Category: Branded Content

Forbidden City: A Home-grown Hit Musical by Cultural Medallion Recipient Dick Lee

Originally staged as part of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay’s Opening Festival in October 2002, Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress went on to be one of the most successful made-in-Singapore musicals produced with over 100,000 tickets sold. Thanks to overwhelming demand, Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) and Esplanade are delighted to jointly present Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress in August 2017 at the Esplanade Theatre.

It has all the right ingredients of a true epic tale—a young concubine in love, a dying Emperor, a heartless traitor, an idealistic artist and an empire that stands to fall. Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress sets a new standard for Singapore musical theatre, with stylised sets and stunning costume design. Told through the eyes of Kate Carl who is commissioned to paint the Empress’ portrait, the musical recounts Cixi’s trials and tribulations from an ingenious concubine to a ruthless ruler to unmask the woman behind the painted face.

Said Gaurav Kripalani, Artistic Director for SRT, “We are very proud of this musical. In many ways it defines what SRT is and what Singapore is becoming – a place where the best artistic talent from Singapore and abroad congregate, collaborate and create. Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress is a unique Asian story, based on historical events, then crafted and presented for an international audience. It is emphatically stamped with a ‘Made in Singapore’ label.”

Said Benson Puah, Chief Executive Officer, The Esplanade Co Ltd, “Fifteen years since Esplanade commissioned Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress for our Opening Festival, we are delighted to bring this iconic musical back for audiences old and new to enjoy. Our collaboration with SRT to bring some of the most memorable theatre in the world to Singapore audiences is key to our role of making it possible for local arts groups to take greater risks in artistic choices and strengthen their producing capabilities. We are pleased to continue working closely with them and hope many will come to watch this musical which features some of Singapore and musical theatre’s best.”

The creative team behind the musical needs little introduction. Dick Lee, the internationally renowned songwriter and composer penned the music with lyrics by Olivier Award winner Stephen Clark. The Director, Steven Dexter, has worked with SRT on numerous musicals in the past including A Twist of Fate, Friend Rice Paradise and most recently The LKY Musical.

 

The story of the infamous Empress Dowager is helmed by a cast of international and Singapore stars. Home-grown singing sensation Kit Chan returns as the heroic Empress and is supported by a stellar cast including Sebastian Tan, Cheryl Tan and Life! Theatre Award winner Benjamin Chow. West End sensation Earl Carpenter (Les Miserables) and Broadway star Steffanie Leigh (Mary Poppins) also star in the musical.

Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress is made possible with the generous support of Production Partner – Knife brand, Production Supporters – Bowen Enterprises Pte Ltd and On Cheong Jewellery, as well as SRT Corporate Partners – Ascendas Singbridge and KOP Properties and Official Car – Audi.

Tickets for Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress are available from Esplanade’s Box Office at Mezzanine Level (Tel: +65 6828 8389), the SISTIC Hotline (Tel: +65 6348 5555) and all SISITIC outlets from 26 January 2017. More information on the musical may also be found at http://www.esplanade.com/forbiddencity.

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AXN Announces Open Auditions for Asia’s Got Talent

Singapore, it’s time to get your act together!  AXN, Asia’s number one general entertainment channel, announced today that the highly anticipated open auditions for Asia’s Got Talent Season 2 will be held at the iconic Marina Bay Sands on Sunday, May 14, 2017.

Doors will open from 10:30am as thousands of aspiring hopefuls will descend on the Sands Theatre for their chance to perform in front of AXN’s producers and a shot at a USD100,000 cash prize.

“Asia’s Got Talent is the world’s biggest talent competition that unites the region’s diverse cultures in a vibrant celebration of the performing arts,” said Virginia Lim, Senior Vice President and the Head of Content, Production and Marketing, Sony Pictures Television Networks, Asia. “This season, we invite all Singaporeans of any age and with any talent to show our producers what they can do. We look forward to joining with Marina Bay Sands to discover the next generation of Singaporean superstars on AXN.”

Due to the expected turn out and exceptionally high demand for an audition slot, aspiring stars are encouraged to pre-apply online (www.AXN-Asia.com/AsiasGotTalent) to expedite the registration process on the day.

If an act is successful during the open auditions, they may then be selected to perform at the judges’ auditions later in the year. The judges’ auditions comprise the first five episodes of the series and precede the semi-finals and the grand finale episode where the winner of Asia’s Got Talent will be crowned, winning USD100,000 in cash.

More details including Asia’s Got Talent open audition dates and cities, frequently asked questions (FAQs) and the terms and conditions of participation are available at www.AXN-Asia.com/AsiasGotTalent.

Asia’s Got Talent is slated to premiere in the second half of 2017, first and exclusively on AXN.

 

Join the conversation and watch the AXN crew report live throughout the day from Marina Bay Sands and the open auditions via AXN’s Facebook page @AXNAsia

@AsiasGotTalent / #AXNAsia / #AsiasGotTalent / #AsiasGotTalentAudition

CROSSINGS – A New Play presented by young & W!LD

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-11-03-43-amThe new young & W!LD cohort will be staging its first public performance in February this year. The world premiere of Crossings, a brand-new double-bill of original plays about the choices that make or break our lives, will be staged for seven performances only at Centre 42’s Black Box from 15 to 19 February 2017.

Bold, dark and funny, the two plays in Crossings follow characters who have arrived at a critical crossroads in their lives. The choices they make will change their journeys forever: setting them on the road to self-discovery – or self-destruction.

The eight members of young & W!LD, from the ages of 19 to 24, came up with the stories, characters and themes that will feature in Crossings via improvisations and devising workshops. With their help, Rodney Oliveiro, their programme co-director, put together the final scripts of both plays.

