Your Guide to the NUS Arts Festival 2016

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Ars sine scientia nihil est – art without science is nothing. The NUS Arts Festival 2016 knows this logic well.

That is why the National University of Singapore Centre for the Arts (NUSCFA) has partnered with the University’s Centre for Quantum Technologies to organise the NUS Arts Festival, centred on exploring science and technology through the arts.

Set to run from the 11th to 26th of March at various locations around NUS, the festival features free and ticketed acts from both diverse student arts groups and top local and international artistes, such as NUS Chinese Dance, NUS Symphony Orchestra and Selena Tan.

We bring you the essential guide to all the films, talks and exhibitions happening on campus this March.


For Dance Aficionados

Space. Time. Mind

space. time. mind
Photo: NUS Centre for the Arts

If you live and breathe dance or simply admire the fluid, synchronised ways in which dancers move their bodies, don’t miss out on the opening show «·时间·心灵» space. time. mind. Seeking to push the boundaries of traditional Chinese Dance, NUS Chinese Dance has joined forces with internationally renowned Beijing Dance Academy Youth Dance Company to present bold pieces inspired by nature and human connections amid a technologically-driven society. 

— Friday 11th March, 8pm at UCC Hall. Tickets at $29, $25, and $22.


Photo: NUS Centre for the Arts

If Chinese Dance is not your cup of tea, how about Sambhavna by the NUS Indian Dance? Translated into English as “Probability”, Sambhavna features original choreography from Singapore Cultural Medallion recipient Santha Bhaskar and works with the processes of mind and movement to explore the quantum nature of reality through the language of classical Indian dance form, Bharatanatyam.

— Friday and Saturday 18 & 19 March, 8pm at UCC Dance Studio. Free with Registration.

First Things First

Besides NUS student dance groups, NUS Arts Festival 2016 also showcases international professional artistes. Australian performer Joseph Simons is set to perform First Things First, a one man show of masterful dance and hilarious physical theatre. Catch this light-hearted act in which Simons explores first encounters and the art of ‘getting used to it’, with his signature wit, intricate choreography and amazing musicality.

— Friday 18 March 8pm, Saturday 19 March, 3pm & 8pm at UCC Theatre. Tickets at $29.

For Music Lovers 

YSTCM Percussion Ensemble

Emmanuel Séjourné
Photo: NUS Centre for the Arts

Ever wanted to catch a performance at our very own Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YSTCM) but never had the chance? This NUS Arts Festival, the YSTCM Percussion Ensemble explores the exotic world of solo percussion with celebrated French percussionist, pianist and composer Emmanuel Séjourné. Acknowledged as one of the world’s best vibraphone player, Séjourné headlines a line-up of six different soloists on marimba, vibraphone, timpani, snare drum, drum set and more.

— Thursday 10 March, 8pm at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Conservatory Concert Hall. Tickets at $20.

First Sparks: 30 Years of Arts on Campus

First Sparks - Pam Oei
Photo: NUS Centre for the Arts

If the names Pam Oei and Selena Tan caught your attention, then you cannot miss First Sparks: 30 Years of Arts on Campus. Part of the ExxonMobil Campus Concerts series and NUS Arts Festival 2016, First Sparks brings back top Singaporean talents who all had once performed for Singapore’s longest running community arts outreach programme. Expect big names the likes of Jack & Rai, Pam Oei & Ugly in the Morning, Selena Tan and ShiLi & Adi, among many others.

— Sunday 13 March, 8pm at UCC Theatre.Tickets at $27.

Digital Dondang Sayang

Digital Dondang Sayang
Photo: NUS Centre for the Arts

Digital Dondang Sayang features electronic musician Benjamin Ang from the electronic pop duo Cosmic Armchair as he embarks on a journey to discover his musical roots through his Peranakan great-grandfather Ang Kay Teong’s collection of self-composed pantun. Witness the formation of a cosmic link between these poet-musicians, born three generations apart, right within the heritage site of the NUS Baba House!

— Friday and Saturday 18 & 19 Mar, 8pm at NUS Baba House. Tickets are going at $12.

For Theatre Geeks

Now Then Again

now then again
Photo: NUS Centre for the Arts

Catch YouTube star Munah Bagharib from MunahHirziOfficial, as she and her co-star, Luke Kwek from Our Company, alongside students and alumni of the NUS theatre community, stage the award-winning romantic comedy, Now Then Again by Penny Penniston. Inspired by a quantum hypothesis that the future and the past happen simultaneously, two physicists are drawn into a conundrum – should they follow their individual destinies or take a quantum leap of faith to chase the other? Directed by Tan Shou Chen, the play is one of the top picks in the NUS Arts Festival 2016 line-up.

— Friday 11 March, 8pm, Saturday 12 Mar 3pm & 8pm at UCC Theatre. Tickets are going at $29 & $25.


Photo: NUS Centre for the Arts

One of the key highlights in NUS Arts Festival 2016, Purge by Brian Lobel showcases a brutal game of friendship maintenance: Lobel gave strangers around the world one minute to decide which of his 1300 Facebook friends to keep or delete. Through Lobel’s experiences, Purge explores how we emotionally and socially interact with digital and social media.

— Thursday and Friday 24 & 25 March, 8pm at Yale-NUS Performing Hall. Tickets at $25.

For Film Buffs

nuSTUDIOS 15.15

nuSTUDIOS 15.15
Photo: NUS Centre for the Arts

Don’t miss nuSTUDIOS Film Productions’ two-day film event, nuSTUDIOS 15.15, a collection of 15 films made by nuSTUDIOS members, past and present to commemorate their 15th anniversary. Among the films presented will be a documentary framing the faces of those who played an important part in its history. Another worthy free event.

— Friday and Saturday 11 & 12 March, 8pm, Matinee on 12 March, 3pm at UCC Dance Studio. Free with Registration.

For the Free Event Goers

If you are like me, a #poorstudent, you would be glad to know that this NUS Arts Festival 2016 is chock full of free shows as well. Besides Sambhavna and nuSTUDIOS 15.15, don’t miss out on free music acts such as After Six, Kelvin ‘Smokey’ Ng And His Band, Serena and Dinie: The Cajon and Accordion Duo, Flame of the Forest and many others.

A key free event is the *SCAPE Invasion Tour at NUS, a showcase of local bands The Good Life Project and Cadence, coupled with a massive after-party with free entry at Refuge, Bar & Club. NUS students who flash their Matriculation Card will be entitled to $5 house pours till midnight – say what?! (Details of Individual Acts on

So if you are tired of mugging in the library and need a break after all the midterms, go check out the NUS Arts Festival 2016!


Interested in attending or have already attended performances under the NUS Arts Festival 2016? Share your experience with The Ridge by leaving a comment below on our Facebook Page!