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The National Museum of Singapore's facade will be decked with a light installation of LED stick-men by France's Groupe LAPS (above).

UK company Acrojou's The Wheel House (above) is a tender, post-apocalyptic love story told mostly within the tight confines of a small, circular, rolling house.

Invasion (above) staged by Close-Act from the Netherlands will feature life-sized warriors and monsters mingling with the audience.

Night Festival celebrates spirit of invention

Dreamers, inventors and crackpot scientists take centrestage at Singapore's nocturnal festival.
29/07/2016 - 05:50

A TIME machine, a wheeling house and a tricycle-cum-film projector are some of the charmingly cuckoo contraptions you'll get to see at the Singapore Night Festival when it returns next month for its ninth edition under the theme of Inventions and Innovations.

Its top attraction is House of Curiosities by acclaimed Singapore theatre company CAKE Theatrical Productions. The carnival-like event promises something for everyone - from funhouse mirrors, to a theatrical play about the adventures of mad Professor Chambers (played by Julius Foo) and his time machine, to a fashion show in which members of the audience get to design the clothes.

Natalie Hennedige, the award-winning artistic director of CAKE, says: "House of Curiosities belongs to the steam punk genre, which is all about the inventions and creativity inspired by the Industrial Revolution. The central story is that of Professor Chambers, a mad inventor who thinks he can animate any lifeless object using a mechanical heart."

If CAKE's track record is anything to go by, House of Curiosities will likely be a fun, whimsical and intelligent affair to please the adults as much as the kids. As expected, the Night Festival will also feature several foreign acts. Chief among them is the UK company Acroujou. It will present The Wheel House, a tender, post-apocalyptic love story between a man and a woman, told mostly within the tight confines of a small, circular, rolling house filled with books, clothes, a clock and other objects.

Also anticipated is Close-Act, a street theatre company from the Netherlands which will combine dance, music, theatre and circus on the front lawn of the National Museum of Singapore. It will stage Invasion, a mythical tale involving monsters and warriors from a bygone era. As actors and large puppet monsters weave through the crowds, members of the audience become unwitting participants in the good-versus-evil story.

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Festival director Angelita Teo says: "The Singapore Night Festival is one of the most anticipated outdoor nocturnal events in the world. This is an exciting marquee year as we work towards the 10th anniversary of the festival next year."

Ms Teo, who is also director of National Museum of Singapore, has planned for the museum's facade to be decked with a light installation by France's Groupe LAPS. The work titled Keyframes comprises 100 LED-lit stick men who animate different micro-stories about life in the city.

This light installation is one of 14 that dot the festival grounds that stretches across the Bras Basah-Bugis precinct.

Still, if none of the performances or light installations excite you, you can always just sit and wind down at the Festival Village located in the Singapore Management University Campus Green and University Square. The Festival Village offers artisanal food and drinks, live music from emerging bands, and local crafts.

Partying will also take place at the Bloc Party along Armenian Street, in front of Peranakan Museum, the Substation, Timbre@Substation and True Blue Restaurant. There will be music and dancing, as well as a Harley Davidson motorcycle convoy and Peranakan variety show.

  • Singapore Night Festival 2016 takes place on Aug 19 - 20 and Aug 26 - 27, from 7.30pm to 2am, at the Bras Basah-Bugis Precinct. Most events are free. For more information, go to