Family-friendly Festivals At Esplanade You Don't Want To Miss Before 2020 Ends

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We bring you the deets on the upcoming festivals and things to do with your kids at Esplanade in Sep, Oct and Nov 2020! Stay tuned for Moonfest Online, Octoburst! Online and Kalaa Utsavam in Sep, Oct and Nov respectively! 

Located in Downtown Core, the quintessential building with its famed spiky twin domes cannot be missed and what’s even more thoroughly worth experiencing about Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay is its series of family-friendly festivals scattered throughout the year. 

Traveling may be out of the question for now but thankfully, we still have the festivals at Esplanade that we can enjoy with our family while keeping safe. We can expect to enjoy the activities as part of the upcoming Moonfest Online in Sep, Octoburst! Online in Oct and Kalaa Utsavam - Indian Festival of Arts in Nov!

Kalaa Utsavam - Indian Festival of Arts

Experience the local Indian arts that has shaped Singapore’s cultural and arts scene in more ways than one. 

Stories for Solving

Date: 20 Nov – 20 Dec 2020 (Fri – Sun) | Premieres: 20 Nov 2020 – 8 pm
Available on Esplanade Offstage after the premiere

Especially for families is the Stories for Solving - Riddle Stories from India! If you are good at figuring out clues and solving puzzles, it’s time to put on your thinking cap and enjoy these classic folktales from India, which are riddles wrapped inside stories.

Narrated by master storyteller Kamini Ramachandran, Stories for Solving comprises two videos set to music by Raghavendran Rajasekaran with traditional Indian folk-art illustrations by Kumuda Krovvidi.

Watch the video for free from 20 Nov, Fri at 8 pm and find out what secrets are concealed within a coin and a stick! 

Moonfest Online

Discover tales of Chinese traditions and folklore with Moonfest Online held in celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival! 

Moonfest 2020

Catching spectacular performances in person or taking part in hands-on activities live may not be possible this year but you can still look forward to them as Moonfest – A Mid-Autumn Celebration goes online! 

From virtual walks to puppetry performances, we highlight suitable activities for families below. For a full list of activities, head over to Moonfest Online! 

1. Virtual Lantern Walk

Date: 25 Sep – 25 Oct 2020 (Fri – Sun) | Premieres: 25 Sep 2020 – 5 pm
Available for all-day viewing after the premier

Replacing the annual Lantern Walkabout is Esplanade’s first-ever Virtual Lantern Walk. Forget about huffing and puffing through the night, you can now take an effortless stroll along the Esplanade Waterfront and drink in the stunning views of the scenic nightscape without leaving the comfort of your couch! 

You’ll also get to enjoy games and performance snippets throughout the tour, which will also bring you through the various venues within Esplanade. There will also be fireworks waiting for your release at the end!

2. The Magic Paintbrush

Moonfest 2020 - The Magic Paintbrush

Photo Credit: Jack Yam

Date: 26 Sep – 4 Oct 2020 (Sat- Sun) | Premieres: 26 Sep 2020 – 3 pm 
1 hr (Available for all-day viewing after premiere)
Suitable Ages: 
5 years and up 
Mandarin with English subtitles 

Once upon a time, there was a poor orphan boy, Ma Liang, who, though loved to draw, was too poor to afford a paintbrush. Instead, he used coal and a stick. Moved by his dedication, the gods granted him a magical paintbrush that brought everything he drew to life. 

Ma Liang used the powers of the paintbrush to help the poor villagers, however, the greedy Emperor who heard of this captured the boy and forced him to paint gold and silver instead. The crux of the tale lies in whether Ma Liang can outwit the Emperor’s evil plans. 

Featuring traditional hand puppets, lively action and catchy music, The Magic Paintbrush by The Paper Monkey Theatre will not just enthrall all but will also teach little ones about compassion and perseverance. Based on a classic Chinese folktale, this puppetry performance was originally presented at Moonfest – A Mid-Autumn Celebration 2017.

3. Craft Activity – Make Your Own Smartphone Filter

Moonfest 2020 - Craft Activity – Make Your Own Smartphone Filter

Date: 26 Sep – 4 Oct 2020 (Sat - Sun) | Premieres: 26 Sep 2020 – 5 pm
 20 mins (Available for all-day viewing after the premiere)
Suitable Ages:
5 years and up
Language: English with English subtitles

No, you do not have to be a graphic designer to make this smartphone filter. This one is simpler. Inspired by ideas of illumination from the flashlight function that many mobile phones come with, this DIY workshop will guide you on how to make your own smartphone filter. You’re free to use it as filter to take pictures with by day or as a prop for shadow play by night!

4. Fun with Wing Chun

Moonfest 2020 -  Fun with Wing Chun

Date: 27 Sep – 4 Oct 2020 (Sun - Sun) | Premieres: 27 Sep 2020 – 5 pm
40 mins (Available for all-day viewing after the premeire)
English with English subtitles

If the fight scenes in action movies ever got you hyped up to try some kickass moves, this is your time. Fun with Wing Chun is an online class led by instructor Daryl Yeo, who will be sharing simple and practical techniques that will take most trainees at least three months to learn.

A disciple and successor of renowned martial arts master Chua Kah Joo, Daryl Yeo is a Wing Chun instructor with ten years of training and eight years of teaching experience.

