COVID-19: Live performances to resume in Singapore with small-scale pilot events

COVID-19: Live performances to resume in Singapore with small-scale pilot events

Esplanade performance
A music performance at the Esplanade. (Photo: Facebook/Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay)

SINGAPORE: After several months of hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, Singapore will pilot small-scale live performances that will serve as trials for progressive resumption on a broader scale, said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) on Friday (Aug 21).

With safe management measures in place, "they will help identify new models and best practices for these live performances to be conducted safely, and in a sustainable manner, going forward", said MCCY in a media release.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong said there will be "a couple of initiatives that we have lined up in the coming weeks", as authorities revisit existing efforts to help the arts and cultural sector.

He added: "Live performances add a buzz to our society and community. I think we all yearn to be part of a live performance. We're going to try and pilot a few live performances at a few venues to see how that works out and if it's safe enough we'll scale up.

"Of course, safety is of paramount consideration and we want to ensure that measures are in place, and that the venues are suitable. And then we can scale up thereafter."

READ: Performers eye return to the stage, say digital arts content not sustainable in the long run

MCCY and the National Arts Council (NAC) will work closely with key stakeholders to explore commissioning or programming "a range of performances for all communities that reflects Singapore’s multi-cultural character", said the ministry.

These will complement existing efforts under the arts and culture resilience package to protect the livelihoods of industry practitioners and help them emerge stronger after COVID-19, said MCCY.

Since its introduction on Apr 7, the S$55 million package has provided more than 6,000 work and training opportunities and supported more than 900 digitalisation projects and programmes, according to the ministry.

It also announced a new operating grant, which will be drawn from the package.

"Even as we initiate pilots towards safe reopening, it may be some time before arts and culture activities can resume more fully," said MCCY.

The operating grant will thus "preserve core capabilities in our arts and culture ecosystem during this period", including in closely related sectors such as media and design, it added.

READ: Resilience Package for arts and culture sector will provide support until end of 2020: Baey Yam Keng

Mr Tong, who is also Second Minister for Law, said the authorities are also looking at further help for arts freelancers who "contribute richly to our ecosystem", in particular in getting operating spaces that they can use for free.

"We also look at the Arts Resource Hub, on how we can aggregate job and training opportunities so that there's a one-stop shop for freelancers, and also to navigate the system so that they can do better in terms of seeking help," he added.

Established in November 2019, the Arts Resource Hub currently has close to 5,000 subscribers, with more than 800 freelancers having benefitted from its programmes, according to MCCY.

The ministry said freelancers will have free access to co-working spaces at Goodman Arts Centre and Stamford Arts Centre - to be reopened "over the coming weeks" - while the NAC will continue to explore commissioning more projects, training courses and digital performances.

More details on the operating grant as well as further help for freelancers will be announced, said Mr Tong.

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Source: CNA/jt

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