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Music Dance Theatre

The thrills, the 'feels', the year at the durian

This is 2018 in pictures.


Published: 14 Dec 2018

Time taken : >15mins

This is 2018 in pictures, celebrating the people, the arts, and everything we're thankful for.

Are you counting down the days to 2019? Because we are, and there’s nothing like a good throwback to end the year on the right note. This durian continued its year-long 15th birthday celebrations this year, and now that we're sweet 16, we can't wait for what's to come. Even though it feels like time passed so quickly, there's still much to be thankful for.

So here is 2018 in pictures, where we celebrate the people, the arts, and most importantly, the fond memories that made these 12 months dear.


18. We had our first theatre performance at the Esplanade Basement Carpark

In February, as part of Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts, theatre-maker Liu Xiaoyi of Emergency Stairs took over the subterranean carpark and filled it with different scenes and settings that included a makeshift pool of water, a beat-up car, and other interactive objects.

Fun fact: This piece, Einstein in the Carpark, is the second of three works commissioned by the festival. The last of the trilogy, FOUR FOUR EIGHT, is a durational performance set in a bar and will feature in next year's edition.


17. We celebrated inclusivity (with a relaxed performance for all ages and abilities at the Esplanade Theatre)

Along with the good folks at UK’s National Theatre, we presented The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Uncle Roland

16. Hello Uncle Roland!

Meet Uncle Roland, one of our long-time patrons who's here almost every weekend and always knows how to have a good time. That's him dancing right in front during an A Date With Friends getai performance at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre in March.


15. We celebrated our common humanity with A Tapestry of Sacred Music

This year's festival featured spiritual traditions from Kazakhstan, China, India, the Middle East, Africa and more. Pictured here is a monk in a deer costume, channeling the deities in his performance of a ceremonial Tibetan Buddhist dance called cham. This dance segment is believed to bring good luck.

Community Engagement

14. This is definitely one of our favourites

It's not taichi and it's not Chinese dance. It's hip hop moves that these cute aunties from O'Joy Care Services are practising. That's right, we've got a hip hop for seniors outreach programme as part of our community engagement with our beneficiaries, and this never fails to put a smile on our faces.

Here’s to active aging and learning something new no matter what age.


13. Fee fi fo fum, we heard the laughter of the little 'uns

Which kid doesn’t like parades? These ones at Octoburst! sure did, at the festival’s first-ever procession round our waterfront.

Pictured here is the orange giant doing some warm-up exercises with the kids right before go-time.


12. It was all hands on deck at Esplanade's first fundraising gala in June

It took months of planning, and boy were we lucky it went well. That night, we took our guests on an intimate journey to the heart of Esplanade and our people. Here's Eugenia Yip regaling them with some songs.

10 Milion

11. We are also very thankful for this

Through the year, as we continued to raise funds for our new waterfront theatre, we received some happy news (and a cheque) from the generous folks over at Singtel. We're so happy to say that we're two-thirds there.

See how you can help build our new theatre


10. Remember this giant LED puppet at Flipside??

We had members of the audience become their own puppeteers and bring it to life.


9. We love to see kids grow their talent

Like these 10–16 year olds who led their own kid's concert at Pesta Raya – Malay Festival of Arts


8. This set is possibly one of our favourites of the year

Commissioned by The Studios for this year's season, Edith Podesta's Leda and the Rage really struck us with its story, set, sound and costume designs. The magnificent set with a pool in the centre was designed by Wong Chee Wai.

Moonfest Stage

7. Speaking of sets, now here's one we will sorely miss

The wayang stage, a Moonfest – A Mid Autumn Celebration staple since 2012 which gave us years of Chinese street opera by the waterfront, sang its swan song this September.

In case you missed it, we’ve handed this space over to our builders and architects to give us more room to grow. Our new mid-sized theatre opens in 2021.

Click to read about how this makeshift stage came to be

After Dark

6. Bet you don't know where this is

Ever been on a backstage tour of our durian? Well this happened during Flipside—late at night. The special tour brought patrons from the highest point of the centre to its underbelly, complete with stories born from the quiet hours in the durian, plenty of dark corners for a scare, and some light stick bangles.


5. It was an epic goodbye with Caracal

Goodbye Powerhouse, you sexy Baybeats beast of a stage. We had 11 years of fun...

Here's a shot taken from behind drummer Martin Kong during Caracal's set on the last day of the festival.

Read on to find out more about the history of the Powerhouse


4. This cute little dance number also melted our hearts

Here's Arif of grindcore band Wormrot with his son doing their thing. If you don't know the backstory, the last time the band performed at Baybeats in 2013, it was on the same Powerhouse stage that Arif proposed to his wife and band manager Azean. Talk about growing up with the festival.

Fun fact: we've had quite a few proposals at the festival over the years. There was even one this year between two members of Baybeats Budding Band Sangriento, that took place over at the Arena stage.


Photo by Eddie Sung

3. We celebrated 15 years, she celebrated 25

And the crowd went wild for #mydurian advocate Kit Chan. The queen of Mandopop held her anniversary concert at her favourite performing venue just last month, and her fans couldn't get enough.


2. This is hands down our favourite curtain call of the year, period

Some moments are priceless, but none can beat the first-times, like when you see your son perform in a big venue for the first time, then get the chance to sneak a surprise on him on stage.

Here's Indonesian dancemaker Rianto's mother giving him a huge hug and kiss, full of pride during the curtain call of Akram Khan's Until the Lions at da:ns festival in October. Our hearts swelled.

Who is Rianto, you ask? Read about him here

Yvonne Benson

1. Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to work we go… with our new durian chief, Yvonne Tham

There was a passing of the mantle in August this year, and we had a new CEO, who's to lead us into our next stage. Here's a candid photo of her and our former chief, Benson.

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