Stamford Arts Centre to become a centre for traditional arts

Artist impression of Stamford Arts Centre, facing Middle Road.
Artist impression of Stamford Arts Centre, facing Middle Road. PHOTO: MULTIPLY ARCHITECTS
Artist impression of Stamford Arts Centre, facing Waterloo Street.
Artist impression of Stamford Arts Centre, facing Waterloo Street. PHOTO: MULTIPLY ARCHITECTS
Mr Baey Yam Keng (third from right), Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Paul Tan, deputy chief executive of the National Arts Council (NAC) and Ms Sarah Martin, the chief executive of Arts House Limited, pictured with Singap
Mr Baey Yam Keng (third from right), Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Paul Tan, deputy chief executive of the National Arts Council (NAC) and Ms Sarah Martin, the chief executive of Arts House Limited, pictured with Singapore artists, unveiled the artist impression of the new Stamford Arts Centre on April 25, 2017. ST PHOTO: NABILAH SAID

The ageing Stamford Arts Centre in Waterloo Street will reopen as a centre focusing on traditional arts, managed by the Arts House Limited, around the middle of next year (2018).

The conserved building will have new features including a new multi-purpose hall that can fit between 120 to 160 people, a shared studio and an artist-in-residency space.

The redevelopment plans also prioritise accessibility - lifts will be installed, pathways added to connect its three separate buildings and an external side wall removed to increase visibility from outside.

There will also be shops and a food-and-beverage outlet on the first floor, occupying not more than 20 per cent of the entire space.

The entire project is expected to cost about $7 million, said Mr Baey Yam Keng, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth, who unveiled the artist impression of the new centre to reporters on Tuesday (April 25) outside the current building.

He was joined by Mr Paul Tan, deputy chief executive of the National Arts Council (NAC) and Ms Sarah Martin, the chief executive of Arts House Limited.

Arts management company Arts House Limited runs other arts spaces such as The Arts House and Aliwal Arts Centre, and presents the Singapore International Festival of Arts. From August this year, it will also take over the running of Victoria Theatre, Victoria Concert Hall and the Drama Centre from the Esplanade.

Mr Baey told reporters that the Ministry, along with the NAC and Arts House Limited, is looking at creating more spaces for local and international collaborations, and curating programmes to facilitate this. There are also plans to engage the local community in the Waterloo Street area.

"Stakeholders in the precinct have rich cultural offerings. They could also be part of the art-making process. Arts House Limited will be reaching out to them to work with the artists here to co-create new works which are relevant to the Singapore audience," he said.

Redevelopment works, undertaken by Multiply Architects, will begin from next month (May).

NAC is looking to have eight to 10 tenants in the building.

The open call for arts groups interested in being housed in the revamped centre will start in the second or third quarter of this year. Results will be released in the first quarter of 2018.

The building has been a fixture in Waterloo Street for almost a century. It was originally a Japanese school in the 1920s, and was the site for several schools including Stamford Primary School until 1986.

In 1988, it was restored as Stamford Arts Centre under the Arts Housing Scheme by the NAC.

There were eight arts groups housed in the old centre, including dance troupe Bhaskar's Arts Academy and theatre company The Theatre Practice. All have moved out since the end of last year.