NAC and The Esplanade Company Limited seal strategic partnership



The Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) announced today that the National Arts Council (NAC) and The Esplanade Company Limited (TECL) have sealed a strategic partnership for TECL to manage Drama Centre (DC) with effect from 18 October 2010.

2.     As part of a management review, MICA announced in May 2010 that it had directed NAC and TECL to explore a strategic partnership to manage NAC's theatres, namely DC and Victoria Theatre (VT).The aims were for both NAC and TECL to benefit from each other's areas of expertise, support the development of a continued pipeline of venue management and theatre professionals to meet growing industry needs, as well as achieve greater operational effectiveness in the management of the two venues.

Partnership to boost capabilities

3.     The number of arts and cultural venues in Singapore can be expected to increase in the longer term.MICA and NAC have assessed that purpose-built mid-sized theatres will play an increasingly important role.DC is already meeting strong demand from arts and community groups, and this has led to a corresponding need for a larger pool of trained supporting professionals in technical theatre, production management and arts venue management.

4.     This partnership will enable NAC and TECL to benefit from each other's areas of expertise and better dedicate their resources to support industry needs.Under the partnership, NAC will exercise strategic oversight and continue to own and oversee the role of DC in supporting arts development.As it is important to have mid-sized theatres remain accessible and affordable to support arts presentations by our arts groups and for community enjoyment, DC will remain as a for-hire/receiving venue for the arts community.Rental rates will remain similar and will be decided by NAC.

5.     TECL will not only manage DC to support the needs of the arts industry, but also develop and implement industry capabilities for technical theatre, production management and venue management, in consultation with NAC.TECL has been playing a key role in implementing apprenticeship and other training programmes for various aspects of technical theatre, as certified under the Workforce Development Agency's (WDA) Work Skills Qualification framework.The management of DC will facilitate the training of specialised capabilities for the local arts industry in areas of technical theatre, production management and venue management in mid-sized venues.

6.     It is envisaged that such allocation, deployment and dedication of resources, will enable best industry practices to be employed, thus adding value to the arts industry.

7.     Mr Liew Choon Boon, Senior Director (Industry and the Arts), MICA, welcomed the partnership.He said: "This strategic review is a timely one, not only in terms of achieving better dedication of resources, but also because of how much the arts and cultural sector has grown.With this synergistic partnership, both NAC and TECL will be better able to engage each other's expertise and work towards an even more vibrant and professional arts scene."

Staffing arrangements

8.     NAC has been in constant communication with staff of DC and provided them full assistance during the period of the strategic partnership review. Among the nine staff in DC, six have been offered employment by TECL and will continue to be deployed at DC. For the remaining three, one has been be redeployed within NAC, another has found employment with LASALLE College of the Arts in a related capacity, and the last will be leaving to pursue other interests.

9.     Moerdani Bin Osman, a former assistant technical manager at DC, said: "I look forward to more learning opportunities in the areas of technical theatre and venue management when I become a part of the Esplanade team. I would like to thank NAC for the efforts made to ensure a smooth transition to my new job."He will be a production coordinator with TECL.

Management of Drama Centre

10.     As a for-hire/receiving arts venue, DC will not conduct any in-house programming. There will be little substantive change to venue rental rates.However, under a new basic rental package, hirers can make use of routine equipment and enjoy a greater quantum of support from technical theatre manpower at no additional cost. This will translate into greater value-for-money for hirers.

11.     In addition, the partnership with TECL will open the doors for hirers to tap on a larger pool of trained and experienced casuals. With TECL's expertise in venue management, potential hirers and the general audience can look forward an enhanced experience when they stage/attend productions at DC. To enhance customer service, DC will also have an improved dedicated website that will provide information such as rental rates, venue specifications and programming calendar.

12.     Victoria Theatre (VT) is presently closed for renovation. NAC and TECL are still in discussion on the possible management model for VT to better meet the needs of arts development.Details will be released later.

Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts

7 September 2010

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