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First Asia Pacific Festival Of Artistes With Disabilities Celebrates The Most Exceptional Talents

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Source: Media Outreach
Headline: First Asia Pacific Festival Of Artistes With Disabilities Celebrates The Most Exceptional Talents
SINGAPORE – MediaOutReach – 11 JANUARY 2018 – Historyis in the making. From 22-25 March 2018, Singapore will play host to True Colours Festival — the Asia Pacific Celebration of Artistes withDisabilities. Some 20 exceptionally talentedartistes/troupes will converge in Singapore for what will be the first andlargest gathering of artistes with disabilities to perform in an event in theAsia Pacific region.

True Colours is presented by UNESCO and The NipponFoundation (TNF), two international organisations which champion the rightsof persons with disabilities (PWDs). It is produced by Very Special Arts Singapore (VSA) and supported by many partnersincluding Platinum Partner DBS,Venue Partner Singapore Sports Huband the Asia-Pacific Development Centreon Disability (APCD).

The festival comprises a ticketed multimedia indoorconcert experience at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, a free admission outdoorfestival village just a short walk away, and an international conference onarts and disability.

Multimediaindoor concert experienceThis concert, which will be performed on three evenings, will presentmusicians, singers and dancers from the Asia Pacific, along with guest artistesfrom Canada, the UK, the US and Chile. They will perform to a total estimatedaudience of more than 12,000 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Specially commissioned for True Coloursperformances are new works by contemporary inclusive dance troupe, DAZZLE fromJapan; wheelchair dancer Rodney Bell from New Zealand, a collaborative theatreproduction by Singapore’s Very Special Theatrics and Australia’s No StringsAttached Theatre of Disability. Japanese contemporary dancers Kazuyo Morita& Natsumi Sadayuki will also perform a special festival commission on theoutdoor Festival Village stage while No Strings Attached will perform the WorldPremiere of its new work, I Forgot toRemember to Forget. 
Among the other highlights are Canadian virtuosoviolinist Adrian Anantawan; crooner Tony Dee from Australia, star of the 2016Rio Paralympics trailer We’re theSuperhumans; multinational crew ILL-Abilities, considered one of theworld’s most talented street dance crews; Drake Music Scotland’s DigitalOrchestra; and Alienette Coldfire from the Philippines, second runner-up in France’s Got Talent 2016 and Ma Li and Zhai Xiao Wei, the first pair of dancers withdisabilities ever to enter China’s  CCTVnational dance competition. It was in 2007 and they won the silver medal andthe audience popular vote.

TrueColours Festival Village This free admission outdoor festival runs from 23-25 March 2018 andcomprises a wide range of activities to appeal to many tastes and ages. Besidesinteractive experiences that allow visitors to experience and learn aboutvarious kinds of disability, the village will also offer up screenings of shortfilms about disability, theatre performances, Paralympic Sports tryouts, an exhibitionand sale of art, merchandise, food and drink. 

Artsand Disability InternationalConference 2018
The Artsand Disability International Conference 2018, jointly organised by the NationalArts Council (NAC) and Very Special Arts (VSA) Singapore, takes place on 22 and23 March at Marina Bay Sands & Enabling Village. The Conference aims toprovide insights on innovative ways to increase arts accessibility andfacilitate sharing of best practices. Featuring a stellar line-up ofinternational and local guest speakers and arts groups from Australia,Cambodia, Canada, Japan, Singapore and UK, they will address and interact withsome 400 conference participants from overseas and Singapore, comprising socialservice professionals, disabled and able-bodied artists and policy makers.(Visit URL adic2018.sg for more information).

Says Mr Ichiro Kabasawa,Executive Director of TNF: “Our foundation has been supporting people withdisabilities in Japan and around the world for more than 50 years. As theglobal population increases, including those ageing, we will all need to workharder to eliminate barriers and ensure accessibility, so that everyone isrespected and able to play an active role.”

As part of a long-term strategic undertaking, TNFpresented the first three festivals of artistes with disabilities in Laos andVietnam in 2006 and Cambodia in 2008. This was followed by an ASEAN editionheld in Myanmar in 2014, featuring artistes from 10 countries who performed toa crowd of nearly 7,000. The momentum generated atTrue Colours this March will pave the way for a global festival event timed tocoincide with the Tokyo Paralympics 2020.
Adds UNESCO’s Dr Indrajit Banerjee,Director of the Knowledge Societies Division in the communication and informationsector: “Government policies, legislation and development planning help createmore inclusiveness and opportunity but the arts have a power all their own.Performing arts celebrations such as TrueColours Festival play an important role in effecting change in the socialand cultural spheres of society too.”

