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Get the latest news and information on live entertainment at our new Explore section!

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Festivals/Seasons

Singapore Symphony Orchestra

Since its founding in 1979, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) has been Singapore’s flagship orchestra, touching lives through music and providing the heartbeat of our cultural scene. Bridging the musical traditions of East and West, the orchestra has a versatile repertoire which spans all-time favourites and orchestral masterpieces to cutting-edge premieres. The orchestra makes its performing home at the 1,800-seat Esplanade Concert Hall. More intimate works and community performances take place at the 673-seat Victoria Concert Hall, the home of the SSO. The SSO also manages the Singapore Symphony Choruses, the chamber music series VCHpresents, the Singapore International Piano Festival, the Singapore National Youth Orchestra and the National Piano & Violin Competition.

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Festivals/Seasons

Welcome to Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts

Explore new arts adventure at the 19th edition of Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts. Held from 19 Feb - 14 Mar 2021, this pinnacle arts festival that celebrates Chinese New Year with the community will feature an exciting line-up of theatre, dance and music programmes by outstanding Chinese artists from Singapore and beyond, for all to enjoy during the festive period.

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SISTIC Live - Our New Streaming Platform

SISTIC Live allows you to stream past and present productions on any internet enabled device, enjoying unparalleled access to live entertainment from the comfort of your own homes. Easily purchase tickets to upcoming streamed events on SISTIC’s website via a seamless and secure booking experience and contactless payment. Find out more about SISTIC LIVE through these FAQs. Browse events on SISTIC Live below to find your next event or show to watch!

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Festivals/Seasons

Merry Music Making

“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed hearts open” – Maria von Trapp. Across all languages and cultures, music plays a special role in telling stories, bringing people together, and raising spirits. Do you enjoy music as much as we do? Join us this March for a month of merry music making, featuring all sorts of instruments. Register now and enjoy them for FREE!

