What’s happening with Singapore’s arts scene now?

Singapore, its idiosyncracies, and its people take centre stage at the 2016 Singapore Theatre Festival happening from Jun 30-Jul 24 at LASALLE College of the Arts. Presented by Singaporean theater company W!LD RICE, the festival celebrates contemporary Singaporean theater and hopes to develop and encourage local playwrights, old and new.

Ivan Heng, the artistic director of W!LD RICE, gives us his take on the local arts scene and what you should expect at the upcoming festival.

Please share the one thing you love about Singapore’s theater scene.

Visitors to Singapore are always surprised by how much we get away with in theater, because we have the unfortunate reputation of being very regulated and strait-laced. Over the years, theater has created a space for artists and audiences to reflect on today’s most challenging and difficult issues. Politics, sex, race and religion are hot-button topics and taboos that otherwise go undiscussed in the mainstream media.

How has the local arts industry evolved over the past five years?

There are many new, up-and-coming talents and companies. These young artists represent a new generation of voices in Singapore. At the Singapore Theatre Festival, playwrights like Nessa Anwar, Thomas Lim and Helmi Yusof are writing their first plays. Look out, too, for companies like Red Pill Productions and Hatch Theatrics, which will respectively be staging Let’s Get Back Together and Hawa.

, What’s happening with Singapore’s arts scene now?


If you had to choose, what are some exciting productions to look out for in 2016?

I would highly recommend the shows in W!LD RICE’s upcoming Singapore Theatre Festival. HOTEL is a truly unmissable theatrical experience, if I do say so myself! The festival will also feature some of the most exciting, provocative, challenging plays you’ll see on stage this year.

Lastly, what do you enjoy about living in Singapore?

Its diversity. There are more than a hundred nationalities who have made Singapore their home in the last century. At a dinner party, you can find people from all walks of life. If you’re curious, Singapore is full of surprises!