The NUS Arts Festival (NAF) 2009 by NUS Centre For the Arts (CFA) presented three weekends of over 60 events by students covering drama, dance, music, literary and visual arts.
Open to the public, NAF seeks to further the NUS community’s appreciation of the arts and culture. NAF 2009 focused on arts and the environment and attracted audiences from NUS and beyond.
Thanks to gifts from Festival Sponsors such as Hong Leong Foundation and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, NAF 2009 was able to offer many events at free admission or low ticket prices, making the arts accessible to students and the community. It also allowed NAF 2009 to invite professional artistes who worked alongside student talents in commissioned and collaborative works.
One such performance was Sun Day, a theatre production by NUS Stage and NUS Chinese Drama. Featuring a script by NAC Young Artist Award (2005) winner Li Xie, Sun Day was a bilingual play that critically examined environmental issues. Its student cast and crew worked with theatre professionals such as producer Peter Sau, director Lee Chee Keng and award winning designers Lim Woan Wen and Wong Chee Wai.
This experience was an eye opener for cast members like 21-year-old undergraduate Rachel Lee: “I really learnt a lot of things that I have never experienced in my years of acting in school productions.” Her fellow cast member, 20-year-old Zheng Kai agreed: “Not only did we get to work with so many well-known names, but we also got to act in a bilingual production which was a treat.”
On the other side of the stage, the student crew experienced the exacting technical discipline and precision required for backstage work and props construction.
Thanks to their dedication and talent, Sun Day prompted praise from Singaporean critic and poet Ng Yi-sheng who wrote in his 14 March Flying Inkpot review: “I said it last year in my review of Frozen Angels [part of NAF 2008], and I’ll say it again: the NUS Arts Festival is turning out to be a boon for professional theatremakers, providing them with a lab for experiment with the raw resources of student talent to draw on for creative energy.”
Other highlights of the Festival include special commissions such as doublebill Variance by T.H.E Dance Co., featuring works by talented Singaporean choreographer Kuik Swee Boon and Taiwanese choreographer Zhang Xiao-Xiong. Tabula Rasa was a well-received research-based commission which blended original dance and music with technologies such as lasers and sensors, conceptualised by NUS academics from the Faculties of Science and Engineering.
Next year’s NAF will see NUS students explore other worthy causes to test the depth and breadth of their artistic passions. Christine Khor, CFA Director, said: “NUS Centre For the Arts is grateful to all sponsors and supporters of our events. With more similar gifts, we look forward to stretching further our creative outreach. Our sponsors and partners enable us to provide a balanced education for our students and also to bring to the public, original works and regular concerts.”
Enable talented students to explore their full potential by supporting merit-based arts programmes by the NUS Centre For the Arts. Make a gift to the Action for the Arts Fund now!