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Articles

Majulah Singapura: Taking Arts & Entertainment Forward in COVID-19 Times

As regulations and advisories evolve, organisers and performers of live events are finding themselves braving the strong winds of change to transform and adapt, in order to continue presenting their craft and remain afloat amidst the tides. When Singapore’s circuit breaker was implemented, Checkpoint Theatre’s The Heart Comes to Mind, originally slated for April 2020, had to face the inevitable cancellation. Checkpoint had to be quick on their toes and pivot by adapting the production into a delightful aural experience. It is picking up its pace and producing even more works to do what it does best – visual storytelling, in any format. Singapore Chinese Orchestra, which was in the midst of their Jul 2019 - Jun 2020 season of concerts, cancelled the remainder of their performances. Armed with an inventory of past recorded performances and ready musical talents, SCO turned to its online channels to continue engaging listeners with great orchestral music from home. The Merry Lion, a dedicated comedy club with regular shows featuring both local comedic talents and international features alike, was no longer able to host any shows on its premises. It has now found new opportunities to breach the boundaries of physical space by bringing in teachers around the world to impart the skills of comedy through online classes. SISTIC interviewed these three established local arts and entertainment companies in their specialties - Checkpoint Theatre, Singapore Chinese Orchestra and The Merry Lion - to find out what’s behind the new endeavours they have pursued as a result of involuntary circumstances, their learnings, as well as opportunities and challenges they foresee as they chart a new path forward. Breaking New Grounds SISTIC: What are some new initiatives that you have tried, or are going to try in the upcoming months before live events can resume? Claire and Huzir from Checkpoint Theatre (CT): At Checkpoint Theatre, we see ourselves as storytellers across different media, platforms, and genres; the closure of theatres has not affected our determination to bring original Singapore stories to our audiences. We are now developing 18 different projects, including audio experiences, online films, music, graphic novels, and interactive platforms. We have already premiered two audio experiences -- The Heart Comes to Mind and A Grand Design, which are a hit with both people who think of them as podcasts as well as those who think of them as radio plays. From 6 - 31 August 2020, we have an online film series called Two Songs and a Story (available on SISTIC Live) where we worked with five writer-performers to create solo pieces fusing original music and monologues. Two Songs and a Story is the first production we are doing specifically made for the online audiences. We have kept that feeling of human connection that you experience in theatre, and which we prioritise at Checkpoint Theatre – Singapore stories really told for audiences. The performer often addresses the camera so there is that sense of intimacy; the story is being told to you. But it’s also accompanied by visually rich imagery, beautiful studio lighting, the movement of the camera, and all the tools you have in editing film. We are able to go further into experimenting visually. The Merry Lion (ML): We set up some online comedy course and online comedy gigs, using Zoom. The Merry Lion was really up and roaring until the buzz-kill pandemic came along like the obnoxious bratty little virus that it is! The comedy-club was regularly sold-out, we were bringing world-class comics into Singapore and the local comedy scene was thriving. Then came the virus with its dirty little nose which slowed down the industry of laughter-creation. However, our hungry desire to create more laughter in the world had to be fed. And so, we set up shows online while preparing for the reopening in good conditions. We have rounded up some of the best comics in Asia and around the world for Zoom comedy shows to help save the world one laugh at a time. BAAAM! Take that dirty-nosed pandemic! The Merry Lion on Zoom, now on SISTIC. Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO): We have worked on and introduced several new initiatives during and after the circuit breaker period, mainly on SCO’s digital platforms. From February 2020 to date, SCO & SNYCO have released 167 videos over 7 different series combined, including: #dabaoSCO (SCO), #roomformusic (SCO), #CO101 (SCO), Human Diaries (SCO), #SNYCOReplay (SNYCO), #StaySafeWithSNYCO (SNYCO) and You & SNYCO (SNYCO). While we may not be able to hold live concerts for the time being, our aim is to ensure that our audiences remain connected and engaged with SCO through our social media platforms. Hence, now that we are allowed to gather in small numbers for digital production in Phase 2, we are rehearsing and recording 2 chamber concerts to be broadcast on SISTIC Live. We also hope to do a series of hybrid concerts when the government lifts restrictions and our performances can be watched by a small number of audience in the concert hall and streamed on SISTIC Live for a large group of online audience at the same time. SISTIC: What are some opportunities which your company or group has discovered during this COVID-19 period? CT: Because we exclusively produce original Singapore work that we develop from a blank page with the creator, we're not especially fazed by the closure of theatres. It actually affords us the space and time to fully pursue our multidisciplinarity with our family of 20 or so creators. We quickly got through the anxiety and now the mood is one of excitement as we move forward on projects ranging from graphic novels to music to film to essays. This is not to take away from the sense of loss and grief that the sector is feeling, but we're really grateful that we found a way through the darkness to reconnect with our impulse to create. ML: We learned how to do a show online. At first, it was a challenge to learn about the technology but now Zoom experts are more common than noodles. We also learned how to design our shows and communication courses so that they are a suitable format for online. Once we gained these new skills we found that we were able to expand our audiences to people living all over the world, which is amazing. However, sometimes trying to reach out to strangers in other countries can also feel a bit like knocking on doors to stages and trying to sell them encyclopedias. SCO: From tracking the engagement and retention rates of our various new initiatives, we have not only been able to learn more about what our audience wants, but also reach out to a younger demographic who could enjoy and relate to our content. We will definitely keep the momentum going and continue to build on these initiatives. