Beijing has “The Bird’s Nest”. Singapore’s Esplanade is sometimes referred to as “The Durians”. Now, meet “The Egg” – Singapore’s new S$20m venue for arts performances.
The oval-shaped Genexis Theatre is sandwiched between two office buildings at Fusionopolis at one-north, an upcoming R&D hub in Singapore. It is the first theatre built by JTC, Singapore’s largest industrial landlord.
JTC’s Assistant CEO, Philip Su, said: “They (the tenants) wanted a space for them to launch their products, they wanted a space for them to hold specific conferences.
“And because of the proximity to all these scientists, engineers, media people, we wanted to position this theatre together with the common area here to be a science-based, arts-based location. So now, you can have a science festival here and an arts festival here.”
JTC had initially planned to build an auditorium, but decided to double their budget and go for an experimental theatre instead, since there is a demand for it.
Mr Su said: “Most of the performing arts centres, venues, they’re very much restricted to a fixed configuration. And those that are not fixed, whether it’s the Arts House or the Substation, you find that the numbers for the audience are not big enough.
“Here we want to marry both, the intimacy of a good performance with the closeness to the artists, and yet in the same breath be able to seat more people 50-70 cm away from the performances.”
Research for the theatre started in 2005. Surveys were done with several arts groups and venues in Singapore, including The Esplanade, which said that an experimental theatre like Genexis would add value to the local performing arts scene.
The theatre’s unique features include 560 adjustable seats which can be moved in any direction, or kept, depending on the event; 400,000 timber beads which line the curved walls as acoustic padding; and a cargo lift just behind the curtains so trucks can load up props minutes before a performance.
The Genexis also has a wired lighting grid, possibly the first built for a theatre in Singapore. Technicians can actually walk on it in any direction to reach and adjust the over 30 lights in the house.
Ahead of its launch on October 17 with Fusionopolis, Genexis has already been booked for a week-long science festival and a Christmas performance.
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 4 Oct 2008