Here’s how live performances at Esplanade is like in the new normal

Since cinema operators were given the green light to reopen their theatres to movie-goers in July earlier this year, the arts community has been eagerly awaiting their turn to stage performances once again.

Now, working closely with authorities including the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) as well as the National Arts Council (NAC), these arts venues have been taking steps in the right direction.

The Esplanade, for one, has officially wrapped up its pilot season which tested three different performance formats. These live performance trials, of which some are open to the public to attend, will go a long way in helping Singapore’s arts and culture sector experience the progressive reopening it has been hoping for.

Besides the Triple Bill Concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall (Sep 13) which saw invited guests only with e-tickets and assigned seats issued, there was the first come, first served basis of the Orkestra Melayu Singapura at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre which ran on Sep 12 as well. The performing arts theatre also partnered with the Singapore Dance Theatre to pilot a small-scale performance of From Here On (Sep 23), a ticketed event open to the public held at the Esplanade Theatre. All events had a maximum capacity of 50 pax; and no—performers need not don masks.

, Here’s how live performances at Esplanade is like in the new normal
From Here On (Pilot Trial Performance) ran smoothly and similarly to a full dress rehearsal at the Esplanade Theatre. (Credit: Bernie Ng, courtesy of Singapore Dance Theatre)

In order to ensure the success of these trials for the sake of all future public performances, Esplanade has spared no effort in erecting multiple sanitation points while implementing safety protocols followed to a tee by ushers and management alike.

For instance, all attendees entering the concert venues must scan yet another SafeEntry QR code before visiting a contactless sanitation station to cleanse their hands. Next, for ticketed performances, an e-ticket must be produced to the usher while standing 1m apart from other visitors. As you wait for your turn to be seated, social distancing remains a priority as well.

With the help of Sistic’s booking system, ticketed events will offer assigned seats to patrons via a “bubble wrap” system which keeps everyone at arm’s length from all sides. As for outdoor spaces, the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre provided seat markings which abides by the government’s social distancing regulations. Once a total of 50 participants have been seated, the venue will be barricaded to prevent further entry.

Staggered exits have also been introduced to curb the overcrowding that tends to occur once the performances end and patrons leave the venues.

In writing, the measures may seem like a lot, but rest assured that these implementations are all done to keep attendees and staff safe and healthy amid the ongoing pandemic. Besides, the excitement and entertainment (not to mention friendly crew of ushers) will more than make up for the hassle.

Your chance to catch your favourite shows again may be arriving sooner than you think.

More information about Esplanade’s safety measures available here.