Flipside 2024

31 May – 9 Jun 2024

A playful festival of circus, comedy, physical theatre and puppetry.

Producer’s message

At Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay’s Flipside, we present artists who see and express the world through a unique lens: puppetry, circus, physical theatre, comedy. Their performances appear deceptively simple and artless at first glance, but they skilfully scaffold the audience experience—first evoking surprise and delight, before a recurring motif or theme sets in. We react to the immediate absurdity or unpredictability of the moment, then reflect on what (or why) it made us feel a certain way. 


Flipside is all about finding humour and connection in the everyday, and this year, as the festival unfolds from 31 May to 9 June 2024, we pay homage to the ordinary object. These are objects we may encounter at home or at work in our daily routines, and we do not give them much thought. Yet in the hands of artists, these objects are given an unexpected meaning or form. 


In Stars in Our Eyes: Star Show (France), tin cans, tangled wire and kitchen tiles form the obstacles in a treacherous journey of an astronaut, while in Ta Lent Show (Thailand), a cushion, slipper and wastepaper bin tell poignant stories of nature and human relationships. When these objects appear in exaggerated proportions or are found in spaces least expected, they rouse us from our daily stupor. Big Mob (Australia/UK) features larger-than-life slinkies that will pop up along the Esplanade Waterfront. Looking strangely like aircon ducts, these curious creatures are determined to have a good time with you and will corner you if you try to escape! 


Sometimes objects combined with technology can create new layers of meaning and functionality. In The Distraction (Australia), object manipulation, physical humour, live cameras and green screens collide. The juxtaposition of what we see on screen and the jarring reality is absolutely hilarious. Equally “distracted”, are the robot vacuum cleaners in Stars in Our Eyes: Love of Risk (France). Re-mobilised as restaurant waiters to a lone dinner guest, the robots do a dance that descends into chaos as the night unfolds. 


Object manipulation is also a cornerstone of circus. Whether they are juggling clubs, the Cyr wheel or aerial silks, circus artists use their apparatus as an extension of their bodies to express an idea or convey a feeling. One Two, One Two (South Korea) takes the rola bola to the next level in a story of compromise and balance between friends. In Thingamabob (UK) self-made slings and pulley systems form the backdrop of an absurd quest to find the hardest way to juggle. 


You are never truly a passive spectator at Flipside. Whether you are pouring water from a jug while suspended in the air like in Flou Papagayo (Spain) or holding onto the ropes keeping a Chinese pole upright like in Polosseum (South Korea), you can be certain that your role is absolutely essential to the show! 


Every year at Flipside, we are struck by the immense creativity, skill and sensitivity involved in making work that delivers humour, that connects us to our common humanity, that makes us want to put up our hands and volunteer to make something happen. It is often in this relaxed and open-hearted state that we as audiences are more willing to listen, consider a different point of view and see ourselves reflected in one another. 


In a stressful world where words sometimes fail and our perspectives are shaped by algorithms and intercepted by screens and technology, we invite everyone to gather at Flipside for a bit of R&R, to rediscover delight and to consider a kinder, more joyful future. 


Shireen Abdullah
Senior Producer
The Esplanade Co Ltd


About the festival

Flipside celebrates playfulness and creativity through accessible encounters with circus, puppetry, physical theatre, visual theatre and comedy. Expect performances and curated experiences presented in surprising and thought-provoking ways.

Taking place over 10 days and coinciding with the school holidays, the festival offers an exciting range of both free and ticketed programmes for families and curious adults—featuring a mix of Singapore, regional and international artists.


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