When we first started planning this year’s Arts Festival for the university’s 20th anniversary, it was a very different concept – large crowds, regional collaborations, multiple locations from Campus Green to our new Connexion Building.
Then February came along, and we knew we had to abandon all of these plans.
The obstacle in the path, however, became the path. Being apart yet still a part of this shared experience, we started all over and pivoted the entire Arts Festival online, with the theme A-PART.
We called on students to create from the emotional impact the uncertainty of COVID-19 has on them. We continued to set the bar high, inspiring our students to harness digital platforms innovatively. With an eye on new opportunities such as designing INTERACTIVITY into our presentations, creating fresh INTER-DISCIPLINARY works, some not commonly seen on a physical stage, and the potential to reach an INTERNATIONAL audience.
Creativity finds every which way to express itself despite the circumstances. During Singapore’s Circuit Breaker in April, students, coaches, and producers worked together remotely to experiment new ways of presenting their craft. Some clubs roped in industry practitioners to give a deeper dimension to their works. Learning about how the pandemic affected the arts sector also inspired students to expand their perspectives in the way they express hope in these productions.
The following months saw Singapore go through different phases of re-opening, with measures in place that challenged the way our students rehearse and perform. Training was mostly done online, choreography tweaked to avoid physical contact, and musicians took turns to record individually in studios. Students adapted to new ways of performing, with the awareness that each and every bit of their efforts is a part of A-PART.
On behalf of SMU, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to all our creative directors, music directors, choreographers and coaches for taking the leap with us into the unknown.
This has been an incredibly rewarding event to organise, and we hope you will enjoy the works created during this unprecedented time of our lives.
Seah Wee Thye
Head, Arts & Creative Experience
Office of Student Life