About SIFA

About the Singapore International Festival of Arts

The Festival of Arts which began in 1977 as a biennial. It went on a hiatus in 2012 and returned in 2014 with a brand new image, concept and approach as the Singapore International Festival of Arts, or SIFA. Organised and managed independently by the Arts House Limited, and commissioned by the National Arts Council, SIFA aims to inspire diverse audiences through great artistic experiences. SIFA begins with The O.P.E.N., its pre-festival of ideas, public engagement initiative and is followed by the main Festival a month later. From 2014 to 2017, the Festival is helmed by theatre director Ong Keng Sen. 



After colonial regimes, after dictatorship, after communism, we witness a globalisation of life. What comes after the Empires from which we have emerged? How do we live with the global networks and monopolies of power which define the age we live in? We live in the Nation, we live with neoliberal capitalism that gives us the impression we are free. But what remains after…? Symbolic of POST-Empires is the moment when characters decline their Destinies, as proposed by the Author. They reclaim their lives and, in so doing, refuse the power of the Author. Can we rewrite the History that has been written for us?


No stranger to the Festival and the international arts scene, Keng Sen is the Festival Director of the all-new Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA). The first Singapore artist to have received both the National Arts Council Young Artist Award (1992) and the Cultural Medallion (2003), Keng Sen is a Fulbright Scholar and was awarded the prestigious Fukuoka Asian Arts and Culture Prize in 2010 for his work in Asian contemporary performance. His philosophy of creating works with an international dimension and relevance has brought him international fame, having presented at major instituitions including at the Lincoln Center in New York City, the Paris Center National de la Danse, the Cocoon Theater in Tokyo and at Panorama Rio de Janeiro. He holds a Master in Intercultural Performance from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and is also an Adjunct Professor with the National University of Singapore, where he started the theatre studies programme in 1992. Keng Sen will direct four editions of SIFA from 2014 to 2017.