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As COVID-19 grinds the world to a halt, arts organisations have had to improvise in the face of centre closures, show cancellations and government advisories to stay home. Pivoting away from live performances, arts groups in Singapore and abroad have come up with a slew of exciting online arts offerings. Offstage's own The Show Goes On...line aside, we’ve compiled a quick list to get you up to speed.
Our good friends at The Necessary Stage (TNS) are providing free access to a play from their vast archives every month, beginning with the evocative medical drama Good People, followed by all-time-favourite, Those Who Can't, Teach. Access to their entire archives is available for a nominal fee here. In the spirit of democracy, you can also vote for the next TNS production that you want to watch here.
With Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) already regularly streaming their concerts to fans worldwide, classical music enthusiasts have no reason to fret. From now until the end of June, catch them in action through their digital season, SSOPlayOn!, where they will release three to four concerts each week. These concerts consist of newly recorded concerts, performances of works by Singapore’s home-grown composers, as well as never-before-released recordings from the archive. Watch their prior livestreams on YouTube, from their concert at Gardens by the Bay to their National Day Concert 2019, while also keeping up to date on future shows on their Facebook page.
There’s an old Hokkien adage that translates to “no fish, prawns are good too.” Indeed, the saying lends itself to Singapore Chinese Orchestra’s (SCO) #DabaoSCO series, which sees past concerts broadcast in full. They’ve also launched a #roomformusic series that sees their musicians recording themselves as they play in their own personal spaces, check it all out here.
Go behind-the-scenes with livestreams of Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT) company classes run by bigwigs like Artistic Director Janek Schergen and former Principal Dancer Rosa Park, where you can get a real glimpse of what being part of a dance company actually entails. SDT are preparing more online content so keep up to date with them here.
Home of the immaculate Bolshoi Ballet, this historic theatre is taking a step into the future, livestreaming ballet and opera productions on their YouTube channel. They’ve spared no expense, with blockbusters like Swan Lake and The Nutcracker lined up for your viewing pleasure. Keep yourself in the loop here.
Known for seamlessly bridging classical ballet and contemporary dance, Dutch dance company Nederlands Dans Theater are sharing their world renowned productions online as well. Their streaming series, ND TV, presents a different ballet production every week, the most recent being The Statement by Crystal Pite, presented in Singapore as part of Esplanade's da:ns festival 2018. Keep up to date about their online initiatives on their Facebook page here.
We’re as bummed out as you are about the cancellation of National Theatre’s War Horse, which was to take place here at Esplanade from 24 Apr 2020 – 10 May 2020. National Theatre has got you covered however, with National Theatre Home. They will stream a production every Thursday, beginning with One Man, Two Guvnors, which stars late night host James Corden. Check out more here.
All’s Well That Ends Well, William Shakespeare
On the topic of British theatre, the world-renowned Shakespeare’s Globe has come out guns a-blazin’, with six plays made available online for two weeks each, including favourites like Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet. Watch it all on their dedicated player here. They’ve also prepared a new digital series titled Love in Isolation, which sees artists like Sandi Toksvig and Kathryn Hunter share Shakespeare’s words from their places of sanctuary. Stay up to date via their Facebook page.
The news that Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) has been called off was greeted with a big nein! from us here at Offstage. Some good has come out of it though, as we get to relive the magic of Schaubuhne Berlin, which left audiences firmly shooketh at SIFA 2019 with Beware of Pity. The company are streaming their past productions, with a few that includes English subtitles like Richard III and Bella Figura. Check out the full schedule here.
This list is non-exhaustive—with many theatre companies, dance institutions and music makers all currently working on creating an exciting array of digital arts offerings. Born out of necessity from a bad situation, the sudden shift towards digitalisation has placed the spotlight on arts organisations, spurring them to break out of tradition by increasing accessibility to the works they have to offer. A few others to keep a look out for are Nine Years Theatre, W!LD RICE, T.H.E Dance Company and Dream Academy, which all have more online offerings in the pipeline.