Singapore will soon add two new venues to its clutch of theatre spaces. Wild Rice's new home at Funan mall has met with construction delays, but the 360-seat theatre is scheduled to open in August. The Esplanade broke ground last week for its new 550-seat space, which is scheduled to open in 2021. Some may wonder about the need for more theatre spaces, given the multiple state-of-the-art venues already available. But the new smaller venues are a godsend to the increasing number of medium-sized performing arts companies in Singapore.
Arts groups have come a long way in the past 20 years. But it is a struggle for most to leap from developing small studio shows for 200-to 300-seat spaces to the larger halls, which usually accommodate about 2,000 people. Mid-sized spaces bridge that gap and allow arts groups to produce more commercially viable works for longer runs without having to overextend their resources.