Singapore Night Festival
A performer in an immersive, family-friendly show, House Of Curiosities, by Sweet Tooth. The Singapore Night Festival starts tomorrow and runs for another three nights – on Saturday and Aug 26 and 27. Photo: Mark Cheong

The annual Singapore Night Festival returns this year with late- night performances and art installations that aim to delight and inspire both young and old.

Held in various locations throughout the Bras Basah-Bugis precinct, the festival starts tomorrow (today 19 Aug) and runs for another three nights – on Saturday and Aug 26 and 27.

It is organised by the National Museum of Singapore and is into its ninth edition. Last year, it drew a record of 600,000 people.

The theme this year is Inventions And Innovation and many of the 86 programmes, which are mostly free, are full of theatricality and imagination.

A festival highlight is the performance titled Invasion by Dutch street theatre company Close-Act. It features 3m-6m-tall puppets of prehistoric creatures and aliens battling one another. The showdown will take place above the heads of festivalgoers on the National Museum front lawn next week. 

The museum is also the location for an installation of 98 stickmen sculptures by the French art collective Groupe Laps.

The LED figures will take over the museum's facade on all days of the festival, playing out retro games such as Space Invaders.

Mr Richard le Bihan, a member of the collective, who was at the media preview last night, said: "Asians are known for their love for electronics and technological modernity. We wanted to reflect that in the work. And we're all big kids at heart."

Other festival venues include the Singapore Art Museum, the National Design Centre and the Armenian Church. The festival will spill out onto Armenian Street, which will be closed during festival nights for a street party that will include a lightsaber battle and food stalls.

At the field opposite The Cathay mall, an immersive, family-friendly show titled House Of Curiosities will take place throughout the festival. The two-hour-long spectacle that runs three times every night includes a theatrical performance with mechanical props, a magic show and hands-on activities. It is presented by Sweet Tooth, the outreach arm of home-grown theatre company Cake Theatrical Productions. The show is ticketed and admission is $16 for adults and $13 for students and senior citizens.

The festival has barely begun but already the organisers are gearing up for its 10th edition next year and inviting the public to make a contribution to the milestone event.

From tomorrow to Aug 27, they can donate $2 with each tap of an ez-link card at the Tap To Donate installation made of Lego bricks on the second floor of the National Museum. Each donation entitles the giver to a Lego brick, which he can add to the installation by Singapore artist Xylvie Huang.

Festival creative director Christie Chua said: "The sustainability of any public arts event or festival, such as ours, is only possible through the support of our festivalgoers and partners."

Written by Nabilah Said for The Straits Times