Old booklets from Victoria Concert Hall and photos of early Singapore loaned to NHB

SINGAPORE - Programme booklets dating back to the 1950s and 60s from performances such as Swan Lake and the Nutcracker at Victoria Concert Hall have been loaned and donated to the National Heritage Board (NHB).

The NHB has also received photographs from the same time period detailing life in Singapore.

Ms Helen Lyou, executive director of Bibi and Baba, which specialises in the production of uniforms, contributed the old programme booklets which will be on display at the hall's upcoming heritage gallery.

Said the 70-year-old ballerina, who had attended and performed at hundreds of these shows: "I am sharing these booklets as they reflect how the music, dance and art scene was incredibly vibrant in those days. Singapore wasn't a cultural desert and these booklets show how busy our theatres were."

The photos come from retired cameraman Mun Chor Seng, 76, from the time he worked at the defunct Television Singapura. The professionally shot images, taken on and off duty, show a side of Singapore few captured in the early days.

Some of the highlights from his pool of 10,000 or so loaned images include shots of labourers at work, squatters at home, the busy Chinatown market and the granite quarries of Pulau Ubin.

He also shot a multitude of historic events such as Singapore's first National Day Parade in 1963 and then-president Yusof Ishak giving a speech to launch the country's black and white television services the same year.

NHB's group director of policy Alvin Tan said that it has been receiving a growing number of community contributions over the past four years, alongside its expanded outreach efforts.

He said centres such as the Malay Heritage Centre and the upcoming Indian Heritage Centre also thrive on artefacts donated or loaned from the public.

He said: "We are encouraged by these generous contributions which will increase NHB's stock of heritage assets and enhance the work undertaken by our researchers and historians."

Documentaries and research projects based or Mr Mun's collection, which also includes videos, are in the works.