) at the Esplanade, launched in 2005, is a festival that celebrates traditional Chinese arts by putting on performances of Chinese opera, puppetry, lantern riddles, Chinese chess, as well as different workshops and talks. Alternatively, Chinatown hosts Mid-Autumn Festival events during the month, with stage shows and street bazaars, the perfect place to experience the festival’s explosion of color and light.

Various locations across Singapore.

October | Singapore Writers’ Festival

31 October – 9 November 2014

The Singapore Writers’ Festival is a yearly celebration of literature that is notable for encompassing all four of Singapore’s main languages, English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil, making it one of the few multi-language festivals in the world. The festival started in 1986 as a biennial event, and has evolved into one of Asia’s major literary events, representing home-grown writers such as Meira Chand and Alvin Pang, as well as international stars such as Michael Chabon and Neil Gaiman. Talks, readings and workshops are held in various venues across the city, including the Singapore Management University, The National Library and The Arts House. The programme for 2014 has yet to be announced, but lovers of the written and spoken word will not be disappointed.

Various locations across Singapore. For more information, please visit the festival’s website.

Singapore Writers Festival
Courtesy of Singapore Writers Festival

November | Singapore Art Fair

27 – 30 November 2014

Yet another new addition to the island’s cultural scene, the Singapore Art Fair is definitely one to watch. The fair is uniquely dedicated to the art of the ME.NA.SA (Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Southeast Asia) region, and seeks to encourage cultural and artistic exchange, as well as promote the most exciting art from these under-represented areas. The ambitious programme presents 80 galleries, 20 solo projects, a Sculpture Corner with works from internationally renowned artists, video art, talks and street art events. The large ME.NA Pavilion is to be curated by Catherine David, who was the first woman to curate Documenta. With such a promising line-up, the Singapore Art Fair is set to establish a new way forward for art events globally.

Locations to be announced. For more information, please visit the fair’s website.

December | Singapore International Film Festival

3 – 14 December 2014

Singapore’s year in the arts draws to an end with yet another cultural comeback. The Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) was once the biggest film event on the island, founded in 1987 to showcase international films and bring the Singapore film industry to an international platform. It was also highly regarded for its promotion of Southeast Asian cinema. Now, after two years, it has been revived for its 25th edition, and will be part of the new Singapore International Arts Festival, which also incorporates the Asian Television Awards, Asia Television Forum and ScreenSingapore, in what will be a large-scale extravaganza of the small and big screen. Directed by Yuni Hadi, producer of the critically acclaimed film Ilo Ilo, the SGIFF promises to be better than ever, with screenings of around 80 films at cinemas and exhibitions.

Various locations across Singapore.