SINGAPORE – While the pilot trials for small-scale performances come as welcome news, the slow timeline for the reopening of performance venues has frustrated members of the community. People have drawn comparisons to cinemas, which reopened in July, and meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) events, which will allow up to 250 participants from October.
A spokesman for the National Arts Council (NAC) says more caution is required for performing arts compared with these two sectors, explaining: “The nature of arts and cultural events is unique. In live performances, unlike in the cinema or at Mice events, performers interact with each other on a stage, and may be unmasked.
“Performing activities such as singing or performing on wind and brass instruments are also higher-risk activities as there is a greater expulsion of respiratory droplets and potential virus particles.”
Hence, the trials aim to clarify operating procedures and ensure safe management measures at venues. Besides measures for performers and crew, safety measures for audiences need to be considered, such as avoiding unnecessary congregations and mitigating potential traffic choke points.
The spokesman says the NAC is currently working with about 13 arts groups and arts freelancers on about 10 programmes covering different art forms, and has received 12 applications from arts groups and individuals who want to be part of the pilot.
The trials, which started last Friday (Sept 11) with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, will continue until mid-October. The NAC, together with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, will review the outcome of the trials.
The spokesman adds: “For now, the safety of our artists, crews and wider community is our immediate concern.”