Nov 6, 2017

My Top 10 Family-friendly (& FREE!) Picks for November's Arts in Your Neighbourhood


One of my favourite arts festivals - Arts in Your Neighbourhood (AYN) - is back! One thing I absolutely love about AYN is it brings enriching arts experiences right to our doorstep, into everyone's neighbourhood.

Yes, arts need not be confined to theatres or concert halls. Think quirky venues when it comes to AYN performances - last year, we attended a children's play at West Coast Park and this year, we went on a musical trail around Yishun and caught a musical performance by The TENG Ensemble beside a Sheng Siong Supermarket!

Taking place twice yearly in March and November, AYN is back this month from 9 to 26 November 2017... just in time for the year end school holidays!

An initiative of National Arts Council (NAC), AYN is a platform to expose audiences to various art forms and grow their interest for the arts. And because the line-up is packed with entertaining, fun and interactive performances and activities, it a great way for everyone to experience the arts in your very own neighbourhood, whether you are catching an arts performance for the first time or a seasoned arts-goer. Simply put, there is something for everyone. Oh, have I already mentioned that all programmes are free of charge? Some may require pre-registration but they remain free to everyone.

And this November, the focus is on the neighbourhood of Jurong, with the bulk of activities happening across the west of Singapore. Besides Jurong, other activities will be happening at various locations in Singapore.

With a line-up of over 40 arts and cultural activities, ranging from dance, music and theatrical performances, to interactive visual art installations and hands-on activities, happening over three weekends, there is something for everyone and all ages... but you know I love all of my readers so I have done the homework for you and picked out the 10 most happening art events:

NOTE: The first seven are new works, six of which that have been specially commissioned for this AYN edition.

1. Catch a dance inside a giant bubble!

Interweaving dance, music and visual arts, Urban Distortions is a cross disciplinary installation-performance where dance, song and territories meet, performed by t.r.a.n.s.i.t.s.c.a.p.e., a Brussels-based dance company co-founded by French artists. For the first time in Singapore, get up close and personal with the performers as they present a contemporary dance inside giant life-sized plastic bubbles with live music accompaniment.

Urban Distortions by t.r.a.n.s.i.t.s.c.a.p.e
Date: 9 November 2017
Time: 12:15pm
Venue: Ocean Financial Centre (Covered Plaza)

Date: 10 November 2017
Time: 6pm
Venue: Woodlands Civic Centre

Date: 11 November 2017
Time: 6pm
Venue: Westgate (L1 Courtyard)

Date: 12 November 2017
Time:  6pm *Fringe Activities from 2pm to 5pm
Venue: Bedok Town Square

2. Let the kids laugh themselves silly at a Puppet Show!

Be immersed in this colourful theatrical experience with puppets accompanied by lively music! Follow the journey of a young girl Sam and her adopted cat Maxx as they encounter different creatures in an exciting series of adventures and misfortunes. Constantly getting on each other’s nerves, will Sam and Maxx finally earn each other’s trust and loyalty? Find out in this story of love, inclusivity and courage where they learn to accept each other’s differences.

Maxx The Cat by The Finger Players
Date: 11 November 2017
Time: 2pm and 5pm *Fringe Activities from 11am to 2pm
Venue: Bedok Town Square

Date: 18 November 2017
Time: 2pm and 5pm
Venue: Ang Mo Kio Central Stage

3. Enjoy a musical storytelling session with bamboo-made instruments!

Experience a musical showcase of Asian cultures through the beautiful sounds of bamboo-made instruments such as the Indonesian angklung, Chinese dizi and sheng. Featuring a repertoire of traditional folk songs by Ding Yi Music Company and an angklung-kulintang ensemble led by Alicia Joyce De Silva, go on a musical storytelling journey across Asia. Sing along to heartfelt renditions of familiar pieces such as Dayung Sampan, Chan Mali Chan and Tinikling and learn more about these beautiful bamboo-made instruments and their origins.

Audience members can also look forward to specially created visual backdrops and a hands-on interaction session with the musicians and the angklung instruments.

