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There’s a brand new family-friendly arts festival in town and much to look forward to! We tell you why you have to add the Civic District Outdoor Festival to your family’s events calendar this August

Over the next two weeks, Singapore’s historic Civic District will be lit up in a way that’s never been seen before. As part of the inaugural Civic District Outdoor Festival, the precinct’s iconic architecture and surroundings will be transformed into a kaleidoscope of multimedia displays, art installations, stage performances, art market, a food street, and roving acts from 5pm to midnight over two Fridays and Saturdays (4 to 5 and 11 to 12 August). Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?


Spearheaded by National Gallery Singapore, the theme of the festival is “When Time Stood Still”. As night falls, enjoy Singapore’s best creative and artistic acts within the heart of the Lion City. Ready to go? So are we! Here are the highlights that families should be making a beeline for…

Be Wowed by Hemera’s Dream: Multimedia Projection Trail

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See the classic architecture of Singapore’s cultural institutions in a different light as they are transformed into a mega multimedia projection canvas after dark to tell the tale of Hemera and her brother Aether. The siblings have been tasked to keep the Cosmic Clock running in so that The Eternal City remains awake. Only, like most of us, they fall into a ‘food coma’ and… Follow their whimsical story to discover what happens when time stands still.

This is the first ever projection trail in Singapore to be featured on four heritage buildings. Their inherent architectural elements, plus light and sound, will make for a multi-sensory experience that will surely keep the kids − and adults − entranced.

Where The front façades of the National Gallery Singapore and Arts House, façade and interior of the Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall, as well as the façade of the Asian Civilisations Museum.
When Don’t worry if you join the visually stunning tale halfway; Hemera’s Dream will be played out five times each night, starting at 8pm, 8.40pm, 9.20pm, 10pm and 10.40pm at the National Gallery Singapore.

Have a Picnic with Giant Bunnies

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A warren of huge white rabbits has been invading festivals around the world and now they’ve hopped onto our Padang! The work of Australian artist, Intrude by Amanda Parer features illuminated inflatable bunnies up to 6m tall, designed to lure you into their embrace in order to highlight our impact on the environment. From 5pm to 7.30pm, kids will also be kept busy playing Bunny Games, such as a classic Easter egg match-up, sack race or even a game of bubble soccer!

The Padang is turning into a huge picnic ground, so feel free to roll out your mats among the bunnies. But what is a picnic without food, right? Spanning the St Andrew’s Road edge of the Padang is Hemera’s Feast, a food street featuring specially-curated food stalls and food trucks (scroll down to learn more). So grab some grub and settle in – this is also the best way to take in the projected reel on the façade of National Gallery Singapore.

Participate in Art Programmes, Installations and Tours

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Engaging programmes, workshops and theatre (Best for Kids!)

For those with little ones, sign up for The Incredible 5 Series tour at National Gallery Singapore where you’ll get to make discoveries (from ‘Must-Touch Artworks’ to ‘Sensorial Experiences’) on themed docent-led tours. Kids six years and above can also catch Aquarama by Post Theatre (above) and follow Mr Chips the fish as he goes on an interactive water-themed adventure. There’s also a parent-child puppet-making and performing workshop (suitable for kids aged four years and up) to do!

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Enter the time vortex

The Time Vortex by Adeline Loo is the knitting entrepreneur’s response to the festival’s theme of “When Time Stood Still”. Enter her multi-stringed and trans-dimensional installation at The Arts House and explore the concept of time freezing, kind of like when Hemera and Aether caused the Cosmic Clock to stop ticking. It’s going to be fun to get entangled in there!

Click here for details of these and other programmes.

Go Shopping at Aether’s Art Market

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Artisanal shopping

Browse through the creations from some of Singapore’s most talented artists, independent labels and entrepreneurs at Aether’s Art Market at Empress Lawn. Shop for one-of-a-kind bags, accessories, candles and illustrations from the likes of A Pale Petal, Curious Creatures, KoWaiLiEu, Pins & Pongs and Tinee Dino. Looking for quality kids’ stuff? Make a beeline for Jocose M (above) and Roses & Rhinos.

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Hands-on art workshops

When at an art market, be like an artist! Join workshops (free and paid) for both kids and adults. You can hand-knit a bracelet with It Takes Balls, create a terrarium with Rabbit Island or attempt brush lettering with dora. prints and paper goods. Then help to colour Hemera’s Dream in a communal art piece with Splash Academy, or take part in a crystal healing circle with My Grandmama’s Secret!

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Instagrammable nibbles

Of course, it’s not a complete art market without some artisanal snacks. Try roasted marshmallow from The Wicked Cream, Lieutenant Kernel’s nutty bars, healthy desserts from Guilt Free Indulgence and The Juicy Way’s rainbow-hued galaxy drinks (above). Satay Boy, Makcik Chicken and Los Sol Hermanos add some savoury treats to the spread. Delicious!

Be Entertained by Live Performances

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A Dragon behind the Door & More! (Kids will love this!)

Sink into a comfy Doob beanbag on Empress Lawn and get swept away in a fun-filled theatrical experience by Sweet Tooth. Kids will be caught up in action-packed twists and turns as Mini and her father find their house overrun with spotted beetles! Afterward, explore craft activities in specially crafted Curious Houses, where you can make your own puppet dragons and beetles, or even create your very own mini pop-up theatre.

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Roving Acts

Apart from non-stop music performances from Empress Lawn to Hemera’s Feast, there’ll be a host of exciting roving acts to keep young and old entertained. Be serenaded by funky ensemble band Brass Nation, listen to The Lost Hat’s gypsy flamenco tones and shake to pulsating samba rhythms with Bantus Batucada. Oh, and remember to take a selfie with The Illuminated Angels (above) by Australian physical theatre ensemble Born in a Taxi!

Click here for more details of performance schedules.

Tuck into Hemera’s Feast: Food Street

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Sip and snack

Over at Hemera’s Feast, the street foods spread includes organic coconut drinks and desserts from COCOLOCO (above) − perfect for cooling off when it gets too warm. Need something to snack on? Kids will love churros with artisanal dips from Chulop!. Or what about The Lab’s famous Heisenberger and chilli fries for something more substantial? Other vendors include Ninja Cut, Courtyard Café, &SONS and YÀN + Smokes & Mirrors.

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Trucking in the chow

Still hungry? Fuel up at the food trucks from Coffee Bandit (above) and Kerbside Gourmet, which will be dishing out their usual gourmet grub at affordable prices. From sandwiches to pastas, salads to muffins, there’ll be lots to choose from. Oh, and not forgetting a good cup of coffee or tea to see you through the evening, dad and mum. Enjoy!

Civic District Outdoor Festival 2017

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When 4-5 & 11-12 August 2017, 5pm to midnight
Where Civic District precinct
Admission Free (selected workshop and programme fees may apply)
Note St Andrew’s Road will be closed to traffic from 4pm to 1am on festival days
Web www.civicdistrictoutdoor.sg

This post is brought to you in collaboration with National Gallery Singapore