Apsaras Arts Dance Company comes together with Wild Rice for a unique look at the life of refugees through theatre, poetry and Bharatanatyam

Photo courtesy: Apsaras Arts
Photo courtesy: Apsaras Arts

Apsaras Arts Dance Company is collaborating with Wild Rice to present Agathi - a moving look at the lives and plights of refugees through a unique fusion of theatre, poetry and the classical Indian dance form Bharatanatyam.  

Agathi draws inspiration from Apsaras Arts Artistic Director Aravinth Kumarasamy’s own  experience as a refugee in his youth, as well as the lives of refugee children all over the world. In collaboration with Wild Rice’s Artistic Director, Ivan Heng, Agathi shines a spotlight on human beings who find themselves caught between countries and trapped in the headlines. 

Agathi premiered at Singapore’s Esplanade Theatre in 2017, and has since toured the world, winning acclaim in the United Kingdom, France and India. 

Photo courtesy: Apsaras Arts
Photo courtesy: Apsaras Arts

“I’m excited to help reimagine this spectacular piece for Wild Rice’s thrust stage. We have  presented opera, chamber music and, of course, theatre performances in our venue. Agathi promises a novel way to experience the beauty, drama and storytelling potential inherent in  the classical dance tradition of Bharatanatyam,” said Heng. “We hope that this collaboration  will give both Apsaras Arts and Wild Rice the opportunity to reach out to new audiences.” 

Agathi was conceptualised and is directed by Kumarasamy. It features choreography by  Mohanapriyan Thavarajah, dramaturgy by Ivan Heng of Wild Rice and a narrative script by  Audrey Perera and Alfian Sa’at. 

It draws inspiration from A Book of Poems: Expressions  from our Youth, published in 2011 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The score incorporates Tamil poems by reputed poets Mahakavi Subramania Bharathi, Bharathi Dasan, Kavimani Desiga Vinayagam Pillai and Kaviarasu Kannadasan, as well as contemporary young poet Niranjan Bharathi.  

“At the heart of Agathi is our goal of giving voice to the poetry of refugee children from  around the world – to chronicle and explore their shared experience of fleeing from their  homes and rebuilding lives in new lands through dance, music, poetry and dramatic theatre,” said Kumarasamy. “We are excited to present Agathi in Singapore after successful  international tours to the United Kingdom and France.”

“Ivan and Wild Rice are important role models in Singapore on how art can transform, teach and heal. I am personally honoured to  collaborate with them in presenting Agathi – the first such showcase of Indian classical dance theatre at the groundbreaking Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre in Funan. Ivan and I believe  this production will be a memorable experience for all,” he added. 

Agathi will be presented at Wild Rice @ Funan from April 2-4, 2021 with shows at 3.00 pm and 7.00 pm. 

CtoI News Desk
CtoI News Desk – CtoI

Singapore-headquartered online media company targeting Indian Diaspora across Singapore, US, UK, UAE and India. Connected to India covers developments around NRIs. Covers arts, political, sports, finance, entrepreneurship, business, movies, dramas, entertainment and other news for Indians living worldwide.


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