SMU Arts Festival 2018 Kept Audience on the Edge of Their Seats

21 Sep 2018

[Photo Caption: Performed by SMU INDANCITY and SMU Malay Language and Cultural Club, the festival opening highlight was Mankind 2.0 – an original contemporary dance commissioned by SMU.]

Over the course of 10 days from 7 to 16 September, audiences were mesmerised by the performers, and other events at the SMU Arts Festival 2018. In its fourth edition, this year’s festival featured 17 unique events showcasing music, dance and theatrical productions, as well as visual exhibitions and workshops. 16 programmes were put up by the university’s clubs under the Arts & Cultural Fraternity (ACF). In all, the festival attracted over 5000 attendees.

Themed “Edge”, 17 participating clubs were challenged to push their boundaries by creating works that interweave three key interpretations of the theme – Where is your edge, What will push you off the edge, and Who is left behind on the edge.

Mankind 2.0 was the opening highlight of this year’s SMU Arts Festival, held on 7 September 2018, and featured a first-time collaboration between SMU INDANCITY and SMU Malay Language & Cultural Club. The commissioned piece was set against the unique architecture of SMU Campus Green, and sought to answer the question, ‘What happens when Earth meets Sky?’. It also depicted mankind diverging into two distinct factions in the near future, and the eventual reconciliation of both.

This year, various programmes explored how arts can make a difference by raising awareness of social issues such as mental illness and social inequality. SAFELIGHT, a photography exhibition by SMUSAIC, offered a window into the lives of those suffering from mental health conditions. Another photo exhibition, Edge of Bhinneka by SMU Komunitas Indonesia highlighted the issue of Indonesia’s large income inequality. SMU’s theatre club, StageIT, put up a play, Misaligned inspired by true stories surrounding its actors, on mental wellness. Guest artist group, MAYA Dance Theatre cast a spotlight on domestic sexual abuse and mental illness through their dance performance Anwesha & Pancha: Earth.

Many programmes this year also encouraged the audience to get involved. Funky Town Vol. 1 by SMU Funk Movement organised masterclasses for those interested to learn the basics of popping and locking. Audere, SMU Symphonia’s music showcase, gave the audience full autonomy to decide the order of the pieces by voting live during the performance. “same same but different” by SMU Chamber Choir featured interactive activities and invited the audience to be part of a spoken music score.

Launched in 2015, the festival is a ground-up approach where students provide creative inputs on the entire festival management including its content curation, marketing, sponsorship, ticketing and operations. The festival is also one that allows the university to foster deeper connections with the public and wider arts community in Singapore through partnerships and showcases.

Said Trina Lim, Chairperson for this year’s festival Chairperson and a third year business student, “It is heartening to see the student organising committee coming together and providing a strong support system for one another in the nine months of planning. I hope that the arts festival continues to celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of the SMU arts scene.”

“SMU Arts Festival 2018 has helped us to achieve a form of interconnectedness within our performing arts community. By having this platform where access to the arts is open for all, it creates an environment where various forms of art do not become unappreciated, but instead these different forms of expression are brought to life”, adds Cheryl Tan, Honorary General Secretary of this year’s festival and a third-year social science student at SMU.

Last updated on 4 Oct 2018.

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