M1 Singapore Fringe Festival has posted an open letter on its Facebook page calling for an open-minded approach to its programme. The letter is a response to the organisation Singaporeans Defending Family and Marriage (SDFM), who described the festival as ‘pornography’ in a post on 22 November.
SDFM stated that the festival was ‘pornography disguised as art’ and has a pro-LGBT agenda. Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Singapore, a stance that has been criticised by international organisations such as Human Rights Watch.
SDFM also questioned the role of M1 artistic director Sean Tobin, who it claims has ‘no vested interest in Singapore’s wellbeing’.
In response, M1 posted the following: ‘The Festival has always believed in connecting communities and encouraging dialogue through challenging art works, and we are proud to have become an important platform where thought, imagination and creativity are celebrated.
‘We are proud to say that our programme has shaped up to be one that looks beyond the superficial, and into what connects us as human beings, regardless of race, language or religion. Singapore is ripe and ready for these intelligent and creative conversations, and the festival is eager to encourage them.’
The theme for 2017’s festival, which runs from 4-15 January 2017, is Art & Skin. Several of the performances contain nudity, and two of the shows – Naked Ladies and Undressing Room – have been denied a rating by Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority, which means they cannot be performed in their current form.