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Singapore Chinese Orchestra (@singaporechineseorchestra) on Jun 29, 2020 at 7:53am PDT Braving the immediate future SISTIC: What are some challenges you foresee for your company or group in the upcoming 6 months? What are some of your views about facing these challenges? CT: This pandemic has hit us financially, and one of the main challenges we have is to raise funds in order to continue making work and to provide employment for our very talented family of freelance theatre professionals. We have cancelled a total of 5 shows this year, and the projected lost revenue is at least $700,000. Even when venues reopen, it will be challenging for theatre companies to stage work live in a theatre space. It is important for there to be dynamic pricing when it comes to rental rates for venues. They need to be proactively lowered, taking into account physical distancing measures within the venues such as chequerboard seating which would decrease the number of tickets that we can actually sell. It’s also important to realise that theatre will never be the same again because of this pandemic; our audiences and their preferences and tastes for stories and the form they take will never be the same again either. This generation of digital natives are entirely comfortable with the idea of online performance whether through actual narrative or through the layers of performativity inherent in social media. They're ready for the future. This is their new normal. At Checkpoint Theatre, we believe in embracing the new media and platforms as modes of storytelling, whilst continuing to develop work for the stage so that we can welcome audiences back to the theatre when that happens. We will never stop telling original Singapore stories that challenge, move, and inspire audiences. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Checkpoint Theatre (@checkpointtheatre) on Jul 26, 2020 at 8:37pm PDT Two Songs and a Story, now on SISTIC. ML: We will battle on through the pandemic and be reborn even bigger from our corona ashes but we face a few challenges will be ravel restrictions, extra work, less income, and restricted laughter. (On travel restrictions) We will not be able to fly in comedians from abroad so we will rely on the talent and support from local comics. Lucky Singapore has a delightful pool of comedy talent so is not a problem for us. (On social distancing) We will have smaller audiences when we implement ‘social distancing’ so we will be less profitable but maybe the customers will enjoy having more space. This will mean we have less income and so I suppose the challenge will be agreeing on a viable rental rate with the landlord until such restrictions are lifted. (On mask-wearing) People may be wearing masks during the comedy show which will restrict the audible expression of merriment, laughter. Hmmm, well we will just have to be extra funny. SCO: The biggest challenge currently lies in the uncertainty brought upon by the COVID-19 situation, both locally as well as the regional situation in the next 6 to 12 months. Our concert recordings for digital concerts and live audience concerts are dependent on prevailing government safe distancing measures - planning ahead for programmes and concerts has become more difficult. Currently, we are taking on concerts one at a time. This will allow us to be nimble and give us the flexibility to adapt to the evolving situation, and the space to develop optimal plans for each unique production. In the near future, we foresee that safe distancing measures for concert audience are here to stay until a vaccine is publicly available, hence we need to increase digital access to our concerts on top of limited live audience, to reach out to more people. Friends of SCO Membership Programme, now on SISTIC. On continuity after the pandemic SISTIC: Do you think your company or group will continue exploring these new initiatives and formats even after live performances can resume? Why? CT: Yes. We will always find a way for original Singapore stories to be told — if the audience can’t come to us, we will go to them — with strong writing, performance and direction as our core tenets. Because of the large number of multidisciplinary storytellers we have in our family of creatives, we are always incubating works, whilst presenting and producing them to an audience across media, platforms, and genres. ML: Yes and no. The comedy shows online with a live audience are a new phenomenon and everyone is in the process of learning to do that to a high standard. A large number of audience members love that they can tune in directly from the warmth of their cozy sofas to the comedians’ living-room, offering their light-hearted reliefs to laugh-off the absurdity and frustration of the pandemic. However, it is of course a very different experience than in real-life comedy. At the Merry Lion, you are surrounded by shuddering shoulders, explosive laughter, timid giggling, you see people giving sly looks of acknowledgement to a loved one and you can also witness another audience member experiencing fits of hard-core belly-aching laughter. From your screen, we miss out on that, but it is a chance to witness something completely new, intimately connecting with comedians pioneering their way through a new platform to share their art with bedroom-bound audiences. All people need to do is put on some pants (or not), turn on their cameras, and get ready to laugh. We are still learning to master this so if you tune in now, you get to see it before comics all over the world master the art form and you can say, ‘I saw it when it was really weird’. Will we do it after lockdown? Probably not but we will likely continue teaching our online communication/storytelling/comedy courses as we can bring in teachers from all over the world right to your bedroom. SCO: This pandemic has brought about much change to the arts industry – from the kind of products arts organisations put out, to the way audiences consume these products. As all of us continue to navigate the ever-changing situation, we believe that digital platforms may very well become the new normal. As such, we will definitely continue to explore new initiatives and formats moving forward. One of SCO’s core values is being open to innovation and learning; we believe that our sincere commitment to trying new things will carry us through these difficult times. _ Checkpoint Theatre’s Two Songs and a Story will be streaming exclusively on SISTIC Live from 6 – 31 August 2020, available for 72 hours. Tickets are now available on SISTIC. The Merry Lion will be holding their online comedy event The Merry Lion on Zoom on 15 August 2020, 8pm. They will also be conducting a Comedy Crash Course happening on 15 August 2020, 12-5pm. Tickets are now available on SISTIC for both events. Singapore Chinese Orchestra will be bringing more concerts to your screens in the near future. For updates, follow SCO’s latest updates on their website and Facebook.

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