After the pandemic, music and theater performances will likely use a hybrid model, according to the executive director of one of Singapore’s largest arts centers.
Yvonne Tham, CEO of Esplanade, told CNBC’s Street Signs Asia that a mix of personal and streamed appearances will be common in the future.
“A lot of artists are now really open to what is known as a hybrid, which means they perform in a certain space at a certain time, but how does this performance have an afterlife? And that’s a question we ask have posed ourselves We have produced a lot of digital programs, “said Tham on Monday.
“We will see festivals in the future that are not only limited in time and space. So it becomes very important what compliments this live experience in the digital space,” she added.
Before the pandemic, around 3,000 performances were held annually on the esplanade, which had to be closed on March 26 due to coronavirus restrictions at the venues. It has since created its Esplanade Offstage website so people can continue to watch concerts and other performances, and is now gradually opening some of its venues – Pip’s Playbox kids room reopened on October 9th, during the Jendela Visual Arts venue will reopen on October 16.
While some performances continued outdoors, Tham said others worked better indoors. “We’re looking at all the ways we can reach audiences, be it outdoors, outside in the garden, we’re looking at our concert halls. Some (performances) work much better in the concert hall, others in the theater room,” she said.
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Esplanade put on a small in-person ballet show as a trial last month, and Tham said such initiatives sell out quickly. “That really shows how good (there is) both the trust of the people in Singapore to be outside and the desire that people only sit in a concert hall,” she said.
“The art center’s work is about bringing people together and bringing communities together. I think these things are fundamental to being human and they are not going to go away,” Tham added.
The Esplanade is co-funded by the Singapore government and also generates income through its restaurants and cafes. She explores how she monetizes digital performances. Tham said the organization is also in “very close contact” with sponsors. “A system of patronage in the arts is very natural in the arts around the world, and at a time like this, the question arises of what the arts are doing to help societies recover (from the pandemic). We all know that mental health is a real problem … so we can find partners who are interested in supporting the arts and mental health, “explained Tham.