The M1 Singapore Fringe Festival has had a rather eventful last couple of years, having come under scrutiny by local groups. Now in its 16th edition, the long-running festival has left that all behind, going into 2020 strong with a simple but cool line-up of performances.
From Jan 8-19, 2020, expect exciting acts surrounding next year’s theme of “My Country and My People”, inspired by Lee Tzu Pheng’s iconic poem of the same name. The local poet will also be part of the pre-festival activities, by introducing her poem before reading it at Revisiting My Country and My People.
One of the main highlights this year is definitely the world premiere of Canadian art group Bluemouth Inc.’s Cafe Sarajevo, a participatory theatrical show that follows protagonist Simic as she travels to her father’s birthplace, Bosnia. Be taken through an immersive virtual reality experience, which will also mark the first-ever VR performance at the Fringe.
Popular theatre folks The Necessary Stage will finally return after five years to transport audiences to a ‘60s club featuring two perempuan-perempuan joget (dancing girls), aka the Kebaya Homies. A light-hearted musical romp, learn about the Singaporean Malay culture through the traditional outfit.
Then, look out for Spacebar Theatre’s The Utama Spaceship, inspired by our local connections with space. In the show, two Singaporean astronauts are sent into space to colonise a planet, provided they can find it. Also laugh alongside Jelaine Ng starring as Alice Soo in The Shadow Curriculum, a “workshop” that teaches attendees tips and tricks on how to strategise and maximise an education in Singapore in order to land a spot in a top institution.
Don’t forget to check out Secretive Thing, initiated by a mysterious Singaporean theatre collective. Not much is known about it, except that those who choose to participate will be going on a solo mission, questioning what it means to be a local. So if you do attend and have unveiled the “secret”, remain tight-lipped about what happens, so as not to spoil the surprise for others.
There are plenty more, and further information will be released before 2020 comes around. This will also be artistic director Sean Tobin’s final year with the festival. While no controversial acts have been announced, we are secretly hoping for one to spice up the already riveting line-up.
The M1 Singapore Fringe Festival returns Jan 8-19, 2020; more information available here.