June 19, 2009 / 4:00 AM / 10 years ago

Singapore to host own version of "Night at the Museum"

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Do museum exhibits really come to life at night?

Art-lovers and film buffs alike will get to compare real life with the reel comedy “Night at the Museum” when three Singapore museums keep their doors open into the small hours of the morning as part of the city-state’s upcoming Night Festival in July.

Into its second year, the weekend-long event aims to bring life and vibrancy into nocturnal Singapore and bring the arts closer to the masses in a more interactive and intimate manner.

“Singaporeans love to hang out at night. It makes sense as it’s much cooler and more relaxed,” explained Lee Chor Lin, director of the National Museum of Singapore.

This year’s event in the tropical Southeast Asian country has been scaled down from the inaugural festival last year which spanned two weekends, a casualty of the global downturn.

With half the budget compared to its predecessor, organizers decided to focus on promoting local acts.

Opening the festival is Bersama Hijau, featuring more than 80 dancers and performers in a multicultural showcase mixing different genres of dance, music and theater.

Dancers twirling four-meter-long silk ribbons to Japanese taiko drum music will mix with the crowd, who will also be entertained by fire-twirlers and performers of Kathakali, a classical form of Indian dance theater.

“I wish to engage Singaporeans to be more spontaneous... Hopefully we will get them dancing in this recession and in this fear of all these diseases,” said Aaron Khek, Bersama Hijaus choreographer, referring to the H1N1 flu.

Five public art installations, three specially commissioned for the festival, will include local art and design network FARMs The Tree, an interpretation of a banyan tree made of steel, timber and LED light tubes.

The lighting of the installation will glow and dim in reaction to the surrounding environment’s noise levels, which are picked up by microphones hanging in the trees as a simulation of the banyan’s aerial roots.

With free admission to the festivals, organizers are targeting a turnout of about 50,000 visitors in a city-state eager to shed its image as a cultural wasteland.

“It does attract Singaporeans who may not want to stay the whole day in the air-conditioned malls and it’s on the weekend, so you also have the excuse to stay up late,” said Lee.

The Night Festival, which will also include live music performances and outdoor film screenings, will be held from July 10 to 11.

Editing by Miral Fahmy

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