Hello from #Mydurian: CHAIRMAN — LEE TZU YANG
Chairman — Lee Tzu Yang
So many of our experiences went “digital” last year—from attending meetings and conferences to buying household items and meals. So it seems only natural that Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay’s annual report for FY2020/2021 is presented to you online as a microsite for the first time.

In a never-ending rollercoaster ride battling COVID-19, the arts industry in Singapore persevered and brought much-needed comfort, respite and inspiration to people through the arts. As the national performing arts centre, Esplanade remains committed to make the arts available to everyone, be it digitally or through onsite live performances. We support our artistic community by providing a safe space for them to create and present their works in different formats. [Refer to infographics on how Esplanade overcame the challenges during the pandemic here]

For most of the year, we could engage our audiences only in the virtual world with digital performances either repurposed from our archives, pre-recorded or live-streamed, and conducted online workshops and talks. We worked with artists and partners, leveraging on their social fan base to widen our reach, and even launched our very own TikTok channel with content for youth by youth. In total, Esplanade presented 441 programmes online, receiving over 2.2 million video views in FY2020/2021. Esplanade Offstage garnered about half a million total page views, 208% that of FY2019/2020 when the microsite was then named Esplanade Learn.

As the nation stayed united and fought on, Esplanade continued to work closely with the National Arts Council (NAC) to host a series of pilot trial performances with safe management measures in place at various venues in September 2020. These experiences helped build the public’s confidence in coming back to the arts centre and ensured we were operationally ready when live performances officially resumed in November 2020. From then till the end of the financial year in March 2021, Esplanade presented and supported more than 1,200 live or onsite performances and activities, reaching over 100,000 live audiences.

We could not have done these without the continued support from the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY). As part of the Arts and Culture Resilience Package, MCCY’s digitalisation fund and venue hire subsidy scheme enabled many of our artists and arts organisations to continue honing their craft and presenting their works at Esplanade, both through recorded and live performances. The Esplanade Mall tenants benefitted from MCCY’s rental waiver support. We took it further by extending rental rebates to our tenants in need, as we recognised that the arts and cultural sector was slow to re-open and that general footfall in the city centre was low with many still working from home.

We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the Tote Board Family, comprising Tote Board, Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club for their unwavering support of Esplanade’s Community Programmes, which promote social cohesion and bonding. We remain grateful to our sponsors and donors who believe in our social mission to serve the community through the arts. In its second year of being an Esplanade Partner, Ming Yi Foundation continues to be associated with our Chinese festivals such as Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts, and some of our key Community Programmes.

My personal appreciation goes to my fellow board members for their tireless dedication and commitment to Esplanade. We thank our outgoing board member Valarie Wilson for her invaluable counsel and contributions, and warmly welcome Clara Lim-Tan on our board.

I would also like to thank our staff and volunteers, so ably led by our CEO Yvonne Tham through this difficult year, for demonstrating both grit and flexibility, patience and determination, in keeping faith with those who depend on us.

The path ahead in FY2021/2022 continues to be uncertain and fraught with challenges. Team Esplanade will continue to press on and bring the arts to many more, setting the scene for enriching, life-long journeys with the arts.

Lee Tzu Yang - Signature
Lee Tzu Yang