We are excited to present to you our 2019 line-up for Still Waters, our 15th instalment of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival.
We continue with our series of festival programmes built around iconic Singaporean art works by leading local artists that hold resonance to this day.
The concepts in Suzann Victor’s seminal work Still Waters (Between estrangement and reconciliation) are subtle, layered, nuanced, and perhaps even elusive for some. The selection of Victor's work as our focus has set greater challenges than ever before to artists participating in our festival, due to the intricacies of its provocation. It would have been easy to assume that a festival inspired by Still Waters was going to concern itself only with censorship, a key trigger for Suzann’s site-responsive performance. However, we have been able to build a programme that picks up on many of the vital ideas in Suzann’s work, which we trust will inspire great conversations for the arts community and our audiences.
We are thrilled to be able to share with you a host of fresh and original works exploring estrangement, brokenness and trauma. Works that explore history, myth, memory, and the different ways we can construct and deconstruct it. Works that delve into oppression, the resolve to break free and find renewal and strength beyond it, as we reclaim what is important to us. In an era where we are at risk of being more divided than ever globally, we continue to hope that art can help build bonds between us, regardless of our distinctly different identities and dispositions.
Our programme includes international works that have received critical acclaim in a host of cities; namely JOGGING: Theatre in Progress, one of our Fringe Highlights, by the remarkable powerhouse performer, Hanane Hajj Ali. It is a fiercely political work that confronts us with questions about cycles of destruction and reconstruction. It is not only the text and virtuosic performance that make this work important, but the context and manner in which Hanane has been sharing this work in her homeland, Lebanon, where she is unable to tell her story in public spaces without restraint. This thankfully has not stopped her from performing it in alternative spaces more than 70 times all around Lebanon, and even in Edinburgh and Berlin.
“… THE FESTIVAL HAS PROVEN TO BE AN EXCITING, DYNAMIC AND FERTILE SPACE FOR MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE, DEBATE, REFLECTION AND IMAGINATION.”
As a Singaporean festival, it is especially vital that our local work stands strong in the heavy current of themes. New local works such as Ayer Hitam: A Black History of Singapore, Catamite and our second Fringe Highlight, ANGKAT: A Definitive, Alternative, Reclaimed Narrative of a Native bring a fresh gaze upon our own Singapore history, particularly given the backdrop of Singapore’s bicentennial commemorations in 2019, as a nation still working through its post-colonial baggage. We are also really looking forward to flooding the streets with Sean Cham’s photographic exhibition This is Where, our other Fringe Highlight at JCDecaux bus shelters islandwide.
Do be sure to join us also for Estrangement and Reconciliation: A Talk with Suzann Victor as well, to get into the head and heart of Suzann herself.
We look forward to engaging the Singapore community with the Fringe this January. Time and again, the festival has proven to be an exciting, dynamic and fertile space for meaningful dialogue, debate, reflection and imagination. In recent years, as some of you may be aware, we have had to endure attacks by different camps for allegedly being too liberal and/or too conservative. Regardless of the stripes you wear, we invite you to immerse yourselves in the offerings for Still Waters, which we hope will be a powerful yet peaceful instalment that continues to probe and question our preconceptions about the world we live in.
SEAN TOBIN ARTISTIC DIRECTOR M1 SINGAPORE FRINGE FESTIVAL