Gaurav Kripalani

The festival director of the Singapore Internatio­nal Festival of Arts on reimaginin­g SIFA as a festival for the future


We refer to SIFA (Singapore Internatio­nal Festival of Arts) 2021 as “reimaginin­g festivals for the future”. I believe that hybrid model of live and digital content will be a template for festivals in the future. Innovative uses of technology to serve the art will also feature more prominentl­y.

We presented a lineup of shows that utilized something as simple as text messaging (in enroute by one step at a time like this) to using VR and other technologi­es to serve the art. An example for the latter was Demon States by The Observator­y, where they created four VR booths around the Civic District, and they invited audiences to immerse themselves in a fantastica­l world created by Brandon Tay. This is so that audiences can experience their new music in a new way.

We had to throw all the plans we had for SIFA 2020 out the window and start again from scratch. It was important to me that as our national arts festival, we curated a program that captured the zeitgeist of the moment.

What was thrilling was discoverin­g and speaking to artists who were able to rapidly adapt to this new world and create shows in new and exciting ways and formats.

We are blessed to live in Singapore where the pandemic situation is being managed well. This has allowed us to present 60 shows, 300 performanc­es over 16 days, many of them as live performanc­es. SIFA 2021 was one of the largest arts festivals with live and online work to take place anywhere in the world since the onset of the pandemic.

SIFA, which ran from 14 to 30 May 2021, introduced a highly innovative mix of live and digital content.

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