Sarah Martin is new Arts House Limited CEO

Ms Sarah Martin will be helming an expanded Arts House Limited that will also manage larger spaces such as the Victoria Theatre.
Ms Sarah Martin will be helming an expanded Arts House Limited that will also manage larger spaces such as the Victoria Theatre.PHOTO: ARTS HOUSE LIMITED

Singapore Grand Prix's director of operations takes over the running of the arts management company

Arts House Limited has a new chief executive officer and a bigger portfolio.

Singapore Grand Prix's director of operations Sarah Martin, 41, took over the helm of the arts management company yesterday, replacing outgoing chief executive Lee Chor Lin.

Arts House Limited manages the annual headline arts event, the Singapore International Festival of Arts. It also runs arts venues such as The Arts House in Old Parliament Lane, Aliwal Arts Centre in the Bugis area and the Goodman Arts Centre in Goodman Road. The last is home to the National Arts Council as well as various arts groups.

The arts council also said yesterday that from August next year, Arts House Limited will manage larger spaces such as the Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall, and the Drama Centre in Victoria Street.

These are currently handled by The Esplanade Company Limited, which manages the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay.

The Stamford Arts Centre in Waterloo Street, currently undergoing renovation, will also be managed by Arts House Limited once the revamp is completed.

That space is expected to be ready by the end of next year.

Ms Martin moved to the role of senior consultant at Singapore GP yesterday and will "look at the event's plans" until at least September next year.

She says there is to date no connection between the annual Formula One night race and her new role at Arts House Limited. Both are "unique propositions" with their own strong identities, she told The Straits Times.

Ms Martin has been operations director of the Singapore Grand Prix since it started in 2008. She remains a director of events management company Blue Sky Events, organiser of the popular Christmas Wonderland fair at Gardens by the Bay.

The Singaporean has a bachelor's degree in commerce, specialising in marketing and economics, from Curtin University in Australia.

She is no stranger to the arts - she was festival director and regional operations director of the Womad international music festival over a 10-year period in Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Korea and New Zealand.

She says: "For me, joining Arts House Limited is like coming home. It's a full 360-degree circle back to the arts."

Ms Martin's appointment and the bigger remit of Arts House Limited signal a move to more cohesive programming in the Civic District, notably between The Arts House and close neighbours Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall.

She says a top priority is to form a programming team to decide how best to use the "range of small to medium-sized venues" under the company. "The organisation has a unique set of skills from venue management to programming and the idea is to grow that," she adds.

Current headline events involving these spaces include last month's Singapore Writers Festival and Singapore International Festival of Arts, which ran this year from Aug 11 to Sept 17.

Arts House Limited is keen to attract more audiences with year-round events, but Ms Martin says it is too early for details.

Arts House Limited was set up by the outgoing CEO, Ms Lee, in 2014. It merged two arts management companies: Arts Festival Limited, responsible for the Singapore International Festival of Arts, and The Old Parliament House Limited, which managed spaces such as The Arts House.

In a statement released by the National Arts Council yesterday, the company's board thanked Ms Lee for managing the merger smoothly. It also thanked her for bringing creativity and vibrancy to the venues managed by Arts House Limited and for guiding the Singapore International Festival of Arts over the last three years.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2016, with the headline 'Sarah Martin is new Arts House Limited CEO'. Print Edition | Subscribe