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    Mar 10, 2016

    Stadium makes possible firsts like drones, indoor fireworks

    THIS year's National Day Parade is set to dazzle with a slew of firsts - from drones and 3D projections to indoor fireworks and large props and performers suspended in the air.

    And this is all thanks to a fresh venue with a 82.5m-tall roof which will provide the vertical space for these mid-air stunts.

    The nation's 51st birthday bash, which will return to the National Stadium after a decade, will carry the theme Building Our Singapore Of Tomorrow.

    The parade's executive committee chairman, Brigadier-General Kenneth Liow, who announced this yesterday, said his team wanted a "futuristic" concept to mark the first chapter after Singapore's Golden Jubilee last year.

    "NDP 2016 will be forward-looking as we celebrate the first of the next 50 years of our Singapore story," said BG Liow, 46.

    "It is about all of us, individually and collectively, anchored on our values and love for Singapore, and building on the contributions and sacrifices of our pioneers, to shape our Singapore of tomorrow."

    Close to 10,000 participants will be singing, dancing and marching in this year's parade, organised by the army's armour formation.

    The 55,000-seat dome-shaped stadium at the Sports Hub will let about 275,000 people catch the spectacle.

    Apart from the Aug 9 parade, there will be two preview shows for people to watch and two National Education rehearsal shows for primary school pupils. In all, the number of spectators will be more than twice that of previous years.

    Tickets for the actual parade and preview shows will be allocated by ballot.

    The chief armour officer said the show is partly inspired by last year's SEA Games ceremonies, which were also staged at the stadium and featured performers and props suspended from the roof "to produce a 3D show".

    While the performance area, spanning about 120m by 80m, is similar to that of the Padang, BG Liow said his team will be exploiting the vertical dimension of the National Stadium.

    Providing the show's creative direction will be theatre veteran Beatrice Chia-Richmond, who helmed last year's SEA Games ceremonies. She was also the creative director for the 2011 NDP.

    This year's parade will also be synonymous with a geometric heart - the centrepiece of the official logo designed by Singapore Polytechnic student Lim Xin Chelsea, 19.

    Her design was shortlisted from about 250 submissions and eventually chosen by a public vote.

    The third-year visual communications and media design student spent 10 days during her examination period last year coming up with the artwork.

    "The heart, with its four shades of red, represents the diversity of Singapore and our various races and religions living together in harmony," said Ms Lim.

    This year's parade is expected to cost $39.4 million, with a chunk of the budget going towards renting the venue. This makes it the second most costly NDP after last year's Golden Jubilee edition, which amounted to $40.5 million.

    Several perennial crowd favourites will be excluded from this year's show.

    The Red Lions will not be parachuting into the stadium, for safety reasons.

    Also absent will be the aerial displays and mobile column of a convoy of military vehicles.

    But BG Liow stressed that other popular segments will remain, citing items such as the military tattoo display, the state flag fly-past and the fighter aircraft aerial salute.

    But returning to the stadium after a 10-year hiatus is "an opportunity to try something new", said BG Liow, adding: "We'll see whether the public takes to (it)."