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Returning from 17 May, the Festival invites audiences to embrace a harmonious coexistence with the natural environment and the diverse voices around them

Singapore, 20 February 2024 – Organised by Arts House Limited (AHL) and commissioned by the National Arts Council (NAC), the programme line-up for the 2024 edition of the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) was unveiled by Festival Director Natalie Hennedige this evening at 1-Altitude Coast. With the radiant sunset and sounds of crashing waves setting the stage for an unconventional reveal, Hennedige also announced the theme for SIFA 2024 – They Declare – an expression of the multiplicity of voices that the Festival welcomes and celebrates. Returning from 17 May to 2 June 2024, the Festival will present five newly commissioned productions and seven invited international presentations, as well as an engaging event that celebrates Singapore’s vibrant theatre scene and an all-new programming pillar catered for families and children.

Welcoming diverse ways of being

Since 2022, the recurring title, The Anatomy of Performance, has served as a guiding framework for SIFA under Hennedige’s leadership, reflecting her intention to push and expand the possibilities of performance, while expressing potent narratives and insights about complex issues today. Further defining the focus of each edition’s programming is a changing subtitle tagged to the recurring title. Following SIFA 2022’s Ritual and SIFA 2023’s Some People, SIFA 2024’s They Declare is an evocative call for audiences to make space for the coexistence of different beliefs and ways of being, by reflecting on their relationship to the natural environment as well as the other voices and existences that surround them.

Festival Director Natalie Hennedige says, “The intent to illuminate how performance can be approached as a dynamic arena not only for artistic innovation and expression, but also to gather and be moved by shifting perspectives has been the driving force behind each edition of the Festival. With clear Singapore identity and international presence, we continue to build a Festival that responds to the now, encouraging all present to embrace difference, and different ways of being in these testing times.”

Fostering creative intersections and progressive, original works

As Singapore’s annual pinnacle performing arts festival, SIFA is a platform devoted to supporting the development and presentation of cutting-edge creations that hold contemporary relevance to local audiences. SIFA 2024 continues to explore dynamic transnational collaborations, bringing together the unique artistic perspectives of Singapore’s brightest creators and celebrated international artists.

This year’s Festival commissions include:

  • Conceived by Singapore music artist Safuan Johari in collaboration with Māori Choreographer Eddie Elliott, SUARA / ORO RUA features original compositions centred on and driven by a choral unit comprising singers from diverse musical practices and backgrounds, with string and electronic music and a cast of New Zealand dance artists to imagine a post-Anthropocene future.
  • WILFUL MACHINE, a performance-installation work by Singapore visual artist Genevieve Chua, which presents a playful take on artificial intelligence, examining humanness in a world of data and
  • Celebrated Singapore theatre-makers Haresh Sharma and Chong Tze Chien come together for THE PROSE AND THE PASSION, which draws from the works, letters and life of one of the greatest English novelists of all time, E. M. Forster, to create a play where fictional characters from Forster’s novels traverse space and time and interact with characters from Sharma’s imagination.
  • Iconic Singapore band The Observatory presents REFUGE, an interdisciplinary live performance project combining sound, live music, moving image and light that takes audiences on a metaphysical sojourn into the subterranean to examine the relationship between the self and the natural world in the face of profound and constant change.

Seeking out leading edge work by international artists

SIFA 2024 will continue to gather the voices of prominent and promising artists from across the globe, demonstrating the multiplicity and scale of SIFA as a contemporary international arts festival. Encompassing a range of mediums and genres and reflecting powerful contemporary perspectives, these performances will introduce diversity in form and content that will provide nuanced responses to themes explored through They Declare.

