'Esplanade Offstage' takes arts buffs behind the scenes of Esplanade productions

(SCREENCAP: Esplanade Offstage)

SINGAPORE — Often wonder what goes behind a production at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay? Or desire to learn more about an artist? Now’s your chance.

The performing arts centre on Thursday (17 October) unveiled Esplanade Offstage, a “multimedia companion site” to its main website for the public to educate themselves about the performing arts in Singapore and Asia.

“We produce new content for Offstage in collaboration with artists from Singapore and around the world who perform at Esplanade, and also curate and repurpose content taken from our archives of 17 years of recordings of performances at Esplanade,” said the centre’s head of communications and content, Clarissa Oon.

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The online “all-access backstage pass”, which went live on Thursday, includes a video series titled “Cargo Lift Sessions” where musicians who have played at Esplanade are filmed performing unplugged in its cargo lift, behind-the-scenes interviews, musicians’ playlists of songs that inspire them as well as educational series on traditional music forms.

There, visitors can also access Plays From Singapore Theatre, an archive of programme guides, essays and forum transcripts from The Studios: fifty season in 2015, where 50 landmark Singapore plays were revived or read and talked about. The archive also includes TributeSG, a collection of nearly 200 biographies of Singapore’s arts and cultural pioneers.

“This is part of the arts centre’s ongoing efforts to use digital tools and digital media to extend the arts experience to beyond our four walls, and to enrich the understanding of the arts in Singapore and Asia among general audiences, schools and researchers,” said Oon.

Oon added that Esplanade’s digital efforts are not just taking place online, but within the centre itself.

For instance, in the upcoming performance of The Far Side of The Moon on 1 and 2 November, the centre would be trialing the use of an assisted hearing system for hearing-impaired beneficiaries from several social services organisations, she said.

“The idea is to use technology to make the experience of going for performances richer and more inclusive,” Oon said.

The performing arts centre opened its doors officially on 12 October, 2002.

Earlier in June, it broke ground for a 550-seat waterfront theatre. The $30 million venue, which will be named Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade for the first 15 years, is set to open in 2021.

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