Play With Bamboo by Liong Kit Yeng
Date: 25 November 2017
Time: 2pm  *Fringe Activities from 3 to 6pm
Venue: Our Tampines Hub (Festive Plaza)

Date: 26 November 2017
Time: 5pm * Fringe Activities at the Festive Plaza from 3 to 6pm
Venue: Our Tampines Hub (Festive Arts Theatre, Level 2, next to lobby H)
*Entry to the theatre show on 26 Nov is FREE but ticketed. Reserve your tickets at

4. Go on a Walking Trail through Jurong!

Unravel the myths and urban legends of Jurong though a visual arts discovery trail. The trail encourages participants to see Jurong through new lenses - literally through a “viewing and recording” device (designed by artist Samantha Tio a.k.a mintio). Participants will get to experience how reality and perception are interwoven at each stop of the trail. Participants will also be invited to create and record their own narratives of the neighbourhood and add on to the Jurong story as part of an exhibition.

#seeyoursg by Shophouse & Co

Walking Trail:
Date: 25 November 2017
Time: 10am to 11am and 4pm to 5pm
Venue: Jurong Regional Library
*The 1-hour trail will start every 15 minutes. You are advised to dress in comfortable clothes and walking shoes and bring along a water bottle and an umbrella for the trail. Recommended age: 12 years old and above

To register for the trail, visit

Date: 9 - 30 November 2017
Time: 10am - 9pm
Venue: Jurong Regional Library

5. See art works related to the unspoken histories of Jurong!

Larger than Life is a public art showcase of five site-specific works, curated by art collective, Vertical Submarine. Through the activation of public spaces in the heart of Jurong, these works hope to share fond memories, characteristics and the forgotten history of the neighbourhood with the community.

Larger Than Life: The Unspoken Histories of Jurong Neighbourhood by Vertical Submarine
Date: 9 November 2017 - 28 January 2018
Venue: Canopy @ J Link (Adjacent Field)
*To register for the Larger Than Life series of talks and workshops, visit

6. Scrutinise 2 quirky text-based visual installations!

Conceived and devised by critically acclaimed writers Pooja Nansi and Daryl Qilin Yam, .txt comprises two text-based visual arts installations inspired by Jurong and its surroundings, drawing materials from existing texts, interviews and original writings. Located at Jurong East, the installations explore the interaction between language and its specific localities, bringing to attention the peculiar aspects of the Jurong neighbourhood.

.txt by Pooja Nansi & Daryl Qilin Yam
Date: 9 – 26 November 2017
Time: 10am – 10pm
Venue: Westgate (L1 Fashion High Street) and Canopy @ J Link

7. Take an Instagram-worthy shot at a street art installation!

Conceptualised by street artist Slacsatu, this batik-inspired street art installation explores the beautiful memories, childhood dreams, colourful experiences and cultural roots of Jurong that have helped to shape the community. This artwork is dedicated to the Jurong community, a place that has impacted Slacsatu's practice, in hope that such stories will be passed on from generation to generation.

The Story-teller by Slacsatu
Date: 9 November - 31 December 2017
Venue: Taman Jurong Community Club (Wall next to Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre)

8. Get ready for a fiery acrobatic performance!

Inspired by the transformation of Jurong from a swampland to the industrialised engine of modern Singapore that it is known for, BOOM! promises to keep audiences enthralled with a dazzling fire performance. This flaming extravaganza will combine acrobatics and fire-dancing to tell the story of Jurong’s industrial boom.

BOOM! by Starlight Alchemy
Date: 11 November 2017
Time: 8pm
Venue: Boon Lay Shopping Centre

Date: 19 November 2017
Time: 8pm
Venue: Ang Mo Kio Central Stage

9. Immerse in a musical which re-invents classic children’s nursery rhymes!

Bringing together short stories written by Mandopop lyricist, Xiaohan, with music arrangements by local leading musician, Julian Wong, this mini-musical will enchant you with captivating stories and memorable tunes such as The Little White Boat, The More We Get Together and many others. Look forward to this fun and engaging re-invention of classic children’s nursery rhymes! *Programme is in Mandarin.