5. DIY Osmanthus Flower & Longan Jelly Mooncake

Moonfest 2020 - DIY Osmanthus Flower & Longan Jelly Mooncake

Date: 27 Sep – 4 Oct 2020 (Sun - Sun) | Premieres: 27 Sep 2020 – 3 pm 
2 mins (Available for all-day viewing after premiere)
With English and Chinese subtitles 

For a sweet start to your Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations, try your hands at making jelly mooncakes! You get to bond with your little ones and end up with a yummy treat packed with healthy ingredients such as Osmanthus flower petals, wolfberries and longans!

Octoburst! Online 

The popular children’s festival returns in a digital edition with free programs for its 17th run this year!

Octoburst! Online 2020

For more than a decade Octoburst!, an annual children’s festival, has presented theatre, dance, music, and craft activities at various parts of the Esplanade that both the young and young at heart can enjoy. This year, the festival has returned from 5 Oct to 18 Oct 2020 with another series of programs albeit not on-site but online! 

Kick-starting the festival this year is PIParade Online, which invites you to participate by sending in your video response upon watching one or all three available tutorial videos. Selected videos will be included in a PIParade Online video featuring music composed by Sandra Lim! 

We highlight a couple of programs happening! While the digital programs are free to access, some of them require pre-registration and slots tend to get filled up fast, so if you spot something you’re interested in, register fast! Be sure to keep an eye out on Octoburst! for more happenings!

1. The Putu Piring Incident of Batu Bulat 

Octoburst! 2020 - The Putu Piring Incident of Batu Bulat

Date: 5 Oct – 18 Oct 2020 (Mon - Sun) | Premieres: 5 Oct 2020 – 3 pm, 3.30 pm & 4 pm 
20 mins per story (Available for all-day viewing after the premiere)
Suitable Ages: 
5 – 7 years

An island-home to many wonderful villagers, the landscape of Batu Bulat is marked by a hill, many fields for endless hours of fun and an ice-factory. By chance, an ice-factory prince, an island adventurer and a putu-piring seller meet one day, and something good…and bad happens. 

The three characters all clash in their accounts of what really happened that sunny day by the foot by Bukit Batu Bulat. The story is different for each of them. 

Originally presented in various parts of the Esplanade during the 2018 edition of Octoburst!, the three characters come together once again in this digital edition to share their versions of what happened that fateful day. 

Inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘The Danger of a Single Story’, The Putu Piring Incident of Batu Bulat was created by Adib Kosnan to encourage empathy, active listening and compassion amongst the audience members. 

The three videos will be accompanied by resources and guides on diverse thinking, which can be utilized by parents, caregivers or educators.

2. Beats & Doodles

Octoburst! 2020 - Beats & Doodles

Date: 5 Oct – 18 Oct 2020 (Mon - Sun) | Premieres: 5 Oct 2020 – 5 pm 
1 hr (Available for all-day viewing after the premiere)
Suitable Ages: 
4 years and up 

Keep your colorful pens and papers at the ready because you’re about to get invited to a doodling session. Not just kids but adults are also encouraged to doodle for relaxation with Beats & Doodles, a DJ mixtape that leans towards the calm and serene. 

Take a break and select from a 60 minutes mixtape or simply go for a 10 minutes session, and start doodling without worrying about getting your lines perfect or even finishing it! Share your work by taking a video of the doodle, finished or unfinished, with the music running in the background, and post it on Instagram with the tags #beatsdoodles and #octoburst2020.

3. Hold My Hand

Octoburst! 2020 - Hold My Hand

Date: 5 Oct – 18 Oct 2020 (Mon - Sun) | Premieres: 5 Oct 2020 – 1 pm
 40 mins (Available for all-day viewing after premiere)
Suitable Ages:
4 years and up

Hold My Hand follows an older brother, Boy, and his younger sister, Girl, as they journey home from school. Commonplace encounters along their path turn into extraordinary ones through their imagination. Even as the siblings play, squabble and fight with each other, Boy learns to take on the responsibility of caring for his sister while Girl learns to face her fears and trust her brother.

The show will be accompanied by a craft video that teaches kids how to make puppets, which you can attempt with your little ones before or after watching the performance.

Returning as a filmed immersive table-top puppetry performance, Hold My Hand was initially developed with the support of Esplanade as part of Octoburst! in 2018.

4. Elastic Plastic Crew

Octoburst! 2020 - Elastic Plastic Crew

Date (Live Sessions): 9 Oct 2020, Fri at 2.30 pm & 10 Oct 2020, Sat at 11.30 am
30 mins (A recorded session will be available online from 12 Oct, Mon for all-day viewing till 18 Oct)
Suitable Ages:
4 years and up
*Pre-registration required

Gather up your little ones and let loose in a virtual dance party hosted by Elastic Plastic Crew! You can learn some silly dance moves to some serious dance music made locally and played by the Elastic Plastic Crew DJ. This is the time to dance like no one is watching!

5. Small Talk – Arts for Young Audiences

Octoburst! 2020 - Small Talk – Arts for Young Audiences

Date (Live Stream): 11 Oct 2020, Sun at 3 pm
1 hr (Available for all-day viewing after the live stream will 18 Oct)
Suitable Ages: For parents, educators and caregivers

For anyone interested in bringing in the young ones under your care to the theatre, you can tune in to the live stream of Small Talk – Arts for Young Audiences. The session aims to engage educators, parents and caregivers on the topic of diversity. In engaging with children through performances and play, how do educators, parents or caregivers provide support for children in their understanding of diversity?

Photo credits Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay



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This article is prepared by

Malini Pannirselvam
Dedicated writer by day, avid reader by night, language fanatic all the time, and aunt to nieces and nephews every day

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