1985: Theatre doyen Kuo Pao Kun, artistic director of Practice Performing Arts Centre (PPAC), submits a proposal to the Government to turn a disused Public Utilities Board substation in Armenian Street into an arts centre.
1990: The Substation opens in September. Supported by a $1.07 million contribution from the then Ministry of Community Development, the three-storey space is equipped with a 170-seat theatre, a 150 sq m art gallery, a 130 sq m dance studio, an arts bookshop, three practice rooms, an audio-visual resource room, a garden cafeteria and a central booking office. The Necessary Stage's play, Those Who Can't, Teach, opens the black box. The centre is denied IPC (Institution of a Public Character) status thrice, impeding its efforts to raise another $1 million to cover running costs.