SPH Chinese Media Group rolls out crosstalk production for Bicentennial year

Chinese Media Group, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), has launched a Chinese crosstalk production to commemorate Singapore’s Bicentennial year. Titled “It Could Have Been____!” (狮城古今笑谈), the production is co-organised with People’s Association (PA) and presented by China Life Insurance Singapore.

The crosstalk programme will comprise seven acts that span across 700 years of Singapore’s history. It is directed by Jalyn Han, a theatre practitioner and anchored by two local crosstalk veterans, Johnny Ng and Yong Ser Pin. The production will also offer a synopsis in English at the beginning of each scene to cater to a wider audience.

The free-for-all performance will be staged at Capitol Singapore from 8 June onwards. “It Could Have Been___!” was first staged at the Esplanade in 2015, and was said to have garnered positive reviews from audiences.

Lee Huay Leng, head of SPH Chinese Media Group, said through the comical language of a crosstalk, the show aims to enable audiences to acquire better understandings about Singapore’s history and the close ties between Singapore and Malaysia. In addition, aligning with Singapore’s commemoration of the Bicentennial this year, she said the show brings back nostalgic memories of Singapore’s history and heritage, while conveying the nation’s successes and achievements.

Clarin Wee, director, Grassroots Policy and Programmes Division, PA, said through this collaboration, the organisation aims to reach out to more Singaporeans and for them to enjoy this light-hearted and engaging performance.

The Singapore Bicentennial, which officially launched on 28 January 2019, marks the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the British in 1819. In line with it, the Singapore Bicentennial office launched a new bicentennial logo which comprises seven poly-shapes, each representing one century for a total of 700 years of Singapore’s history.

To engage with the public, the SBO collaborated with five Community Development Councils to launch five roadshows islandwide. Targeted at educating locals about the history of Singapore, the series kicked off in April to provide an interactive experience of Singapore’s 700-year history.

In addition, National Heritage Board and National Parks Board also jumped onboard to play a part in the commemoration. Through an augmented reality (AR) trail, both organisations invited Singaporeans to experience history for themselves.