Message from the Festival Director

2021 has been a year like no other in modern history. It has shown us over and over again that we are never truly successful or safe or okay, until everyone is. That there is a vital need now, more than ever, to close the spaces between differences.

The theme for this year’s SMU Arts Festival is a reflection of our collective desire for the world to emerge stronger, 2GETHER AS 1, in the face of life’s big challenges. The colours we chose for our design collaterals, grey and yellow - Pantone colours of the year - highlight how two different hues support one another, conveying a message of fortitude and positivity that is both timely and timeless.

The concepts of all six productions in this year’s line-up exemplify this theme. Every one of them takes flight from the starting point of bringing two elements together. My team of staff producers set out to explore the coming together of arts and technology, the traditional and the contemporary, the ordinary with the extraordinary. It does take two to tango!

Operationally, we broke silos. It was an intentional effort to cast the net wider to involve talents from diverse student clubs in various works of intersections, bringing different communities and disciplines together. We expanded our collaborative worlds, inviting leading and innovative Singapore artists to mentor and create with our students.

Encouraged by the cross-border reach of our first online edition last year, we continued to commission content that is universal and relevant, with an emphasis on showing Singapore’s culture and SMU’s talents to the world. We pushed the envelope of what digital technology could provide, to create more immersive viewing experiences.

Staging a Festival during a pandemic is never easy. A resurgence of COVID clusters in Singapore in July forced Singapore’s National Day Parade to be postponed– a first since Singapore’s founding. Similarly we made the call to launch this edition in November instead of our usual October. Embracing the spirit of 2GETHER AS 1, the students adapted and adopted new vaccination-differentiated guidelines to ensure all rehearsals and performances are conducted in the safest environments.

We made it in time to be the closing celebration for our University’s 21st year. As you may have noticed, the numeric in the theme 2GETHER AS 1 is our way of paying a glowing tribute to SMU’s 21 years of out-of-classroom achievements and excellence in student activities.

On behalf of SMU, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to all our creative directors, music directors, choreographers, coaches and the students for the months of uplifting work, essential to the human spirit.

And to you our audience, we hope these artistic expressions provide some year-end entertainment and joy for all at home, and that arts continue to be a reason for us to come 2GETHER AS 1.

Warmest wishes,

Seah Wee Thye
Head, Arts & Creative Experience
Office of Student Life


The programmes you have watched are a labour of love from over 300 youths over the last 8 months. They have come 2GETHER AS 1 to pursue their common passion in the arts, while juggling the commitments from other aspects of their lives. For some students, this includes shouldering financial difficulties during the pandemic. You can help ease their load by donating generously to SMU Resilience Fund, a university-wide effort established in 2020 to provide timely and much-needed relief for SMU students. We look forward to receiving your support during this festive season.

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