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So, we checked out one of the first Arts in Your Neighbourhood (AYN) programmes over the past weekend, and the boys had fun!

Together We Watch, by MySuperFuture Theatrical Productions, Arts in Your Neighbourhood Programme

Together We Watch, by MySuperFuture Theatrical Productions

Have you heard about Arts in Your Neighbourhood (AYN)  programme? I have! I have always wanted to check it out in the past (yeah, there’s is an arty farty side to me too) but I never found time. I finally did!

If you haven’t, Arts in Your Neighbourhood programme is an enriching arts experience at one’s doorstep. It’s basically a series of interactive arts programmes by established artists and art groups, held at various locations across the island, mostly in the heartlands. Held during the November period where kids are having school holidays, it is a great way to feed your child’s creativity and enrich their development. It is also a great way for the family to bond and expose the kids to more arts. And the good news is, there is still time to catch it!

So, we caught “Together We Watch” performance at SAFRA Toa Payoh by MySuperFuture Theatrical Productions. They are the same folks behind the PLAYtime! productions such as The Magic Treetop as well as The Magic Jungle showing at the Esplanade! We caught the Magic Treetop before and Jerry loves that.

Together We Watch is one of the key highlights of Arts in Your Neighbourhood and is somewhat close to my heart. Inspired by the childhood experiences of watching a common television at the neighbourhood community centre with next-door neighbours, it explores the notion of nostalgia, community bonding and the concept of neighbourliness. I could totally relate to my own childhood, and I still remember those days where people gather at the community centres and eagerly wait for the TV set to be switched on.

“Bernardette”, played by Cheryl Kjm

The set opens with Bernardette, a girl so obsessed with her iPhone that she doesn’t spend much time with her grandpa. Grandpa relates his past memories where community bonding was very much the norm, in an attempt to teach her the concept of neighbourliness and to connect with loved ones, by disconnecting with her gadgets. Even with the advancement of technology, interpersonal skills and bonding time are still very much important. The story also incorporates a little history of Singapore too.

Sang Nila Utama arriving in Singapore, played by Bright Ong, MySuperFuture Productions

Sang Nila Utama arriving in Singapore, played by Bright Ong.

I feel a lot for the storyline, because my kids have fallen into the era where they look at the tv/gadgets more and have valued those more to interpersonal relationships, much to my disdain. I’m not a pro gadget mummy, I try to keep my kids away from it as much as I can, but I can’t stop the environmental influences and the society. Everyone is holding a gadget in the train these days, and my kids grow up thinking it is the norm!

Jerry has unfortunately fallen asleep before the performance started, but Jerome spent the entire time watching intently.

Jerome watching

Jerome watching “Together We Watch” intently, not moving an inch at all.

And subsequently, making himself comfortable in his own personal couch! You can be sure that it is suitable for families with young children. Jerome is only slightly over 2.5yo and obviously enjoys it to be in this position..

Jerome settles in his own personal couch to enjoy the

Jerome settles in his own personal couch to enjoy the “Together We Watch” performance!

The play set up instantly brings me back to my childhood as well. Nostalgia much. This signature dragon playground that most of us are familiar growing up with, is a diminishing sight. The last one with sand pit is in Toa Payoh! Audiences are very much encouraged to leave a note to share what they miss at their void deck much.. guess what’s mine?

Do you remember the mosaic tiled dragon playground in our growing up years?

Do you remember the mosaic tiled dragon playground in our growing up years?

Leaving a piece of my memory of what I miss most at the void deck.

Leaving a piece of my memory of what I miss most at the void deck.

I like that the production also involves the audience in its performance which makes it all the more interactive and fun to watch. I ain’t gonna say how (not gonna be spoiler!) so do go catch the upcoming performance on 14 Nov at Ang Mo Kio Central Stage, 6pm | 8pm.

H for House, by PHUNK. An interactive art installation for Arts in Your Neighbourhood, Toa Payoh SAFRA.

H for House, by PHUNK. An interactive art installation for Arts in Your Neighbourhood.

We also caught the interactive art installation, H for House by PHUNK. It’s basically a huge chalkboard house where anyone can pick up a piece of chalk and start doodling and creating your own “artwork” on the house. This installation is inspired by everyone’s classroom recollections, and do take a peek in and see if you can find anything you can relate to! *Hint* Look closer at the details!

Jerry & Jerome, doing their part for arts, doodling on the H for House art installation, Arts in Your Neighbourhood.

Jerry & Jerome, doing their part for arts, doodling on the H for House art installation.

It’s also the kids’ first experience with chalk as a writing instrument. Blackboards used to be a norm during my time as a kid but nowadays it has been replaced by whiteboard markers and many kids probably have no clue what it is. I had fun observing my kids and laughing at them while at it.

Jerome tries his hand at using chalk for the first time ever!

Jerome tries his hand at using chalk for the first time ever!

Jerome takes a peek into the house (H for House art installation for Arts in Your Neighbourhood)

Jerome takes a peek into the house!

Jerome peeking in, and is greeted with…

A classroom filled with childhood memories, H for House, art installation for Arts in Your Neighbourhood.

A classroom filled with childhood memories.

You really need to go see the details in real life. This art installation runs from 5-22 November, at SAFRA Toa Payoh. We spent so much time here… I actually managed to take a shot of just my 2 boys doodling at the house.

Jerry & Jerome playing with H for House at SAFRA Toa Payoh.

Jerry & Jerome playing with H for House at SAFRA Toa Payoh.

This year, AYN has also launched a complimentary Activity Booklet which serves as an interactive guide filled with questions, hand-ons activities and bite-sized information nuggets about the performances and is suitable for ages 9 and up. You can also download a copy at www.artsforall.sg.

[NEW] Arts in Your Neighbourhood Activity Booklet (meant for 9yos & above)

[NEW] Arts in Your Neighbourhood Activity Booklet (meant for 9yos & above)

Together We Watch Activities page in the AYN 2015 Activity Booklet.

Together We Watch Activities page in the AYN 2015 Activity Booklet.

I find the bite sized information rather informative, even to me! I get to learn quite a few things too.

Am really looking forward to the other programme highlights, some of which are..

  • Press by Twardzik Ching Chor Leng @ Maple Tree Business City. Open Plaza.
    Life-sized ‘Pin Art’ comes alive with this interactive wooden art installation that allows audiences to leave their own impressions.
  • Music on the Green by The Philharmonic Winds feat. Sara Wee @ Dhoby Ghaut Green Amphitheatre (21 Nov, 7.30pm)
    Expect a medley of familiar and entertaining pop songs under the stars in the heart of the city presented by The Philharmonic Winds and special guest, Sara Wee from 53A.

For the full programme details, do check out https://artsforall.sg/ayn or follow them on Facebook (facebook.com/artsforall.sg) and Instagram (@artsforallsg). I hope you would have an artsy November!

Meanwhile, I’m travelling out of the country for a while and will also be mugging for a certification program for work so updates would be slow. My November is packed out but I’ll try to update here as often as I can. For more instant updates, do follow me on my facebook (http://www.facebook.com/cherieladie) or Instagram (@cherieladie). Please do, because I will be travelling to Cologne (Germany) and Amsterdam (Netherlands) and I think it would be fun!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post brought to you by National Arts Council and Gushcloud. All thoughts and opinions are of my own.