Year in Review: Building a Cohesive and Sustainable Organisation
Keeping a busy arts centre running like clockwork means we have to take care of our team, make sure our facilities are well-maintained and that our environmental and financial sustainability are top of mind.
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Checking in With Our Staff

In August 2020, through a “pulse” check survey, we listened to our staff and helped to address issues faced when working from home. We are heartened that 73% of staff found meaningful ways to stay connected with each other while working from home. Following that, in March 2021, we conducted our first employee engagement survey which had a 94% participation rate. The sense of belonging to Esplanade is also apparent when 97% of staff responded that they are proud to work here.

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A Learning Organisation

The pandemic did not stop our quest to learn, as we switched from in-person, to digital, then blended learning. We introduced sharing sessions in areas of Technical Production, Programming and Community Engagement. Staff were encouraged to attend conferences virtually and the LinkedIn Learning platform was introduced. We were able to continue to invest in our staff and develop their capabilities when transiting into the new norms for work. We also launched mobile learning by Gnowbe which provided bite-size and flexible learning, useful especially for operational staff.

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Recognition of Our HR Practices

Esplanade’s Human Resources team is recognised as a Human Capital Partner by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices. This status was renewed in January 2021 after undergoing the Human Capital Diagnostic Tool assessment by the Institute for Human Resource Professionals. We adopted six of the nine Tripartite Standards practices including Contracting with Self-employed Persons, Employment of Term-Contract Employees, Flexible Work Arrangements, Grievance Handling, Recruitment Practices and Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs.

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Long Service Awards

We thank our staff for their commitment and loyalty to Esplanade by presenting them with Long Service Awards. In FY2020/2021, the Long Service Award was given to six staff for 20 years and four staff for 15 years of committed service. Another 10 staff marked their 10th anniversary and 15 staff marked their fifth anniversary at Esplanade. We would like to thank them for staying the course with the centre through thick and thin.

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Building Networks

Esplanade hosted a session of The Connectors: Professional Development Intensive 2020 organised by Arts House Limited as part of its Civic District engagement efforts. This offers an opportunity to build more networked and collaborative relationships among programming and marketing staff members of the arts institutions in the civic district, fostering organic inter-institutional sharing and the desire to create projects and programmes together. The participating institutions were Esplanade, Arts House Limited, Asian Civilisations Museum, National Arts Council, National Gallery Singapore, National Heritage Board and Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

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Refreshing Esplanade’s Waterfront

The Esplanade Waterfront is one of the key sections of the bay that offers F&B options to visitors. In anticipation of the opening of the Singtel Waterfront Theatre in 2022, the revamp will enhance the visitor experience and create a more welcoming sense of arrival. Refreshment works for new landscape designs, inclusion of urban furniture seating and updating of F&B kiosks began in January 2021 after a one-year design journey with consultants. The redeveloped waterfront will encourage people to explore, linger and enjoy the waterfront. Works are expected to be completed in December 2021.

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A Fresh New Look for Esplanade Mall

As the retail and F&B wing of the national performing arts centre which sees a large number of visitors annually, the Esplanade Mall has not had a major refurbishment since the centre opened in 2002. This year, it has been given an interior refresh. This included major Mechanical and Electrical as well as Air Conditioning and Mechanical Ventilations replacements, renovation of washrooms, replacement of floors and the provision of future infrastructure needs for IT and Technical Production networks.

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Fundraising Initiatives:

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Special Edition Durian Mooncakes in support of Esplanade

In celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, Chef Daniel Tay (founder of Bakerzin and Cat & the Fiddle) and D.Lab by Durian Edition created special edition durian mooncakes in support of Esplanade. The mouth-watering new creations were tea-infused, gold-dusted and came in specially designed boxes featuring the iconic silhouette of Esplanade. Thirty percent of the proceeds were donated to Esplanade, in support of our efforts to bring the joy of the arts to everyone, even at home!

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Esplanade Night Tour (#mydurian edition)

From 1 Dec 2020 to 25 Jan 2021, Esplanade invited everyone to rediscover #mydurian through an exclusive series of night tours. These tours took place after the centre’s closure during Singapore’s circuit breaker period. Tour participants got up close with Esplanade’s performing venues such as the majestic Concert Hall and Theatre, and gathered fun facts about its iconic architecture. Their #mydurian experiences were rounded out with a special dinner at one of the restaurants at Esplanade Mall. Everyone was also given their own set of #mydurian merchandise and a photo memento. 

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Public-initiated fundraising campaigns for Esplanade

During the year, members of the public initiated three different fundraising campaigns on the platform for Esplanade.

A group of Year 3 students from Singapore Polytechnic who had a chance to enjoy the arts at Esplanade created a campaign Transform to Perform to help raise funds for Esplanade to continue to bring the joy of the arts to everyone during the pandemic and beyond. As they recalled this joy, they wished for everyone to discover the power of arts, and wanted to turn adversity into strength. A strength that could help loved ones, the performers, as well as the community.

Remember Our Stories is a song written by Violet Tay in celebration of Singapore's National Day. She dedicated it to everyone, as a token of appreciation for the support of original Singapore music. She recalls volunteering as a youth performer with Esplanade in the past–an extraordinary and life-changing experience that brought much joy and inspiration. She organised this fundraising campaign for Esplanade, to support our programmes and in turn support our artists, to share homegrown stories and preserve our music legacy.

The Next Stage was a fundraising initiative organised by students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design in support of Esplanade's upcoming Singtel Waterfront Theatre. The new theatre serves as a platform for not only our local arts groups but also for our broader community as it enables Esplanade to further its existing community outreach efforts and extend it to future generations.