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Growing audiences for the Singapore International Festival the Arts (SIFA)

Response to parliamentary question on the Singapore International of the Arts (SIFA) audienceship


Mr Terence Ho Wee San: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) what is the trend observed in the audienceship for the annual Singapore International Festival of Arts; and (b) how can the audienceship be improved.


Minister Grace Fu:

  1. Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) shifted to a more compact model in 2018 under Festival Director Gaurav Kripalani. All events happen over three consecutive weekends to generate more buzz, instead of four months in the past. The average attendance for the past two editions has been about 50,000 attendees each year. SIFA’s strength in curating and showcasing high-quality artistic works has culminated in a 17% increase in returning visitors to SIFA in 2019 as compared to the previous year based on audiences surveyed.
  2. As articulated by the National Arts Council in Our SG Arts Plan (2018-2022), growing audiences is a key priority area for the development of Singapore’s arts landscape. For SIFA, close to half (47%) of the audiences surveyed last year were first time patrons, of which 70% were Singapore residents – this is heartening and we would like to see more Singaporeans attend SIFA or an arts event. SIFA will continue to present interesting programmes and experiences that can reach people from all backgrounds to attend this national event. SIFA will also keep tickets affordable to break down barriers of entry. For example, it offered a $10 Front Row Student Special to attract the younger audiences.
  3. SIFA seeks to look at audience development holistically and explore different ways to reach audiences, such as bringing the arts out into our public spaces. It held performances in unconventional spaces such as the Armenian Church and the National Library at Bras Basah to attract new audiences.
  4. Participative arts has also been another way to engage more audiences such as SIFA 2019’s De Relaxeratte (which invited audiences to journey on a merry-go-round of hammocks as they listen to stories with headphones) and We can Dance had audiences learning dance steps, and their experiences were then filmed and projected for a larger community to enjoy.

Last updated on 26 March 2020