Marking milestones, pushing boundaries

06 April - 06 April 2018
Roselle and Simpor Ballroom, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956

Madam Halimah was presented with a token of appreciation at the event, an artwork titled 'Joy', which was produced by NAFA alumni and Cultural Medallion Winner Ms Chng Seok Tin.

  • Guests enjoy first-ever immersive dining experience at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts’ 80th Anniversary Celebration Gala Dinner
  • NAFA launches initiatives to enhance NAFA students’ career pathways and develop talents

New immigrants in vintage wear and old suitcases chat with diners about the day and bicycles ride among the crowd, while the song Rasa Sayang plays in the background. Shortly after, the diners are transported back to modern times, as they witness the birth and evolution of the Nanyang style of art. The interactive dinner theatre experience is the highlight of the night’s programme, which will be enjoyed by over 700 guests at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA)’s 80th Anniversary Celebration Gala Dinner. Held at Marina Bay Sands, the dinner is graced by Madam Halimah Yacob, President of the Republic of Singapore.

The performance, the first of its kind at NAFA, is a unique fusion of food and interactive theatre. Dinner guests are immersed in a mesmeric performance where the entire ballroom is transformed into different local settings through a dazzling array of theatrical, musical and visual elements. During the play, performers interact closely with guests as part of the narrative, creating an unforgettable immersive experience.

The play unfolds NAFA’s story through three segments, “Echoes of the Past: Memories of Nanyang”, “Images of the Present: Evoking the spirit of Nanyang” and “Inspirations for the Future: Towards a New Horizon”. These scenes are a creative, unprecedented re-imagination of NAFA’s beginnings entwined with Singapore’s history, the emergence and prominence of the Nanyang style of art and a glimpse into NAFA’s future.

Andrew James Mowatt, a senior lecturer of NAFA’s Diploma in Theatre is the director of the production. Speaking on his inspiration behind the play, he said, “I wanted to do something different, out of the ordinary. Above that, I was inspired by the rich history of our institution and the struggles those pioneering artists faced in the early days. This performance reflects a contemporary struggle of art and its place in a diverse and complex world.” More than 120 students and staff across NAFA’s different disciplines are involved in this production, which took many months to prepare.

Developing Talent, Building Careers
At the event, NAFA Board Chairman Ms Low Sin Leng will also share initiatives which the academy implemented recently to enhance NAFA students’ career pathways and talent development.

This academic year, all NAFA’s diploma students will have to go take up a compulsory Industry-Based Learning (IBL) module to be able to graduate. The IBL component aims to expose the students to the industry and work environment, allow them to apply discipline-specific knowledge and skills in an authentic industry, enable them to develop professional skill sets and introduce the students to the industry as potential employees. Student will be able to choose from various IBL modules, depending on their disciplines, such as internship, industrial attachment, industry project and community project.

The existing Overseas Immersion Programme (OIP) will also be expanded to give students overseas learning experience. In today’s globally connected environment, it is essential for the students to gain critical and global exposure to new ideas and innovations in their fields. Currently, the Academy is working with two Chinese universities. Later this year, NAFA would be expanding the OIP with three or four more institutions in China, Australia and Bangkok.

A new initiative - NAFA Talent Development Programme – has also been launched to identify talented students and groom them in their artistic, technical and leadership skills. These students will undergo a myriad of programmes to further develop and sharpen their artistic excellence and leadership.

During the dinner, Ms Low will share that “We have overcome many challenges and have grown from strength to strength. We will continue to push the boundaries to stay ahead of the curve, to continue to nurture and develop our students to become leaders in their chosen fields in years to come.”

NAFA’s campus was recently expanded with the opening of its Campus 1 Tower Block in February 2018. The expansion was the first following the move to the school’s permanent home in Bencoolen in 2004, and adds 20 per cent more space for the Academy. The event also marked the first of NAFA’s 80th celebratory events. Programmes lined up for the year include an arts festival, opera production, commemorative book, homecoming events for NAFA’s alumni, as well as and a rich variety of performances.

More details on NAFA’s 80th celebratory events can be found on: