Theatre Café at the Church

Being PR-manager of the successful Singapore Repertory Theatre Charlotte Nors knows a lot about the daily life of a theatre in Singapore. A knowledge she was happy to share with the 15 people attending the Danish Seamen’s Church’s café night on Wednesday October the 18th.
According to reverend Hans Vestergaard Jensen of the Seamen’s Church there is not a tradition among Singaporeans to go to the theater. A fact that Charlotte Nors and the Singapore Repertory Theatre is doing a lot to change.
“Charlotte Nors explained that her theatre is trying to make a tradition amongst future generations for going to the theatre. They do that by making quality plays with professional actors for the children. In that way the children gets to know the theatre and the theatre’s hope is that, when grown up, these children will continue to go to the theatre and later bringing their own kids,” Hans Vestergaard Jensen explains.
Today most plays at Singaporean theatres are imported plays and musicals from USA and Great Britain, but the Singapore Repertory Theatre has a plan to change that.Charlotte Nors told that the theatre is paying authors a year’s salary in order to make them write plays tailored for the Singaporean audience and hopefully attracting a bigger audience.
And a bigger audience is more than welcome in the Singaporean theatres, which are much more dependent on sponsorships and ticket sales than theatres in Charlotte Nors’ native Denmark. Charlotte Nors’ job is to promote the theatre and raise funds for future plays.
“Charlotte Nors explained that on Århus Theatre in Denmark, where she used to work, the state subsidized 60 per cent of the expenses. In Singapore it is only four per cent,” Hans Vestergaard Jensen says.
However, in spite of limited financial help from the state, the Singapore Repertory Theatre is very successful. Their latest success is the Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress. A musical about the life of a young Chinese concubine in love. Played to 60,000 people in 2003, the musical is playing again now in the Esplanade theatre.But making theatre is not about making profit. A success like the Forbidden City gives the Singapore Repertory Theatre a chance to present experimental theatre to the Singaporean audience. A kind of theatre that does not attract crowds like the Forbidden City, but enriches the cultural life of Singapore.

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