Going onstage (www.esplanade.com).


Building Dreams: Moerdani bin Osman

Behind the scenes of the Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade.


Published: 14 Sep 2022

By: Jane Ng

Time taken : <5mins

Over the last two years, production manager Moerdani Bin Osman (Dani) has had to work with his team to plan, and then replan, the technical production schedules for various activities because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The affected activities which lead up to the opening of the Singtel Waterfront Theatre (SWT) include the theatre fit-out, trial and orientation programme, as well as the season of commissions to be presented in conjunction with Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay’s 20th anniversary and opening of SWT.

First, the opening of the theatre was rescheduled from June to October 2022. Then, further construction delays meant that the theatre fit-out and original trial and orientation programme had to be shortened so as not to affect the start of the opening season.

With each delay, Dani would go back to the drawing board to revise the schedule and inform his respective teammates about the changes.

“There were a lot of ups and downs especially when we had to replan our opening season’s calendar a number of times because of the uncertainty during the pandemic,” said the 51-year-old who is the main liaison person between the SWT project team and technical production team, which includes the lighting, sound, staging and audio-visual teams.

“But even with the announcements of country lockdowns, travel bans and construction delays, we didn’t give up. I’m thankful for the construction team’s commitment and proud that the entire Esplanade family persevered and pushed on,” he said.  

Not being able to visit the site in the initial part of the project due to the strict safe management measures proved to be a challenge when it came to planning for the technical equipment outfitting of the theatre.

For example, he realised that his initial plan for a default lighting rig that was based on the measurements from drawings would not work the moment he stepped on site, as he saw how compact the space was. 

“As things start coming in, we had to rethink our initial approach to determine the number of lighting fixtures and speaker configurations to be installed,” he said.

Likewise, in the back-of-house area, he planned for wardrobe trolleys similar to the ones used in the other venues at Esplanade but when he made a site visit, he realised SWT’s backstage corridor was narrower and they would need smaller trolleys. 

He counts the initial site visits as one of the highlights of the SWT building journey for him. 

“Previously I had only been staring at the computer-aided drawings and could only imagine what it would be like. Once I stepped in, I felt it was finally happening. I felt a sense of everybody's hard work (paying off). It was group effort, team work,” he said.

As Dani ordered the furniture for the control room and got the technical specifications ready for the arts groups that will be performing during the opening season, he felt the exhilaration of someone planning for his new home. 

“It is like moving into a new house—what you have been planning is right in front of you. You want to be able to start serving and help the users with all the facilities,” he said. 

Check out the productions at the Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade as part of In New Light, happening from 12 Oct – 31 Dec 2022.

Building Dreams

Building Dreams is a special photography exhibition at the new Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade, where we go behind-the-scenes to find out who was involved and what went into the building of the theatre.

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