Fringe Foreword

One of the things that I value most about the arts is its potential for intimacy by bringing people together. I guess intuitively, the theme of Art & Skin was something that would explicitly explore humanity in its vulnerability and closeness. There are enough forces in life that keep us separate, guarded and distant.

My most immediate associations of skin are intimacy, contact, and affection: the hot, breathless history of passionate sensuality and sexuality. I am also mindful of the more painful side of things—not just the literal pain on the skin's surface, but also the long painful history of differentiating value based on skin colour and appearance. The long shameful history of covering up; of disguising and decorating ourselves, as if we are not already enough. The long history of aversion towards difference, instead of celebration and pride. But there is also the festive history of augmenting ourselves to make visible and tangible what is precious to us, even if otherwise invisible. Drag. Tattoos. Body modification. To celebrate our inner and fuller selves.

So here in 2017's Fringe, we have assembled a host of hearty and gritty works, thoughtfully and intelligently created for your invigoration; inviting you to listen to many stories of skin, and to take a deep look into what's beneath it all. Tearing through the barriers that are built between us; asking us what life might be like without these barriers we impose on ourselves and on each other.

Worklight Theatre's multi-award winning Labels brings us into the curiosity and fear of skin and race, as Joe Sellman-Leava shares his own experiences of mixed heritage and racism whilst living in the UK. Becca D'Bus and Madge of Honor invite us to a burlesque revue, Foreign Bodies, that celebrates difference and otherness in modern day Singapore. Ming Poon's Undressing Room takes performance intimacy to another level, as he invites an audience of one to undress with him in silence.

Another work that engages directly with the naked body is Thea Fitz-James' delicately intimate and fiercely intelligent work Naked Ladies. Along with that, we are excited to welcome back Ah Hock and Peng Yu one of Singapore's most groundbreaking contemporary dance companies, with their performance, Skin Tight, which looks for emancipation from societal constructs and prejudices through a zentai-inspired performance, where the body is completely covered and disguised.

We have many more fresh local and international performances for you, and for the first time we present a platform entitled Fresh Fringe, which presents a series of entirely new works still in development.

I would like to thank our title sponsor M1 and all our partners and supporters for their generous support for the Fringe. Thanks and congratulations to all the artists for their amazing works. We are so happy you can be a part of this.

So join us for the fringe and our online conversations about Art and Skin with the hashtag #M1SFF. Come and be touched and inspired.

Get involved.

Sean Tobin
Artistic Director
M1 Singapore Fringe Festival