Mr Sim S. Lim, Group Executive and Country Head,DBS Singapore said that being part of the TrueColours Festival is part of the Bank’s vision to shape a better future forAsia with a focus on building a more inclusive society. “We believe that the True Colours Festival celebrates thestrength of the human spirit. Through the medium of performing arts, DBS canhelp draw people across the region closer together as one community, bound byan appreciation of the resilience and depth of strength that lies within eachof us. By supporting these exceptionally talented artistes, we are enabling the community to live their dreams and also nurture the next generation’s mindset wheninteracting with persons with disabilities among us,” Mr Lim said.The True Colours Festival will alsopresent other ‘firsts’, such as:

A more inclusiveseating plan. Ground level seats at the indoor concert will be configuredto allow wheelchair users to be seated with or as close to their friendsand loved ones as possible. A ticket salescampaign called MyTreat in which individualsand companies can purchase concert tickets via the True Colourswebsite. These MyTreat ticketswill go into a pool which will be distributed (via disabilityorganisations) to persons with disabilities who cannot afford a ticket. A festival websitethat is screen reader-friendly to people with visual impairment,accessible to those with extreme mobility impairment, to the Deaf andHard-of-Hearing via closed captions and/or English subtitles for videocontent, and to the elderly and others with moderate visual impairment viacustomisable font sizes and colour contrast for easy reading of websiteinformation. 
“VSA is exceedingly proud to be hosting and producingthis historic event. The magnitude and scope of this Festival is unprecedentedin the Asia Pacific and its successful outcome will help begin a new narrativeabout ability before disability in Singapore and the Asia Pacific,” said AndrewLiew, Chairman of VSA.
Note to editor
The Nippon Foundation wasestablished in 1962 as a non-profit philanthropic organization, active in Japanand around the world. Initially our efforts focused largely on the maritime andshipping fields, but since then, the range of our activities has expanded toeducation, social welfare, public health, and other fields–carried out in morethan 100 countries to date. Together with our more than 20 partnerorganizations in Japan and worldwide, we are funding and assistingcommunity-led efforts aimed at realizing a more peaceful and prosperous globalsociety. To know more about The Nippon Foundation, click: http://www.nippon-foundation.or.jp/en/

UNESCO’s vision is the creation of knowledge societiesthat are inclusive, pluralistic, equitable, open and participatory for allcitizens. Within the context of the United Nations Convention on the Rights ofPersons with Disabilities and disability-inclusive Sustainable DevelopmentGoals, UNESCO recognizes the need to, among others, prepare national policiesand to strongly encourage local governments to introduce specific legislationto safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities; develop nationalstandards for public good in terms of products and services such asaccessibility guidelines, recommendations, curricula and other mechanisms toensure that these standards are maintained; adapt and personalize ICTs to thenature of specific disabilities; and enhance social and economic integrationthrough improved access to information and knowledge.

To promote a betterunderstanding of issues related to disability and mobilize support for therecognition of the dignity, rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities,and of the benefits of their integration in society, UNESCO has undertaken anaction plan centered around thematic priorities such as research andevidence-based data collection; development of policies and strategies oninclusion of persons with disabilities; and development of appropriate toolsfor inclusion. To know more about UNESCO,click: http://en.unesco.org/about-us/introducing-unesco
DBS is aleading financial services group in Asia, with over 280 branches across 18markets. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS has a growing presence inthe three key Asian axes of growth: Greater China, Southeast Asia and SouthAsia. The bank’s “AA-” and “Aa1” credit ratings, is amongthe highest in the world.

DBS is at the forefront of leveragingdigital technology to shape the future of banking, and has been named “World’s BestDigital Bank” byEuromoney. The bank has also been recognised for its leadership in the region,having been named “Asia’s Best Bank” by several publications including TheBanker, Global Finance, IFR Asia and Euromoney since 2012. In addition, thebank has been named “Safest Bank inAsia” by Global Finance for nine consecutive years from 2009 to2017.

DBS provides a full range of servicesin consumer, SME and corporate banking. As a bank born and bred in Asia, DBSunderstands the intricacies of doing business in the region’s most dynamicmarkets. DBS is committed to building lasting relationships with customers, andpositively impacting communities through supporting social enterprises, as it banksthe Asian way. It has also established a SGD 50 million foundation tostrengthen its corporate social responsibility efforts in Singapore and acrossAsia.
With its extensive network ofoperations in Asia and emphasis on engaging and empowering its staff, DBSpresents exciting career opportunities. The bank acknowledges the passion,commitment and can-do spirit in all of our 23,000 staff, representing over 40nationalities. For more information, please visit www.dbs.com.

The Asia-PacificDevelopment Center on Disability (APCD) is a regional center on disability and development. APCD wasestablished in Bangkok, Thailand as a legacy of the Asian and Pacific Decade ofDisabled Persons, 1993-2002, by the United Nations Economic and SocialCommission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). APCD is identified as theregional center on disability for the Incheon Strategy to Make the Right Real,2013-2022. To know more about APCD, click: www.apcdfoundation.org

Very Special Arts Singapore (VSA) is a local charity organisationdedicated to providing access and opportunities to the arts for people withspecial needs in our community. It is one of the first organisations to recognisethe therapeutic value of the arts to persons with disabilities, and to harnessthe power of the arts to educate, communicate and entertain. 

Establishedin Singapore in 1993 by Singapore’s roving ambassador, Professor Tommy Koh, VSAoffers a variety of visual and performing arts programmes to train, nurture anddevelop the talents of persons with disabilities. Recently, VSA augmented itsprogrammes with the introduction of literary arts offering creative writing andpoetry.

Tirelessin its mission to bring arts to persons with disabilities, VSA is launchingVery Special Theatrics, an inclusive theatre company comprising adults withspecial needs and seasoned theatre professionals. VSA is helping personswith disabilities to integrate into our society, derive commercial benefit fromtheir talents, and to have careers in the arts. To learn more about VSA, click:
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