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Singapore International Festival of Arts takes a hiatus in 2020 in light of COVID-19

Singapore, 23 March 2020 - In light of the recent measures announced by the Singapore government to help curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Arts House Limited (AHL), together with festival commissioner National Arts Council (NAC), regretfully announces that the 43rd edition of the Singapore International Festival of Arts 2020 (SIFA 2020) will no longer take place from 15 to 31 May 2020.

Recent measures announced by the government include safe distancing, the cancellation of all events catering to over 250 people, and the implementation of travel restrictions into Singapore. These wide-reaching measures, along with similar travel restrictions imposed by countries around the world, mean it is no longer viable to proceed with SIFA as scheduled.

Sarah Martin, CEO of AHL reflected, “The line-up of shows in SIFA this year received an overwhelmingly positive response from the public and press alike, cementing its place as Asia's leading arts festival. While we are all disappointed by this decision to no longer hold the festival in May, the safety and well-being of our patrons, artists and staff will always be AHL's number one priority."

The SIFA team is grateful to the arts audience for their support of the festival and have worked with SISTIC to ensure that full refunds will be extended to all ticket-holders. Please click here for more information on ticket refunds.

As Singapore’s pinnacle arts festival, SIFA collaborates with and contributes to the livelihood of full-time practitioners, freelancers and contract staff. In light of the current situation, the SIFA team is actively engaging with all these individuals to help mitigate the impact of these challenging times. The SIFA team will also work closely with the local arts groups involved in SIFA 2020 to offer new arts experiences in the coming months. This will not only sustain the critical work done by the leading arts groups, but also engage audiences who support SIFA through new experiences.

SIFA Festival Director Gaurav Kripalani said, "The whole SIFA team has been working tirelessly for three years to bring this festival to you. To have it not go ahead two months before it was to take place is gut-wrenching for all of us, as well as a huge disappointment to all the artists involved. But all of us fully support and recognise that these are extraordinary times that require extraordinary measures in order to keep everyone safe. I look forward to working with NAC, AHL, and the arts community to make sure our national arts festival grows from strength to strength when we overcome this current challenge.”

AHL would like to thank all friends of SIFA for their support and patience during these turbulent times. Regular updates will be made via sifa.sg and social media.

#SIFA2020 #SgUnited #LetArtSupportSG


“We are heartened to see that despite these hard decisions, SIFA remains committed to the artists and our belief that the arts are important, whether in good or bad times.”

Nelson Chia, Artistic Director of Nine Years Theatre
Three Sisters


“This is an unprecedented situation and we totally understand and stand by SIFA's decision. We need to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of our artists, production crew and audience, and we must rally together as a community, support one another, and hopefully come through this trying period stronger and much more resilient.”

Melissa Lim, General Manager of The Necessary Stage
The Year of No Return


“The team of OIWA - The Ghost of Yotsuya and The Finger Players understand SIFA's decision. We will be working closely with them to see through the eventual presentation of the production. The well-being and health of our audience, actors, creative team and crew from both Singapore and Japan are of utmost importance to us. While the pandemic may have halted our plans, it is now offering us an opportunity to further refine our work.”

Chong Tze Chien, Director and Playwright of The Finger Players
OIWA – The Ghost of Yotsuya


“When the world is in a better state, so will our arts shine brighter with deepened engagement. We understand that the decision is difficult and we fully support the festival organiser's direction. Looking forward to delivering a great show no matter when.”

Goh Boon Teck, Director and Founder of Toy Factory Productions
A Dream Under the Southern Bough – Existence


For more information, please contact:

Samantha Jong
Huntington Communications
T: +65 6339 2883
M: +65 8163 4662
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Glenn Huang
Head, Communications
Arts House Limited
T: +65 6435 0240
M: +65 9274 7553
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Johann Khairi
Communications Manager
Arts House Limited
T: +65 6435 0176
M: +65 9180 7776
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Follow #SIFA2020 on:
Website: sifa.sg
Facebook: facebook.com/sifa.sg
Twitter: twitter.com/sifa_sg
Instagram: instagram.com/sifa_sg


About the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA)
As Singapore’s annual pinnacle performing arts festival, the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) presents captivating and diverse works across theatre, music, dance, film and visual arts. First launched as the Singapore Festival of Arts in 1977, the festival has gone through several evolutions and inspired generations of arts lovers and practitioners. Today, the highly anticipated festival is a high point on Singapore’s arts and cultural calendar. Under the helm of Festival Director Gaurav Kripalani, SIFA continues its festival mission to champion the creation and presentation of Singaporean and international works.

About Arts House Limited
Arts House Limited (AHL) is a not-for-profit organisation committed to enriching lives through the arts. AHL manages two key landmarks located in the heart of Singapore’s Civic District – The Arts House, a multi-disciplinary arts centre with a focus on literary programming, and the Victoria Theatre & Victoria Concert Hall, a heritage building that is home to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. It also runs the Goodman Arts Centre and Aliwal Arts Centre, two creative enclaves for artists, arts groups and creative businesses, and performing arts space Drama Centre. AHL presents the Singapore International Festival of Arts, the annual pinnacle celebration of performance and interdisciplinary arts in Singapore commissioned by the National Arts Council.

AHL was set up in 11 Dec 2002 as a company limited by guarantee (CLG) under the National Arts Council and was formerly known as The Old Parliament House Limited. It was officially renamed Arts House Limited on 19 Mar 2014.

About National Arts Council
The National Arts Council champions the arts in Singapore. By nurturing creative excellence and supporting broad audience engagement, our diverse and distinctive arts inspire our people, connect communities and profile Singapore internationally. We preserve our rich cultural traditions as we cultivate accomplished artists and vibrant companies for the future. Our support for the arts is comprehensive – from grants and partnerships to industry facilitation and arts housing. The Council welcomes greater private and corporate giving to and through the arts, so that together we can make the arts an integral part of everyone’s lives. For more information on the Council’s mission and plans, please visit www.nac.gov.sg.

  • 2020