Kallang Theatre To Close In 2007

 

The Kallang Theatre, managed by the National Arts Council (NAC), will cease operations on 31 March 2007.

 

The decision to close Kallang Theatre was reached after careful review of its strategic relevance within the context of Singapore’s arts facilities and infrastructure; its historical and functional value; and the likely impact of its closure on the arts scene.

 

For the past 20 years, the theatre has played a part in the development of the arts in Singapore, serving as an interim performing arts venue until the Esplanade came into full operation in 2002. Converted from a cinema in 1986, the Kallang Theatre is not a purpose-built performing arts centre. As the arts landscape of Singapore progresses with development of a wider range of new and more sophisticated venues, Kallang Theatre has waned in significance due to its structural constraints for staging large-scale arts performances, while on the other hand, it is generally too large for local arts groups which typically prefer smaller venues.

 

Since the opening of Esplanade, its overall utilisation rates have declined from 80% to 60%. Most importantly, the user profile has also changed considerably. In 2000, 60% of bookings were made by local arts groups, private impresarios and international presenters. By 2005, utilisation by the same users declined to 33% and the theatre was predominantly used by schools and non-arts related hirers. It is no longer critical for NAC to operate the Kallang Theatre.

 

With the Esplanade in operation for some time now and alternative venues available, there is no immediate shortage of venues with capacities above 1000 seats for the arts community. Venues such as the Rock Auditorium, NUS University Cultural Centre and the soon to be completed Republic Polytechnic Cultural Centre can meet the demand for similar seating capacities. NAC will continue to monitor and plan for the developmental and infrastructural needs of Singapore’s arts scene.

 

The Council has stopped accepting bookings beyond Jan 2007 and has begun informing regular users of Kallang Theatre of the eventual closure.

 

Since 1986, the Kallang Theatre has provided the stage for world class musicals as well as original local works. The 1,744 seat theatre hosted many Singapore Arts Festival shows and major productions such as Cats, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Ninagawa's Macbeth, the Paris Opera Ballet, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Miss Saigon. It will no doubt be remembered by audiences and many who have worked and played there. The Council will cherish its memories of the theatre.