Theatre is multi-sensory and highly communicative, bringing together literary, visual and audio elements that create an immersive and engaging experience. It is an avenue for stories to be told, feelings to be communicated, conflicts to be discussed and resolutions to be explored and found. Theatre provides a platform for experiences to be shared between those involved in creating the work onstage, off-stage, as well as with audiences.
A Thriving Theatre Scene
In the early stages, from the 1960s through to the 1990s, we saw the development of a Singapore voice in theatre with stalwarts and key organisations at the forefront of it. Today, our theatre scene has a significant base of professional companies and established artists to boast of, including a broad range of companies that explore different types of works across languages and styles: Cake Theatrical Productions, Checkpoint Theatre, Drama Box, Nine Years Theatre, Pangdemonium, Paper Monkey, Singapore Repertory Theatre, Teater Ekamatra, The Finger Players, The Necessary Stage, The Theatre Practice, T:>Works, Toy Factory, Wild Rice, Young People’s Performing Arts Ensemble.
Other organisations such as the Singapore Drama Educators Association and Centre 42 also provide support and professional development for practitioners to deepen their creative process and enhance their practice in various aspects. Singapore’s theatre calendar is packed throughout the year, with bursts of activities and commissions of theatre groups at festivals such as the Singapore International Festival of Arts. With the performing art forms becoming increasingly multi-disciplinary, audiences are also exposed to a myriad of exciting works that continue to explore pertinent themes that are close to heart.
Building the Next Generation
Experiencing the magic of theatre from a young age sets the foundation for lifelong engagement. It develops supporters of the arts in the long run, whether as audiences or patrons, while some might become practitioners. Beginning as a pilot by the National Arts Council (NAC), The Artground focuses on the Theatre for Young Audiences sector as a dedicated and accessible space for children from birth to 9 years old. These efforts for children to have positive early arts experiences across a variety of art forms are driven alongside our artists and cultural institutions that present targeted programmes for young audiences as well as through mainstream education. Beyond audience development and capability development programmes for technical theatre, NAC supports artists and groups in their adoption of digital and technology efforts in terms of funding and providing platforms for collaborations.
As we continue growing new audiences and increasing the appreciation of theatre in Singapore, NAC will support our artists to go deeper into transforming their creative processes to create quality works. We will develop a canon of local works that Singaporeans can identify with and one that allows international peers to better understand our cultures.