Going onstage (www.esplanade.com).

Dance Theatre Music

6 things you didn't know about Esplanade

It was never intended that Esplanade resembles a durian.


Subject: General


Level: Upper Primary

How much do you actually know about Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay?

Save for the fact that it is #mydurian and yours, most of us probably know that it’s our national performing arts centre. And that’s it.

Here are some cool facts to add on to your general knowledge about this iconic structure, significant in both our skyline and our history. Because without Esplanade, what would the arts scene look like in Singapore? Food for thought.

1. We had a three-week-long opening “party”.

By the end of its Opening Festival from 12 Oct – 3 Nov 2002, Esplanade received more than a million visitors! The arts centre has since welcomed visitors from all walks of life in the millions annually.

2. Performances at Esplanade outnumber the days in a year.

Esplanade presents international and local artists and holds about 3,500 performances and activities in a typical year. That is more than the number of days there are in a year!

3. Once upon a time, we were concrete blobs.

It might interest you to know that Esplanade’s initial architectural designs weren’t durian-inspired. The designs ranged from a flower-shaped layout that represented a lantern in a park, to what was described as "concrete blobs".

4. Claddings cool us down.

The final design by DP Architects and Michael Wilford & Partners eventually featured twin spiky domes, with a cladded exterior, designed to keep the centre’s interior as cool as possible in our tropical weather.

5. Esplanade is with you wherever you go.

In 2013, Esplanade was featured on Singapore’s five-cent coins! We are also featured on the Singapore passport. Flip yours to see if you can spot us.

6. Acoustic gems lie under each thorny shell.

Nicknamed durian because of the thorny domes that resemble the “king of fruits”, Esplanade’s two domes house a world-class hall in each – Esplanade Concert Hall and Esplanade Theatre.

Curious about these two venues?

Download the Concert Hall and Theatre Guide to discover little known trivia. Find out which type of vehicle can fit onto the Theatre stage, what special musical instrument is in the Concert Hall, how tall the fly tower is, and what in the world a fly tower is!