Ong Keng SenSingapore
Grants Awarded2005 | Theater | United States
For participation in a project undertaken by The Kitchen2004 | Theater | United States
For participation in a project undertaken by The Kitchen1994 | Theater | United States
to complete a program leading to the M.A. degree in performance studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, in fall 1994.1993 | Theater | United States
to begin a program leading to the M.A. degree in performance studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, NYU.
Inaugurated in 1977, the annual arts festival went on a hiatus after 2012 and returned in 2014 under the baton of Festival Director Ong Keng Sen. With the mission to artistically reinvigorate and transform the festival, Ong renamed it Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA). He initiated The O.P.E.N., a pre-festival of ideas to engage diverse audiences with the ideas, issues and themes of SIFA. Today, SIFA is the premier national performing arts festival managed by the Arts House Limited and commissioned by the National Arts Council. It aims to inspire through great international and Singapore artistic experiences in performance, theatre, dance and music.
The stage is a courtroom. The accused is “Richard”; the prosecutor, “Shakespeare.” Originally performed by playwright Hideki Noda's own theater company Yume no Yuminsha in the 1990s, Sandaime Richard is revived with a multinational cast by Asia’s leading director Ong Keng Sen. The play features a cast including kabuki actor Kazutaro Nakamura, kyogen performer Doji Shigeyama, former Takarazuka Revue member Seika Kuze, Junko Emoto of theater company Kegawazoku, an accomplished actress active in Singapore and Indonesia, and a Balinese shadow puppet master.
Grantee: Ong Keng Sen
Trojan Women is a contemporary Asian musical created from K-pop and pansori, the 400-year-old Korean genre of musical storytelling anointed as a UNESCO Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Directed by SIFA Founding Festival Director, Ong Keng Sen, in a collaboration with the National Theater Of Korea, this production took Seoul by storm at the close of 2016 and is being staged for the first time outside Korea.
From the essence of a tale said to have happened around 1200BC that intrigued Homer, Trojan Women has been reinvented. Composed by celebrated master-artist, pansori singer and National Treasure, Ms Anh Sook-sun, in collaboration with K-pop composer extraordinaire, Jung Jae-Il, Trojan Women tells the story of women in war in a showcase of gripping power and cross-cultural beauty.
In keeping with the work’s strong gender perspectives, renowned Beijing choreographer Wen Hui joins the production with her signature movement work drawing from the daily lives of women. SIFA began its life with the acclaimed Korean adaptation of another Greek classic “Oedipus”. Founding Festival Director Ong remembers this and, in his last season, invites Korean playwright Bae Sam-sik to recast Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1965 adaptation of "The Trojan Women", the Greek classic by Euripides.
In this US premiere, acclaimed Australian composer Liza Lim dissolves boundaries to create holes in the world—perforations in which we might encounter more than one existence. Two-headed birds and layers of light conjure a magical world under ACC grantee and Director Ong Keng Sen (Facing Goya; 2014) in this dramatic work inspired by Jonathan Safran Foer’s art book by the same name. Two singers take on multiple characters as the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, led by John Kennedy, weaves a descriptive soundscape full of the intricate details that attract us to fantasy.
Grantee: Ong Keng Sen