The Nursery Rhymes Project: Imagine Our Songs by The Theatre Practice
Date: 12 November 2017
Time: 5pm
Venue: Chong Pang Amphitheatre

Date: 18 November 2017
Time: 2pm
Venue: Bedok Town Square

Date: 19 November 2017
Time: 6pm *Fringe Activities from 2pm to 5pm
Venue: Toa Payoh HDB Hub Atrium

10. Grab your family & friends for a Day Out of FUN in Jurong!

Mark this date in your calendar: 11 November 2017.

On this Family & Friends Day Out in Jurong, you can experience the joys of Jurong’s countless attractions. Just follow this specially curated itinerary:


Start your day with a warm bowl of congee for breakfast at Yuhua Market and Hawker Centre.

For tons of active fun, make your way to the unique playground at Block 221A Jurong East Street 21 – both kids and parents can climb the rock structures and bounce on the trampolines to your heart’s content.

Make your way to the field next to Canopy @ J Link and have fun creating insta-worthy moments at Larger Than Life: The Unspoken Histories of Jurong Neighbourhood, developed by the Public Art Trust. This is a collection of six artists’ works curated by visual arts collective, Vertical Submarine. Each of the artworks on display explores a particular theme, characteristic or forgotten history related to the heritage and stories of Jurong.

You can also learn more about Jurong’s fascinating history and heritage by checking out the many shelters along J-Link!


For lunch, fluffy prata along Jurong East Street 32 will be a great option!

Make your way to JEM for some educational fun at the rooftop playground, Elements @ Play, developed by Singapore Science Centre. Filled with interactive and science-inspired contraptions, you can learn all about the wonders of light, sound, and kinetic energy.

After the physical exertion of the last few hours, it’s time to embark on an afternoon of visual treats!

Head down to the Westgate Atrium to see .txt, a series of text-based visual arts installations inspired by Jurong. Conceived by critically acclaimed writers Pooja Nansi and Daryl Yam, the installations are inspired by materials from existing texts, interviews conducted and original poems. They explore the interaction between language and its specific localities, bringing to attention the unknown stories and cultures of Singapore.


Grab an early dinner among the many eateries at Westgate.

Head down to the courtyard, and catch a visually stunning performance piece called Urban Distortions by foreign artists t.r.a.n.s.i.t.s.c.a.p.e. (6pm – 6:45pm). Interweaving dance, music and visual arts, Urban Distortions is a cross-disciplinary installation-performance to give a poetic vision of the concept of territory. Get up close and personal with the performers as they present a contemporary dance inside giant life-size plastic bubbles, with live music accompaniment.

Travel to Boon Lay Shopping Centre, which retains its old school charm. Here you can watch dance performance Legacy by Azpirasi (7pm – 7:45pm). Celebrating the rich cultures of Singapore, Azpirasi presents a selection of traditional Malay dances inspired by everyday kampung activities such as childhood games, harvesting crops, courtship, and even weddings. Be enthralled by intricate choreography and beautiful music that celebrates harmony, love and the kampung spirit.

Stick around in Boon Lay Shopping Centre for fiery performance BOOM! by Starlight Alchemy (8pm – 8:25pm). Inspired by the transformation of Jurong from a swampland to the industrial engine of modern Singapore, BOOM! promises to keep audiences captivated with flaming visuals and luminous dancing lights. Originally presented at the Singapore Night Festival 2015, this fire extravaganza will combine acrobatics and fire-breathing to tell the story of Jurong’s industrial boom.

Oh, if you are posting your experience on social media, don’t forget to share your art appreciation with the hashtag #ArtsInYourNeighbourhood!

Useful Details

Arts in Your Neighbourhood 2017
Dates: 9 - 26 Nov 2017

For full programme listings and to download programme brochure, visit:

And should you enjoy the various programmes, do check out the various arts groups’ pages for other performances outside of AYN too!

Better yet, follow Arts For All's Facebook page at and instagram account (@artsforallsg) to stay updated on the latest happenings of upcoming events and shows!

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