Organisation Transformation Grant Case Study
SRIWANA - Developing Skills
for Physical, Digital and Hybrid Programmes
SRIWANA established the necessary infrastructural and talent support to be self-sufficient in producing quality virtual programmes. Through the project, it became equipped with the essential equipment to produce virtual programmes, obtained guidance on its digital programming strategy, and trained an in-house production team to produce and execute digital programmes.
SRIWANA is one of the oldest surviving Malay non-profit performing arts groups in Singapore, with a history of over 60 years. With the uptick in digital programmes, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the dance organisation has found it challenging to keep up with the digital trends, maintain constant social media presence and improve production standards. SRIWANA lacked the proper technological equipment and production expertise, and found itself often turning to external service providers and vendors, which translated to higher costs and reduced revenue.
SRIWANA’s vision for transformation is the ability to continuously produce quality content on its social media platforms—so as to better engage with its audience online, expand its target markets, participate in international virtual programmes with confidence, and boost marketing for physical events. SRIWANA thus sought to be self-reliant in digital productions, with the requisite production equipment and skills residing in-house. The Organisation Transformation Grant (OTG) therefore presented SRIWANA with an opportunity to revise and renew its service offerings that cater to all 3 types of productions—physical, digital and hybrid. SRIWANA refers to this as its “3-mode capability” strategy.
Outcomes in a Nutshell
A revamped studio space with recording and production equipment
Trained an in-house digital production team
The team as a whole, trained with the necessary skills, became more forthcoming and willing to pick up digital production. Core members of the in-house production team gained a new skill set. “The transformation project has allowed some of our group members to explore their interest, execute their self-learnt knowledge and for others, to develop their potential and expertise to scale greater heights,” observed Fauziah Hanom Yusof, President & Artistic Director of SRIWANA.
SRIWANA is one of the oldest surviving Malay non-profit performing arts groups in Singapore, having been in the local arts scene for over 60 years. Throughout its history, SRIWANA had continually invested in improvements such as updating its marketing toolkit, redesigning its website and digitising a wealth of dance and drama archives – in a bid to fulfil its mission of promoting, upholding, and enriching the Malay arts and culture scene.
But with the uptick in digital programmes, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the dance organisation has found it challenging to keep up with the digital trends, maintain constant social media presence and improve production standards. SRIWANA lacked the proper technological equipment and production expertise to create digital products. For example, the group relied on its members’ personal devices (cameras, mobile phone and laptops) to record its programmes. The output quality from different gadgets differed greatly, affecting the quality of their digital products.
As a result, SRIWANA often had to turn to external service providers and vendors for digital productions, which translated into higher costs and reduced revenue.
SRIWANA realised it needed a new approach to tackle the rapid demands of digitalisation. “Physical performances cannot be simply replicated in virtual platforms, and there is a need to find new ways to interact with the audience and have the content curated for them,” said Fauziah Hanom Yusof, President & Artistic Director of SRIWANA. The Organisation Transformation Grant (OTG) therefore presented SRIWANA with an opportunity to revise and renew its service offerings that cater to all 3 modes - physical, digital and hybrid. SRIWANA refers to this as its “3-mode capability” strategy.
Its goal for transformation was to get the necessary infrastructural and human capital support to be self-sufficient in producing quality virtual programmes. The key objectives were: One, be equipped with the necessary equipment to produce virtual programmes, such as recording equipment and a convertible studio; two, get guidance on the digital and technical strategy; and three, train the team with necessary skills to execute digital programming. SRIWANA’s ultimate vision is the ability to independently produce quality content on its social media platforms, and increase its audience engagement.
Discovery. Learning-by-Doing. Overcoming Challenges.
SRIWANA identified 15 performances that it could potentially convert into digital products, and started a pilot on 2 of them. The team worked with a digital consultant, Richard Prayoga of RPProds, to determine the programming strategies, target audience, and style of content (for example, bite-sized chunks of 5 minutes presentation versus 30 minutes of recorded showcase).
The SRIWANA team used the pilot to gain insights on the different content strategies to adopt for different markets; for example, the Arts Education Programme (AEP) to strengthen its target market of schools, and Peti Seni programme for new markets like the heritage-focused market
SRIWANA transformed its existing studio, equipping it with the necessary hardware and software for producing digital programmes, for both pre-recorded and live streaming. Richard provided technical guidance on equipment specifications.
“It is interesting to note that pre-COVID-19, SRIWANA had executed a mini dance show in our studio itself where we converted a section of the studio to a stage area, and had multiple small groups of 5 to 8 dancers. Unbeknownst to us [at that time], we had executed dances that fitted current pandemic group size requirements. This reflection gave us the confidence to work on such small group performances in ways that we can monetise the programme,” said Fauziah of the studio transformation.
SRIWANA appointed certain members to form a media team to learn the ropes from Richard, who taught them equipment operation (such as the camera angles, camera position, difference in camera lens) and post-production editing skills.
“The transformation project has allowed some of our group members to explore their interest, execute their self-learnt knowledge and for others, to develop their potential and expertise to scale to greater heights,” observed Fauziah. Certain members who had brief knowledge and experience with production were able to gain a new skill set and further develop their foundation. One example was of Harziana, a senior member in SRIWANA, who played a key role in this project; eventually she was able to lead the team, shape the direction, visualise and break down the requirements of producing a programme, and highlight important details. Another of SRIWANA’s young members, Nadia, learnt cinematography and camera work from Richard.
Fauziah recounted the organisation’s steep learning curve in setting up its media team: “Considering the massive amount of time and effort required to produce such programmes, we now recognise that members should have a passion for digital content creation before committing to it.” This became a learning point for future selection of the in-house production team. The organisation also learnt that the production team should be a separate team from the dancers. During the pilot, some members had played double roles - as a crew and dancer - due to manpower constraints.
“As the saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect’,” recounted Fauziah. “We noticed that our members have become more forthcoming and willing to participate or learn from digital projects. We hope that they gain more confidence with each programme, so as to form our core in-house production team as part of SRIWANA’s growth.”
While some compromises had to be made on quality due to budget constraints during the pilot, SRIWANA nevertheless believes that the project was an important stepping stone towards gaining self-reliance in digital programme production. As next steps, SRIWANA aims to digitally produce the remaining 13 programmes and present bigger productions, such as a 2-hour live show or hybrid production. With improved production quality, SRIWANA now has more confidence to participate in overseas virtual festivals, thus enhancing its reputation in the international dance scene. It is also confident that higher-quality digital images would help with marketing of its physical events such as corporate functions and weddings.
“This support from OTG has allowed us to create programmes that are beyond SRIWANA’s typical works and ideas,” said Fauziah.
This project has been supported by NAC's Organisation Transformation Grant. For more information and resources on NAC's grant schemes, please visit: https://www.nac.gov.sg/