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Backstage Pass: Artist Liaison Officer

What does an Artist Liaison Officer do?


Published: 31 Oct 2023

Time taken : ~10mins

What exactly does an Artist Liaison Officer do? How important is their role here at Esplanade? Read on to find out, and then take our quiz!  

This is Timothy! He is an Artist Liaison Officer.

Did you know that Esplanade has over 3,500 programmes in a year? If each programme features at least one artist, could you imagine how many artists pass through Esplanade’s doors each year? That’s certainly a lot of artists to take care of!  

Here is where an Artist Liaison Officer (ALO) comes in. 

ALO, is it me you’re looking for?

Think of ALOs as super hosts! Like hosts, they are responsible for taking care of the artist’s needs and providing them with an enjoyable and unforgettable experience at the Esplanade. The job of an ALO is a part-time one and thus they are only called upon when their help is needed. 

ALOs are often the middlemen between the artist and the programmer. A programmer is someone who comes up with ideas and plans the performances that take place in Esplanade! The programmer lets the ALOs know what the artist's schedule will be like.

ALOs help to play the role of a timekeeper and ensure that the artists keep to the schedule that is set for them. They have to make that artists keep to the schedule so that they can make it in time for rehearsals, the performance and more! ALOs are also the point of contact for both artists and programmers whenever there is anything that needs to be communicated to either party during the show weekend.  

Watch the video below to find out what happens before an ALO meets the artists! 

The tools of the trade

As ALOs are responsible for the comfort and well-being of artists, they need to be well prepared when they are on duty. Have you ever wondered what important items an ALO like Timothy carries while he is on the job? Let’s find out!  

Meeting the artists

It can be quite daunting for international artists who are travelling to Singapore for a performance (especially if it’s their first time!) and an ALO is the person who takes good care of them! ALOs are usually the first person an artist meets when they arrive in Singapore, and often the ones that artists will reach out to if they need any help or encounter any issues. Let’s follow Timothy as he meets the artists!  

It’s show time!

One of the main tasks of an ALO is to accompany the artists on their official schedule. As these artists may be new to Singapore and Esplanade, ALOs help by not only coordinating their transportation to and from their hotels and the airport but by also guiding them around the Esplanade venues. ALOs also help with administrative tasks like collection of artist passes and usually bring the artists to their rehearsals, sound checks and finally when it’s show time! Let’s find out what an ALO does leading up to the show!  

The work of an ALO can be quite challenging especially when the schedules are long and if the artists are required to move around a lot from place to place. Even changes in the weather can affect an ALO’s job as they may have to make last minute transport arrangements for the artists. An ALO has to be able to adapt to the changing situation but the uncertainty of what the day brings is also what makes their job quite exciting! 

Most of the time, ALOs are with the artist from the moment they land in Singapore and up until when they leave. This makes goodbyes for ALOs quite sad, having spent a lot of time with the artists. As Timothy puts it—

Almost every assignment is unique as we are dealing with people, but sending off an artist or a group always creates butterflies in my stomach. The sense of achievement, sense of connection with the artist/group, and sadness of parting will all appear during these moments.

Timothy sending off the artist Nadine Adrianna at the airport.

Timothy answers some questions and tells us more about his job as an artist liaison officer

Q: How long have you been an ALO?  

Timothy: I joined as an ALO in January 2018, so it's been more than 5 years. 


Q: Why did you want to become an ALO? 

Timothy: It's an interesting and definitely an enjoyable role! I enjoy watching performances, so I am also able to enjoy the show while working. 


Q: What kind of skills do ALOs need to have? 

Timothy: I would say the ability to multitask will help to complete any task smoothly. Communication skills are important as well.  


Q: What training did you have to go through before you can become an ALO?  

Timothy: There's ALO training provided before we are assigned to a job. The training will include almost everything we need to knowfrom the history of Esplanade, our role and responsibilities, an orientation to the different venues at Esplanade, first aid training, as well as the flow of the activities I am expected to carry out, from start to end. 


Q: What are some challenges you’ve faced while on the job?  

Timothy: Most often, time is the main enemy while doing the job. Managing bigger groups can also definitely be difficult, especially when they go off to different places during their free time. Gathering them all together on time is the biggest challenge.  


Q: Who was your favourite artist/artists that you have worked with, and why?

Timothy: I’ve had an enjoyable time working with all the artists/ group during my assignment so far. But the Korean Indie band ADOY was quite memorable. When they passed me their signed CD, they left me a special note. I also received a goodbye hug from all the band members during airport send off. They were supposed to come back to Esplanade, but the pandemic happened, and their show had to be cancelled.  


Q: What advice do you have for someone who is keen to be an ALO?  

Timothy: This is the kind of work that won't feel like work if you enjoy performing arts. While it takes time to improve your skills as an ALO and to be more comfortable in the job, the more times you do it, the better you will be for your next assignment. Plus, help is always around if you need it. You can approach any ALO if you need assistance. 

Take the quiz!