“Just like these troubled characters, we all have to live with the decisions we make and their consequences,” explains Oliveiro. “I chose the main title of Crossings because it speaks to me of human wills and desires and ambitions – how we always bravely chug along, how we’re always busy with a new endeavour, even as we occasionally miss the subtle signs pointing towards our doom.”

The current cohort of young & W!LD embarked on their 18-month training programme in February last year. Since then, they have gained valuable experience in devising and performing their own original work. Following months of intensive workshops, they presented When S#!T Hits The Fam, an experimental piece that explored the trials and tribulations of family life, in May 2016.

“Over the past year, I’ve been most impressed by their openness, their willingness to try new things and their support for one another,” says Serena Ho, co-director of young & W!LD and Crossings. “I hope they will trust their voices and never stop surprising themselves.”

“It’s wonderful to be a part of young & W!LD,” adds Jasmine Blundell, 24. “There’s never a dull day because everyone brings their own brand of energy and ideas, and the perspectives are always so varied.”

The young & W!LD programme reflects W!LD RICE’s commitment to developing and nurturing the next generation of Singapore’s theatre-makers.

It’s been so rewarding to watch these young theatre-makers grow in confidence and ambition over the past few months,” says Ivan Heng, Artistic Director of W!LD RICE. “To see them challenging themselves and tackling difficult questions with Crossings reminds us of the power of theatre to educate, engage and empower our youth.”

Crossings runs from 15 to 19 February 2017 at Centre 42’s Black Box (42 Waterloo Street, S187951).

Tickets go on sale from 11 January 2017 on Peatix.

3 Ways Telecommuting Leads to Happier Employees

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3 Ways Telecommuting Leads to Happier Employees

If you’ve ever struggled through a long commute or had to manage a last minute workplace crisis due to an absent employee, you probably have thought about the benefits of working at home. You’re not alone, says The Washington Post, since there are approximately 139 million people who commute every day who may have shared the same idea. Technological advances are making it easier than ever to remotely connect to your office and work from home. One solution that many businesses are exploring is telecommuting via video conferencing, and often in groups. Studies have been conducted that prove the effectiveness of reducing commutes resulting in higher worker productivity and morale, lowering travel costs and employee absenteeism and even allowing employees to be more engaged citizens. Exploring telecommuting can also save your business money by reducing maintenance costs and aid in the hiring process.

  1. Higher Productivity with Fewer Distractions

During a typical workday, there are any number of distractions that can derail a productive employee. No matter how tight a ship you run, there is always ways that time can be wasted, intentionally or otherwise. Telecommuting using a corporate video communications service like BlueJeans can increase the productivity of your employees. Busywork and distractions such as idle chit-chat with colleagues, checking personal email and social media sites or a few stolen extra minutes at lunch all can be eliminated with telecommuting and relocating your workplace into the virtual meeting room. Attending meetings or working on project management through video conferencing from home allows employees to have contact with coworkers while still maintaining the autonomy of working from home. Time wasting diversions are lessened because the worker can complete personal tasks at home while still putting in the time at work. This inevitably results in higher job satisfaction and lowered work-related stress. Happier and more gratified employees can lead to lower turnover rates and better overall morale, in or out of the office. The beauty of today’s video conferencing system, though, is that it’s possible to unite all your telecommuters into one room. Whether you’re offering a general information session, or it’s a smaller team meeting, the ability to bring more than just one or two remote workers into a meeting is possible.

  1. Decreasing Stress Levels

Commuting is stressful, no one will argue with that. Whether driving or taking public transportation, there are potential risks and pitfalls for commutes. Weather conditions can significantly affect commutes by causing traffic delays and rail closures. Driving in unsafe conditions or tackling delays on public transportation to make it to the office can be a major cause of distress and anxiety. Telecommuting can alleviate the pressure of the daily commute and can help employees use their time more effectively. For example, video conferencing can be a vital aid to working parents, those with chronic health conditions and to connect remotely with other offices. Additionally, video conferencing can replace the anxiety caused by work-related long distance traveling with the added benefit of saving on travel expenditures. Given that stress is one of the most counterproductive forces to innovation and creative thinking, taking reasonable measure to combat it only makes sense. Instead of expecting your employees to make it in during a snow storm of for an important meeting, ditch the meeting altogether and have them tune in via video as a group.

  1. Benefit Your Business, Benefit Society

Can telecommuting through video conferencing and other technology lead to a better world? Reducing commutes mean that people can become more involved in society through higher voter engagement, have a greater chance of escaping poverty, and even raise more emotionally stable children. While not all businesses can cut out their employees’ commutes entirely, offering the option of part-time or occasional telecommuting can be a step in the right direction. There are benefits for your company as well. For employers who offer compensation for travel or commuting expenses, it can be a simple way to cut costs. Human resource managers can connect to a whole new market of employees all over the world and tap into the potential of a diversified workforce. Candidates looking to relocate can be interviewed with ease over video conference, saving your company time and money in the hiring process. In reducing the number of employees in the office, businesses can also reduce the costs incurred by having a larger physical space, such as square footage, furniture, energy bills, and other costs, according to Entrepreneur. In addition to saving your business money, telecommuting also cuts down on fuel costs and emissions from vehicles. If you want to sell this point, you can offer large-scale video conference meetings as a so-called green initiative also makes your company ethics look good to both employees and also clients.

It’s easy to see how telecommuting through video conferencing can improve your business. Your employees can connect remotely via smartphones and other Internet-enabled devices, making video conferencing a simple solution to many workplace dilemmas. Offering telecommuting options to your workers gives you an advantage in the job market and makes you more appealing both to your current employees and to future hires.