Another of our ambassadors, Nur Atiqah, shares her learning experience at Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) 2015.
After being involved in SIFA 2014 as a Festival Ambassador, returning back to the festival yet again seems like a routinely task. This year, I had the opportunity to be a part of the frontline team as the Assistant Front-of-House Manager for several SIFA productions such as Cabanons and Tang Quartet: Black Angels.
Cabanons presented me with a varied experience in comparison to the usual volunteering stints. Situated within an open field along Tan Quee Lan Street, the outdoor event posed many challenges in terms of front-of-house management. With no barriers to cordon off the performance area, one major challenge would be to manage the crowd and ensure that only patrons with tickets are allowed to enter the area. With a huge task on hand, I was able to hone my skills in volunteer management during the week-long production. Having a larger team would mean that there has to be constant communication between the managers and volunteers. Occasionally, we would also have to liaise with external parties such as the production team. This is to ensure that everyone involved in the production are on the same page at all times, and are also aware of their individual activities.
There were also different groups of audience seen throughout every run of the show. We had groups of patrons ranging from students to the elderly and even those with special needs. Each day, the crowd control plan were modified to suit the changing demographics of the crowd. On one occasion, a large group of elderly was attending the show. As there were no seating areas allocated outside the tentage area, we encountered a problem where some of the elderly patrons had difficulty standing up for a long period of time. Hence, we formed a line of chairs specifically for the elderly patrons prior to the show.
The differing audience groups tested my adaptability to act and take appropriate actions depending on the situation. When we received a group of students with physical disabilities, it was my duty to ensure a safe journey from one tent to another, especially with the large amount of crowds that we are expecting. The volunteers in particular were prepped with additional instructions for the night to accommodate the specific group of patrons.
Amidst the challenges faced, it was interesting to hear thoughts and opinions on the productions or arts in general. Seeing firsthand how more Singaporeans are immersed in the arts from the young to the old, shows that the arts is gradually into their way of life over the recent years. I was glad to be part of this experience while understanding the views of different groups of audience.
The experience at SIFA 2015 proved to be an experience to remember. I am honored to have been part of this large festival, which has not only provided me with an extensive skill set, but has also broadened my perspectives in catering to different groups of audience. I would definitely continue to hone my skills through more events to come!