Singapore may be tiny but you can’t complain of the lack of stuff to do; especially with the Night Festival 2012 opening this week.

Held from August 24, this year’s Night Festival gets even bigger than ever before; and more Singaporean.

WE THE PEOPLE installation for Night Festival 2012
WE THE PEOPLE installation for Night Festival 2012
Projected on the National Museum: WE THE PEOPLE by Singapore artist Brian Gothong Tan

Besides more Singapore-themed programming, this fifth edition sees a notable increase in Singapore performers and retailers joining the festivities.

 The Singapore focus aims to “provide a national platform for our local performing talents … (and) bring Singaporeans together to celebrate and create new shared memories,” says Angelita Teo, director of the National Heritage Board’s Festivals and Precinct Development Division.

For four nights only, watch circus acts, roaming buskers and spectacular light installations amp up the festive atmosphere at the Bras Basah precinct.

Don’t know where to start at this festival? We pick 10 top things to do at this Night Festival:

1. Circus at the museum
You may have seen circus acts in theatres; but have you seen a circus at the museum?

Night Festival 2012 Circus Swingapore performance at Night Festival 2012, Singapore Night Festival 2012 Circus Swingapore at Night Festival 2012, Singapore
Circus Swingapore (SG) makes its Night Festival debut at this year’s event

Watch Circus Swingapore at the National Museum — see the Singapore circus in an aerial dance as they perform acrobatic tricks with hoops and silks.

Date and Time: August 24, 25, 31 and September 1 at 7.30pm, 8.30pm and 9.30pm
Location: National Museum of Singapore, The Platform


2. See Argentine dancers defy gravity
See acrobatic feats that will stun and surprise. At this year’s Night Festival, Fuerzabruta by Argentina’s Ozono Producciones will feature three different acts that you simply have to see.

Night Festival 2012 - Fuerzabruta performance at Night Festival 2012, Singapore

Over at Armenian street, bask in Argentine music and dance as a performer does acrobatic feats in mid-air.

Then move towards the Singapore Management University Green. Watch another performing duo somersault and dive around a shimmery curtain, defying gravity with their acrobatic dance feats.

Night Festival 2012  Fuerzabruta at Night Festival 2012, Singapore Night Festival 2012 Fuerzabruta Corredoras at Night Festival 2012, Singapore
Fuerzabruta by Ozoo Producciones: The Mylar and Corredoras performances

Move towards the university square and look up for another stunning aerial performance. Surrounded in atmospheric lights, a group of dancers will glide in and out of a suspended 15 metre pool.

Date and Time: August 31 and September 1
Locations: Armenian Street, Singapore Management University

 

3. Learn to make shadow puppets
At this workshop, Paper Monkey Theatre will share how you can make your very own shadow puppet.

Night Festival 2012 - Paper Money Theatre at Night Festival 2012, Singapore

So get crafty and get to work; don’t forget to watch the Singapore theatre group’s One Fine Day shadow puppetry performance in the same area too.

Date and Time: August 24, 25, from 8pm to 10pm
Location: National Museum of Singapore, Glass Atrium

 

4. Watch light installations transform Singapore museums
See how museum facades come alive with light, spot giant eyeballs peering back at you and more quirky light installations all around Singapore museums.

Night Watch by WOKmedia at Night Festival 2012, Singapore
Night Watch by WOKMEDIA at SAM at 8Q

Held in conjunction again with Nuit Blanche Paris, expect creative play of shadows and light at museums and around the Bras Basah district.

Night Festival 2012 Mimoid II  at Night Festival 2012, Singapore Night Festival 2012 Childrens Dreams at Night Festival 2012, Singapore
(L-R): MIMOID II by Stephane Beve, Milosh Luczynski and Philippe Rizzotti and Children’s Dreams by Jerome Donna and Public Lighting Department of Lyon

You know you shouldn’t miss these; the installations are just photo-worthy, with or without your favourite Instagram filters.

Date and Time: August at various locations. Visit the Night Festival website for more information.

 

5. Join a night walk at Fort Canning
On this night journey, find out about the things you never knew about Fort Canning on this historical walking tour. See ancient artefacts and listen to stories you never knew about this historic spot.

Date and Time: August 31, September 1 from 7pm to 8pm
Location: Fort Canning. Email lim_shen_jean@nparks.gov.sg or call 6332 5795 for more information.

 

6. Eat your fill of Singapore fare
Besides the line of food stalls on festival grounds, don’t miss the Nestle 1930s Street stall if you’re looking for old-school keepsakes.

Night Festival 2012 Nestle booth at Night Festival 2012, Singapore
The Nestle booth at Night Festival 2012

The Nestle booth will stock five-stones, marbles and Nestle goodies; and serve free cups of Nescafe White Coffee too.

On a separate note, there’s also free ice cream to be had at the Peranakan Museum; from 6pm this weekend, the museum’s first 500 visitors will get this icy treat each.

Date and Time: August 24 and 25, from 7pm to 10pm
Location: National Museum of Singapore, SIngapore Management University and the Peranakan Museum

 

7. Spot “policemen” on stilts
Clad in the old khaki uniforms of Singapore Police Force, the performers of “Mata On the Go!” will roam the festival grounds on tall stilts and mingle with festival-goers.

Mata on the go for Night Festival 2012 Singapore

What are they on the prowl for, and why are they dressed in those uniforms? We can’t say for sure but be warned; you’ll easily become as part of the performance as they are.

Date and Time: August 24, 25, from 8.30pm to 12.30am

 

8. Catch an open air movie screening
Tired of wandering around the festival grounds? Take a break and sit under the banyan tree for an open air movie screening. The two films to be screened: Labu and Labi and My Mother-in-Law by the late Malaysian entertainment icon, P. Ramlee.

Date and Time: August 24, 25 at 8pm and 10pm
Location: National Museum of Singapore, Stamford Green

 

9. Attend free photography classes
With this many photo opportunities, you’ve more reason to hone your night photography skills.

Learn to take better photos at night and join a guided tour around the light installations. ClubSNAP will host photography tours around the art installations at the Singapore Art Museum; this way, you’re certain to spot each and every light exhibit on display.

Want to make your shots more memorable? Besides mastering photography techniques, it’s a matter of perspective; and that eye for detail. Singapore photographers Ukay Cheung and Zakaria Zainal will share tips on how to take photos that you’ll treasure at the Canon EOS World workshops.

Date and Time: August 24 and September 1. Visit www.canon.com.sg/eosworld and the Night Festival website for more information.

 

10. Get free analogue snaps at Peek!’s photo booth
If you still can’t shoot it right, just pose for it. Commemorate your Night Festival experience in photo at Peek’s photo booth. Get camera-ready and snap away with Lomography cameras, fun filters and more. Peek! will upload all analogue and polaroid photos on their Facebook page; just log on to Facebook to download and tag your snaps.

Date and Time: August 24, 25, 31 and September 1, from 7.30pm to 12 am
Location: 36 Armenian Street, #01-04/ 02-04, Singapore 179934

Night Festival 2012 is held on August 24, 25, 31 and September 1 at Bras Basah from 7pm to 2am.