International invited works include:

  • First showcased at the 2019 Venice Biennale, internationally-acclaimed award-winning experiential opera performance SUN & SEA by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, Lina Lapelytė, will make its Southeast Asian debut at SIFA 2024. An ecological work at its very core, the work takes the form of an imitation beach indoors where its lounging performers sing about mundane existence, worry, and boredom, darkly remarking on the Earth’s decline. Audiences will also get an exclusive opportunity to participate in the work as actors for the iteration of SUN & SEA for SIFA 2024. More details on the Open Call and auditions can be found in Annex B.
  • MOBY DICK by Norwegian director, actress, puppet-maker and artistic director of Plexus Polaire, Yngvild Aspeli, presents a 90-minute live adaptation of Herman Melville’s mythical work about an ancient white whale. Performed by a cast of seven actors, fifty puppets, and video projections, the work employs filmic techniques, captivating puppetry and clever stagecraft to manipulate the audience’s perspective, and prompting the audience to reflect on the profound connections between human existence and nature.
  • THE ROMEO by American dancer, choreographer and SIFA 2016 alumni Trajal Harrell presents a fresh take on the Shakespearean archetype of Romeo by combining a speculative style of dancing incorporating fluid, wavy and undulating movements and bizarre outfits, to allow for a multitude of protagonists to emerge.
  • Germany-based artists Susanne Kennedy and Markus Selg present the Asian premiere of ANGELA (a strange loop), a multimedia stage production that sees the character Angela go through various everyday experiences and narratives in an endless loop, blurring the lines between the virtual and the real.
  • In UNA ISLA, Spanish theatre company Agrupación Señor Serrano presents an experimental inquiry into the meaning of ‘coming together’ and how it relates to humanity, especially in today’s context, in search of new ways of living together.

A showcase of the vitality and diversity of Singapore’s creative talents

Over two Festival weekends, audiences can look forward to TOMORROW AND TOMORROW which sees our theatre groups gather to present a host of new works in the making. Transforming Stamford Arts Center and 42 Waterloo Street into a sandbox of works-in-process, Tomorrow and tomorrow is an extraordinary opportunity to witness the diverse practices of Singapore’s theatre groups on a single platform, opening up vistas for future presentations while unearthing Singapore’s fertile ground for contemporary theatre making. 

Writer, editor and producer Hong Xinyi returns with two projects – FL(U)ORESCENCE and URL TO IRL: SIFA DIGITAL. Fl(u)orescence brings together diverse contributors offering creative responses to SIFA 2024’s lineup. Beginning in 2022, SIFA introduced a virtual venue and creation platform hosted on the official festival website. URL TO IRL: SIFA Digital showcases a selection of digital as well as creative responses to SIFA performances spanning three years in an installation where digital explorations find new life in real life. 

Festivalgoers can also encounter the Festival in the digital space through Singapore film editor Natalie Soh’s the light gleams an instant. A SIFA 2024 digital commission, Soh’s experimental short film explores the intersection between art, music and nature, delving into the rich collection of specimens from the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum and casting new light on artist-jeweller Shing of Argentum and the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music.

A new programming pillar for the little ones

As part of the Festival’s enduring efforts to nurture new audiences, SIFA 2024 will feature a special series of family-friendly programmes from 24 to 26 May 2024. Designed to facilitate memorable art encounters for children, Little SIFA was conceptualised to introduce young audiences to the vast world of the performing arts. Audiences of all ages and anyone young at heart are welcome to enjoy the THE DANCER’S FAIR at Cathay Green, where a larger-than-life ballerina and an old-style fair comprising seven of Antigua i Barbuda’s fascinating machines await. Presented as separate installations, audiences are invited to interact with and breathe new life into these sculptures made up of repurposed materials. Antigua i Barbuda is on the lookout for those interested in being involved in the magic of The Dancer's Fair. More details of the Open Call and participants' requirements will be announced on the Festival’s website. 

Just across the road at SOTA Drama Theatre, Manual Cinema invites little SIFA-goers to delight in LEONARDO! A WONDERFUL SHOW ABOUT A TERRIBLE MONSTER. Using hundreds of illustrated paper puppets, book pages, two-dimensional props, furry monster puppets and songs to bring Mo Willems’ books to life, audiences have the option of approaching the production as a traditional movie on the screen, or peer down at the artists below as they create the story in real time.

