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MDA's new term licence scheme draws flak from theatre practitioners

Published on Mar 13, 2013 2:34 PM
 
Twelve Angry Men by Nine Years Theatre (Singapore) was staged at the Esplanade Theatre Studio on Feb 15, 2013. Many Singapore theatre practioners interviewed by Life! expressed disappointment with the Media Development Authority's new term licence scheme. -- FILE PHOTO: THE ESPLANADE

An administrative step forward, but potentially two steps back when it comes to openness and trust.

Many Singapore theatre practioners interviewed by Life! expressed disappointment with the Media Development Authority's new term licence scheme that will give out yearly licences to stage performances, instead of on a per-event basis, and allow arts groups to classify some or virtually all of their own performances without the need to submit scripts to MDA.

The yearly-licensing scheme divides groups into two tiers. Tier 1 groups can self-classify performances with a General rating and without racial, religious or political content. Groups selected for Tier 2 can self-classify all scripted performances. But their licence to do so is subject to an annual review, in which the MDA will evaluate whether licensees have complied with regulations and classified performances accurately.

Theatre practitioners say this additional layer of checks betrays the lack of trust in artists, and amounts to "regulating how we regulate".

 
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