Esplanade Theatre on the Bay in Singapore

Singapore as an island nation or to be more specific a city-state never fails to mesmerize you and hold you in complete thrall no matter how many times you visit the place. Every time you zoom into the city from its gleaming airport (that always seems as good as new) you often get the feeling that something about the city has changed drastically. With Singapore’s fast changing skyline, one gets to view different and new cityscapes with each repeat stopover.

However, of all the new structures that have come up in the city in the last two decades, nothing has added more appeal or magnificence to the city’s horizon than the Esplanade Complex or ‘Esplanade-Theatres on the Bay’. ‘The Esplanade-Theatres on the Bay’ is in fact an imposing waterfront edifice occupying a total of six hectares of land along the Marina Bay near the Singapore River’s estuary.

It is situated along the Marina Bay and covers an area of about six hectares. The credit for building such a magnificent structure goes to the DP Architects of Singapore and the Michael Wilford and Partners. The features of this hall are:

The striking feature of this theatre is the Concert Hall that includes acoustics that has been designed by Russell Johnson (one of the famed acousticians of the world.). This place is aptly suited for recitation performances and concerts. The orchestral platform is able to accommodate 120 musicians and the acoustic canopy, which is movable, just lies above the orchestral platform.

The reverberation chamber of the concert hall is about the size of four magnanimous swimming pools and features flaps as well as computer controlled doors that are 85 in number. The Pipe Organ, another most important feature of the hall boasts of 61 stops and 4470 pipes. The Concert Hall can hold upto 1,600 people and the choir stall can hold upto 200 people and if the necessity arises it can be converted into gallery seats. You can also go for the VIP boxes to watch the performances from close quarters.

The theatre can accommodate about 2,000 seats and the stage measures 23 meters in width and 39 meters in length .

It also includes an orchestra pit (an area underneath the stage, where the stage performers are accompanied by an orchestra especially in the musical plays). To witness modest performances, the Recital Studio is the place to be and it features 250 seats. Another major feature of the Esplanade is the Theatre Studio, meant for dance performances and plays that fall under the category of experimental theatre. Jandela is the venue that has been allotted for exhibition purposes as well as for visual arts. For art exhibitions this is the place to be.

Esplanade-Theatres on the Bay is the cultural hub of Singapore

Although the proposal for a comprehensive arts centre for Singapore was mooted in the seventies of the last century, construction for the Esplanade Complex started as late as 1996. It was thrown open to the public only in 2002. Built at a cost of S$ 600 million dollars, the grand structure stretching from the Marina Bay to eastern Padang comprises houses a concert hall, an auditorium, theatre, rehearsal and theatre studios, and an open air gallery. The Esplanade Mall flanking it has many restaurants, retail stores, and performing centres as well. The library@esplanade is on level three of the building.

Being one of the most bustling art complexes in the world, the Esplanade witnesses an eclectic range of performances given by varied presenters along with an extensive ensemble of programs presented everyday. The Esplanade apart from housing top notch performing arenas also offers an array of specialized facilities and lifestyle oriented services like venues for holding conferences and symposiums. But the Theatre and the Concert Hall standout as the prominent centres of interest and are linked to each other via a lobby or vestibule that skirts the entire concourse.

The building’s roof consists of two domes made up of aluminium spikes and the entire construction resembles a local fruit that Singaporeans swear by-the durian. The car park located on the mezzanine floor can house thousands of vehicles at a time. There are many world class hotels, two bid convention centres, nearly 300 restaurants, and over 1000 retail shops in the area circumscribing the complex.

Esplanade-Theatres on the Bay-the epicentre for performing arts

Recitals and concerts are regularly held in the Concert Hall that can seat almost 1,600 people and it is only one of five concert halls worldwide with advanced acoustics. There are four distinct levels of seating arrangements in the hall.

The Theatre which is shaped like a horseshoe can accommodate upto 2000 people and the acoustic facilities allow the staging of conventional Oriental and Occidental performing arts. The amenities allow for the holding of multimedia presentations as well. The theatre has been constructed in such a way that even the patron sitting at the farthest can have a crystal clear view of the stage performance.

The Recital Studio shaped like a fan, has a seating capacity of 245 people and is perfect for presentations, meetings and chamber musical soirees. The venue is also widely used for rehearsals of chorals and orchestras.

The Theatre Studio is commonly used for holding dancing programs and performances of both mainstream and parallel theatre groups. It is a small venue that has a maximum seating capacity of 220 people but is perfectly equipped to allow for various types of performances because of ambient lighting, acoustic sound system and adjustable staging.

Truly, the Esplanade-Theatres on the Bay is only one of its kind in Asia and a popular tourist attraction in Singapore.

Related Links
  • Esplanade Theatres
  • Singapore Lyric Theatre
  • Victoria theatre
  • Singapore Theatre Festival
  • Repertory Theatre
  • Theatre Festival

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