Sharon Tan, Executive Director at AHL said, “In the last two years, Natalie has undoubtedly left her distinctive mark on the direction that the Festival has undertaken, bringing audiences on uncharted paths and unexpected adventures. She continues to awe us with fresh perspectives and many firsts for the Festival — from the multiple regional premieres to a special strand of programming dedicated to young audiences — that address a multitude of themes and issues explored through the Festival subtitle They Declare. We hope that audiences will be inspired and find personal resonance in the myriad of remarkable and innovative artistic experiences by outstanding artists from and beyond Singapore’s shores, further enriching their lives through the arts.”

Natalie Hennedige’s tenure as Festival Director for SIFA extended until 2025

Adding onto the unveiling of what can be expected at SIFA 2024, Hennedige is set to spearhead the Festival as Festival Director for a fourth year in 2025. Known for driving dynamic transnational co-creation between local and international artists as well as her bold approach to programming artistically diverse, progressive and challenging creations, Festivalgoers can anticipate yet another edition of SIFA that persists in pushing the boundaries of what performance can encompass, positioning SIFA and Singapore in the arena amongst the most inspiring performing arts festivals in the world.

Sharon added: “We would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to Natalie on the extension of her tenure as Festival Director of SIFA. The team at Arts House Limited and I are excited to continue working closely with Natalie for another edition of the Festival. With her invaluable experience steering SIFA for the past three years, we are confident that our combined efforts will continue to bridge the arts and audiences, transforming ideas into reality through the dynamic programming that makes SIFA an exceptional performing arts festival in the region.”

Low Eng Teong, Chief Executive Officer of the NAC said, “Over the years, SIFA has established itself as the annual pinnacle performing arts festival that inspires creative exchanges through its diverse works across genres. Under Natalie’s helm, SIFA continues to embody a spirit of evolution, with a wide range of opportunities for audiences to experience performing arts in a different light. We look forward to Natalie and the team’s continued efforts to present the best of Singapore and the world’s performing arts at SIFA.”

More information on SIFA 2024 programmes and participating artists may be found in Annex A, while Open Call details for Sun & Sea may be found in Annex B.

Early bird tickets for SIFA 2024, which offer audiences savings of 15%, go on sale from 20 February 5.00pm till 31 March 2024, 11.59pm on Ticket prices and savings may be found in Annex C.

For programme information and high-resolution images, please visit


For more information, please contact:

Natalie Sim

Senior Associate
Tate Anzur
M: +65 9710 6570
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shi Min Foo

Senior Associate
Tate Anzur
M: +65 9383 7173
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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About 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. 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 six arts spaces that aim to support our arts sector and bring communities together. These include two national monuments - The Arts House, multidisciplinary arts centre, and Victoria Theatre & Victoria Concert Hall, a heritage building that is home to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

It also runs the performing arts space Drama Centre as well as three enclaves for arts groups and creative businesses - the Goodman Arts Centre, Aliwal Arts Centre and Stamford Arts Centre. It is the cultural place manager of Singapore's Civic District.

AHL organises two national pinnacle festivals – the Singapore International Festival of Arts focused on the performing arts, and the Singapore Writers Festival - a multi-lingual festival presenting the world's leading literary talents. In addition, it manages Our Cultural Medallion Story – the showcase on Singapore's Cultural Medallion recipients at The Arts House.

Arts House Limited is a public company limited by guarantee under the National Arts Council. First set up as The Old Parliament House Limited in 2002, it was renamed Arts House Limited in 2014. For more information, visit

About the National Arts Council

The National Arts Council champions the arts in Singapore and is committed to nurturing a vibrant and sustainable arts scene that enriches the lives of Singaporeans. Our distinctive arts sector fosters artistic excellence, inspires society, sparks creativity, and connects Singapore with the world. Through our collaborative efforts with individuals, private and public sectors, we aim to cultivate a creative city that inspires, while anchored on a thriving, inclusive and diverse arts scene. For more information on the Council’s mission and plans, visit

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