Stamford Arts Centre marks re-opening with digital experiences

Stamford Arts Centre re-opened to arts groups in 2018 after a year-long, $7-million redevelopment. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Tradition and technology may seem like strange bedfellows, but that is precisely what the revamped Stamford Arts Centre in Waterloo Street has to offer.

The arts centre, which focuses on the traditional arts, has introduced two new digital features since its year-long, $7million redevelopment which ended last year (2018).

The first is an augmented reality walking trail that visitors can go on to learn more about the centre and its artists.

Then there is a Chinese opera stage tour, which uses virtual reality to give a 360-degree view of a traditional Chinese street opera stage, as well as a look at the costumes, make-up, props and instruments.

"In today's digital age, we should leverage advances in technology to reach new audiences and transform the audience experience," said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu on Friday (April 5) at the start of celebrations marking the centre's re-opening.

Stamford Arts Centre re-opened to arts groups last year (2018), with a new multi-purpose hall (Black Box), an acoustically-treated music studio, as well as an artist residency studio and other shared facilities. Lifts and walkways have also improved its accessibility.

The centre is home to five arts groups as diverse as Chinese chamber music ensemble Ding Yi Music Company, Shantha Ratii Initiatives, which explores Indian dance, and dance troupe P7:1SMA, known for its contemporary take on Malay dance.

Friday's opening celebrations kicked off three days of festivities that will last through the weekend - from a Malay and Indian dance theatre show to a live Chinese cross-talk performance. Visitors can also try out the augmented reality and virtual reality features.

Ms Fu reiterated the Government's commitment to support the traditional arts scene, with a nod to broad strategies in the Our SG Arts Plan - ranging from bolstering capabilities and content development to helping with outreach.

The National Arts Council (NAC), for example, supports the Malay Music Enrichment Course and the National Indian and Chinese Music Competitions. It also introduced the Traditional Arts Repository digital archiving project in collaboration with the National Library Board, supporting the documentation and digitisation of traditional arts groups' materials such as scores and scripts.

She added that the Stamford Arts Centre can play a key role in encouraging traditional arts groups to collaborate. It will offer residencies in traditional arts, and its location in the Waterloo Street arts belt means it is in close proximity to many arts centres, institutions and arts schools.

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