Sticky post

Talking about the Esplanade Theatres

    There were many parties involved with the development of the project.  The art centre development was overseen by a SAC Steering Committee chaired by Minister for Information & the Arts George Yeo with Advisor President Ong Teng Cheong who had by then become the first elected President of the Republic of Singapore. Other members were Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng, Liu Thai Ker, then Chief Executive Officer / Urban Redevelopment Authority, late Director-General /Public Works Department Dr Tan Swan Beng and ProfesOsor Tommy Koh, then Chairman / National Arts Council.  The Committee met monthly. The Steering Committee … Continue reading Talking about the Esplanade Theatres

Surprise Recognition from University of Essex, England

A very nice thing happened to me on 13 April 2019! The University of Essex, Colchester, England, conferred an honorary Doctor of the University on me. This was totally unexpected and especially sweet as I never did get recognition for … Continue reading Surprise Recognition from University of Essex, England

Paying special attention to the Esplanade

When Robert Iau was appointed Executive Chairman of the new Singapore Arts Centre Company, he invited me to be its General Manager giving me a fresh opportunity to work on this wonderful national project.  I could continue the work started in 1985 in MCD.   During its first few months of operation, the SAC Co Ltd was housed in premises borrowed from the National Arts Council in the PSA Building, Alexandra Road.  I worked from my office in MITA on the 37th story of the same building.   Through his Singapore Land connections, Robert found and secured a duplex unit, … Continue reading Paying special attention to the Esplanade

Chorus Line – 90 minutes late!!

The scariest / most embarrassing experience of my arts management career occurred on 24 August 1987, when our “Chorus Line” started 90 minutes late.  Chorus Line was one of three productions staged under the auspices of the SIA Great Performers’ Series in a partnership forged between my former classmate become Artistic Director Dr Robert Liew and SIA. The show was scheduled at 8pm but started at 9.30pm. After post-mortem’ing the incident with Robert, the lighting contractor Henry Ang of Electronica Musical Engineering, the National Theatre Trust technical team headed by Simon and the show agent Rafael Brown, we established that the delay was a … Continue reading Chorus Line – 90 minutes late!!

NUSS Legacy Wall

Aside from the series of exhibitions at NUSS, I had the wonderful opportunity over the last four years, to create a legacy wall of portraits of past NUSS Presidents and last month,  we had the pleasure of unveiling the four latest portraits, bringing the total number of portraits on the wall to 23. It was lucky for me and the arts that my university classmate David Ho became a successful entrepreneur and in his own time, an art collector.  When David became NUSS President, he remembered my arts management background and invited me to help NUSS develop its art programme. … Continue reading NUSS Legacy Wall

Art @ NUSS

For several years now, I’ve been quietly volunteering with the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS). I persuaded them to convert their (once full of massage chairs) members’ lounge and a corridor of bathroom doors into an art gallery. It took six months for them to paint the walls white because they were reluctant to destroy their yellow-orange  interior design, to install track lights and paintings rails. Of course, I made sure that works hanging on the walls of bathroom doors would not be at risk of damage by water. I checked and found that there were large storage cupboards … Continue reading Art @ NUSS

Art Volunteerism

From year 2018, this blog has also become my platform for sharing my stories as an arts volunteer. By “arts volunteering”, I refer to arts promotional activities pursued by someone who is NOT a paid arts administrator in an arts agency. These are arts promotion activities pursued on an unpaid basis, as an interested citizen of Singapore. While still working with Singapore Pools, I was invited to volunteer on NAC arts panels until they decided, I suppose, that they were tired of hearing my stories from the past and in need of fresh newer world-views.  I also sat on the … Continue reading Art Volunteerism

Outside the Arts Sector

After the Singapore Arts Centre Co. Ltd, I joined Singapore Pools in April 1997 where I stayed 16 years (nearly as many years as in arts management!) as Community Affairs / Corporate Social Responsibility Director until November 2013. One of my functions in Singapore Pools was to manage the Community Funding Programme and I did this till 2004 when the function was transferred to Tote Board which bought Singapore Pools from Temasek Holdings. In the funny way karma works, I was thrust into a position where I had the opportunity to advocate the cause of the Esplanade Theatres (“Juliana, please explain to … Continue reading Outside the Arts Sector

On the Inside and Outside: Theatre from the Viewpoint of an Arts Manager and Audience Member

Article published in conjunction with Esplanade’s Studio 50 (May 2015) Sea Change Around 1986, when I was at the Ministry of Community Development, I initiated an arts database (early version of KPIs), to gather information on audienceship levels and arts … Continue reading On the Inside and Outside: Theatre from the Viewpoint of an Arts Manager and Audience Member

Singapore Musical Society

This old Straits Times article on pianist Fu Tsong, reminds me that the National Music Competition of the 1980s was co-organised with the Singapore Musical Society. Indeed, it was the Society that started the tradition of annual music competitions. Quoting from framed-up document found in a former President’s home, “The Singapore Musical Society, known in the early days as the Singapore Philharmonic Society, was founded in 1902. It was a non-profit making society organisation set up to develop and promote the love of music in our Community. In addition to providing sponsorship for local and visiting musicians, the Society also … Continue reading Singapore Musical Society