Cover Three Sisters by Nine Years Theatre and SITI Company (Image: Nine Years Theatre and The Pond Photography)

While further restrictions may somewhat dim the lights on the annual performing arts festival, our support for the arts—and the artists who are dedicated to putting out great work—should never wane. Here’s how you can still enjoy the festival digitally

Just two days after the Singapore International Festival of Arts (Sifa) opened on May 14, Singapore introduced further restrictions under Phase 2 heightened alert to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Sifa swiftly made adjustments to its existing safe management measures by capping capacity at 100 audience members for selected live shows (with a corresponding refund exercise), along with a reduced capacity for the Oldham Theatre, where its Singular Screens programme is being held.

The festival’s opening weekend saw the opening of five live productions: festival commission The Commission and a tribute concert to homegrown jazz icon Louis Soliano with A Song For Louis, as well as Cosmogony, En Route and Tactility Studies: Hold To Reset.

Related: Singapore International Festival of Arts 2021: A 'Phygital' Festival Reimagined for the Future

Since then, some shows had to be cancelled, including upcoming performances this week. But all is not lost as audiences can still look forward to enjoying Sifa digitally throughout the festival period until May 30. SIFA On Demand will take place from June 5 to 12 on Sistic Live. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Some shows will go on

There will be reduced capacity for the following festival commissions: Three Sisters, The Year of No Return, Oiwa – The Ghost of Yotsuya, and A Dream Under the Southern Bough: Existence.

In addition, and in line with the Ministry of Health guidelines, patrons will need to undergo an on-site pre-event testing (PET), which is quick and painless with results within 30 minutes. Patrons who have been vaccinated at least 14 days prior are exempt from PET.

Meanwhile, the audience capacity of Alone Together will be reduced to 50. Ticketing agent Sistic will be in touch with those affected.

Other live programmes such as Demon States, Gardens Speak and Neveleven will still keep to their original small audience numbers.

2. Some shows are cancelled

The live performances of The Rhythm of Us, the much-anticipated collaboration between the Singapore Dance Theatre and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, have been cancelled and full refunds will be issued. Sifa and the artists are in discussions for a VOD option, with an announcement to be made shortly.

This is on top of the other cancelled live performance announced last week: two performances for The Commission, Be Comforted Now: Bach Cantatas and A Thousand Ways Part III: An Assembly, as well as Before Life and After, Echoes of Fire and Water and Nature of Daylight, which are all part of the Compassion: Chamber Music Series.

Meanwhile, Healing Rhapsody will also no longer be performed live but will be presented online on Sifa On Demand.

3. More shows will be available online

The Sifa 2021 line-up also includes real-time virtual productions, which are still ongoing and will not be affected by the latest advisories, such as The Journey, As Far As Isolation Goes, To Gathering: Laying the Table Bare, From Mee To You, and the Impossible Conversation series.

Now, with the reduced capacity and cancellations of the live performance, Sifa will be presenting the following programmes: Be Comforted Now: Bach Cantatas, Before Life and After, Echoes of Fire and Water, Healing Rhapsody, and Ghosts of Yesteryear online via SIFA On Demand.

All festival commissions (except The Rhythm of Us, which is still pending): The Commission, Three Sisters, The Year of No Return, Oiwa – The Ghost of Yotsuya, A Dream Under the Southern Bough: Existence, and _T0701 _, along with selected performances from Sifa v2.020, as well as selected films from the Singular Screens line-up will also be available on Sifa On Demand from June 5 to 12 on Sistic Live.

Related: Singapore International Festival of Arts 2021: Making Music with Jazz Icon Louis Soliano

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