The True Colours Festival – the Asia Pacific Celebration of Artistes with Disabilities will finally kick off this week. A truly symbolic and important event for the arts, the True Colours Festival stands as the first and largest gathering of artistes with disabilities to perform in an event in the Asia Pacific region. Ahead of the festival we spoke to festival director, Audrey Perera to gather her thoughts on the upcoming event, it’s extensive talents and the future of the festival.
What sort of crowd or response are you expecting for the festival?
We are hoping to attract about 20,000 people to the Festival and we are counting on the support of our media partners to spread the word for us. With the publicity generated from media partners like yourself, we are optimistic that the response will be positive.
The festival has managed to curate an eclectic mix of local and international talents, how was the selection process?
These artistes are incredibly talented. We put a lot of effort into reaching out to find them: online research, Youtube, media reports, advertising on social media and tapping on wide networks from our partners like UNESCO. We received more than 120 submissions from performing artistes around the Asia Pacific. There is so much talent out there to be discovered.
Our Artiste Selection Committee then spent many hours watching/listening to all the submissions, and this was something we committed to, out of respect for the artistes to whom it meant so much to be considered. Shortlisting was not easy at all, but it had to be done. All of those who are performing at the festival – whether indoor or outdoor – are exceptionally talented and have remarkable stories as well. I just want to say that a concert like this has never been done before, and the audience is in for an absolute treat.
The festival will also coincide with the Arts and Disability International Conference 2018. Tell us more about it.
A key component of the True Colours Festival, the Arts and Disability International Conference 2018 will kick start the Festival on 22 March for one and a half days at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre and Enabling Village.
Jointly organised by the National Arts Council (NAC) and Very Special Arts (VSA) Singapore, the Conference aims to provide insights and facilitate the sharing of best practices by a stellar line-up of international and local guest speakers and art groups from Japan, Australia, the UK, Canada, Cambodia and Singapore.
What are the main subject matters that will be addressed at this year’s conference?
They will address and interact with an expected 400 Conference participants from overseas and Singapore, comprising social service professionals, disabled and able-bodied artists and policy makers.
On day one, there will be keynote presentations, panel discussion and insightful breakout sessions on arts and disability leadership, innovations in artistic practice, inclusive community engagement and multi-sectorial partnerships in building a more inclusive arts environment.
On day two, there will be lectures on personal insights and practical approaches by artists with disabilities on their artistic journeys as well as hands-on workshops on new approaches to inclusive art-making in theatre, music and movement.
As Maureen Goh, Executive Director of VSA Singapore has expressed, ADIC 2018 will be pivotal in helping us gain even deeper insights into removing barriers for persons with disabilities to participate in, and to enjoy the arts. Our focus will be on the key themes of ‘Leadership’ and ‘Innovation’. We are indeed very privileged to be partnering the NAC in organising this inaugural event, which we hope will be an annual fixture in building a more inclusive arts environment.
Do you foresee True Colours expanding beyond Singapore and rolling out to other territories?
True Colours is the first of its kind for us in APAC, and is part of the lead-up to the Tokyo 2020 global festival. We want very much to continue driving the momentum in this part of the world, because it’s not just about entertainment; it’s about entertainment with a cause. And it’s a noteworthy cause. It is our desire to continue, but we need to deliver this one first!
The True Colours Festival takes place from 22-25 March 2018. For more information log on to truecolours.sg