NUS Arts Festival 2017: Brave New Worlds

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If you’ve been attentive to the flyers, brochures and posters around school, you would have noticed that the yearly NUS Arts Festival is just around the corner. Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with the festival’s director, Mary Loh.

NUS Arts Festival 2017 - Portrait

I asked what her inspiration was behind naming this year’s festival and theme – ‘BRAVE NEW WORLDS’. She notes that the title, “was inspired by Aldous Huxley’s ‘A Brave New World’, because we face an ever-changing world”. She mentioned that “the dystopias which he imagined then which would happen had somewhat started to be a reality”.

NUS Arts Festival 2017 therefore calls everyone to express, through various artistic mediums, how they would live and thrive in a world of flux.

She commented that “many people try to run away and escape from this new world either by drowning it out or merely ignoring it. But the arts has a way of bringing a vivid, intense consciousness of the world to the self in such a way that cannot be ignored and cannot help but deal with it.”

If you have been to University Town, you would have noticed the pianos that have been placed around the Town Plaza level 2. It is part of the Arts Festival! Mary says that she “did not have high expectations at first” when she and her team decided to place them there but they were pleasantly surprised when they kept hearing it played day after day. Having engaged a wider audience, Mary mentions that this festival aims “to show that anyone can be involved, you do not have to be a professionally trained pianist, or artist” for that matter. NUS Arts Festival 2017 calls for artists of all ages and backgrounds to participate.

We discussed some highlights of the festival at length and here are some of our picks:

Remember When... (photo A) - NUS Dance Ensemble (photo credit - Fang Yuan)

The opening show, aptly titled, ‘Remember When’, is a combination of students from diverse backgrounds, the NUS Dance Ensemble, the Department of Geography, and students from the School of Design and Environment.

It poses questions on identity and who we have become in this day and age: where do our roots lie when everything seems to be in a constant state of change? Catch them on the 17th of March, Friday at UCC Hall!

Other highlights include a fascinating new feature where science comes alive through music. Be the first in Southeast Asia to catch The Quantum Music Project, a beautiful fusion of the classical and the modern, where scientists tinker with typical piano sounds to produce a whole new world of music. It’s a brave new world for them indeed, as they attempt their experiments live on stage.

Accompanying this will be the panel discussion where audience members interested in the science of this performance can find out more. Dr Andrew Garner a research fellow from Centre for Quantum Technologies, NUS would be hosting it. Details can be found here.

The Quantum Music Project (photo courtesy of LP Duo)


The Golden Record (photo A) - NUS Stage (royalty free image)

Theatre makes an appearance in the show line-up as well, so come and watch NUS Stage deliver a performance and message to the future people.

The Golden Record, directed by award-winning theatre director Edith Podesta, is an exciting journey to the future!

The Theatre forum, NEXT, allows current Theatre students to network with directors, discussing future projects and getting some inspiration for them.








2062 might interest some who would like to see storytelling, live video, animation, a huge dash of creativity and much hard work put together with panache. Karla Kracht and Andrés Beladiez come together to bring us into their miniature, delicate and beautiful world. They have even kindly opened a workshop on the 25th of March for those interested.

2062 - Photo A (photo credit - Gerardo Sanz)

There are so many features in this year’s line-up that I could go on forever, but here’s a final closing one. Ever seen the Hakka? Or heard the buzz from the Gamelan or Angklung folk bands who mesmerise you so deeply with their vocal resonance? Here’s one more to catch your eye (and ears). Vibrational brings together the modern and the traditional, akin to the past but set in the present, together as one, we discover who we are now and who we want to be in the future. It is a ‘A mammoth ensemble’, as they say, of guitars and synthesizers all in one space. Prepared to be enthralled and get your tickets now!
Vibrational (photo C) - The Observatory (photo credit The Idealiste)
Other notable highlights of the festival include: Sambhavna2.0 by NUS Indian Dance, Point and Shoot:Finale by nuSTUDIOS,  fuse(d) by NUS Synergy, ARTS OUT LOUD!, as well as features by NUS Symphony Orchestra, Choir, and Jazz Band.

Come and experience the festival for yourself. Check out the Arts Festival website here for more information.

(Picture Credits: NUS Arts Festival 2017 Team and respective photographers)

NUS Arts Festival has kindly teamed up with The Ridge to give away a pair of passes to 2062 . All you have to do is to like the The Ridge and NUS Arts Festival on Facebook and of course, like this post as well. We’ll keep you posted!