The Substation is Singapore’s first and only multi-disciplinary, multi-media, multi-cultural and multi-lingual arts centre. It was founded in 1990 by Kuo Pao Kun and was run under the Practice Performing Arts School until 1995, when its was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee with a non-profit charity status. Since 1995, the Substation has been an independent arts company, not affiliated with any state organisation or any other arts body. The Substation presents a diverse range of artists, programmes and events: from traditionally trained dancers to local rockbands; established visual artists to young poets; publications to international short film festivals; experimental theatre to seminal conferences on Singapore arts and culture. The Substation is open, to all kinds of arts and cultural practices. But they do have preference for work that challenges and explores. Their mission is to support research and innovation in the arts.
Former use : a three-storey old power station
Location : city
Foundation year : 1990
Type of occupation : lease
Owner of the building : The Government of Singapour
The Guinness Theatre
An Art Gallery
2 Multi-purpose rooms
1 dance studio
1 box office
The Garden - open courtyard space for performance
An Art shop
A Café / cybercafé
Artistic and social disciplines
Contemporary theatre : residencies / creation / production / diffusion / training workshop / spaces rental / debates / lecture / conferences/ festivals Music : diffusion Contemporary dance : diffusion / training workshop Heritage-Architecture : debates / lecture / conferences Visual arts : diffusion / training workshop / spaces rental / debates / lecture / conferences / festivals Street performing art : diffusion Multimedia : creation / production / diffusion
Cinema-Audiovisual : conferences / festivals
Civil society : training workshop / Debates / Lecture / Conferences
Literature-Poetry : publication / lecture
Within the Substation annual Core Programme you have :
Septfest -a month-long arts festival featuring the best of experimental theatre, dance, music and visual art, including invited performers from abroad. Includes an Arts Conference which brings together artists, academics, critics, journalists and arts administrators.
Theatre Fest - an end-of-year festival showcasing new and innovative theatre performances.
Moving Images - Film & video screenings, talks and woprkshops running throughout the year, focusing on short film, independent film-making, documentary and animation.
Courses - they organise a range of course open to the public all year roound, including chinese calligraphy, batik painting, photography, yoga, movement and dance,film appreciation. Their Core Programmes are accompagnied by talks and discussions where audiences are brought together in dialogue with the artists. Other activities : In addition, the Substation helps other artists and arts groups who may want to present their own programmes independently. They rent out their Theatre or Gallery to these groups at a subsidised rate. They also provide administrative, publicity and logistical support. In some cases, they support artists by sponsoring the use of exhibition or performance space. "Housing" Artists : The Substation also "houses" young and emerging artists in 2 ways:
The Artist-in-residence programme: provides work space, a small stipend and administative support for selected artists over a half-year period, at the end of which The Substation presents their latest work.
The workspace Programme: provides free rehearsal and workshop space for selected artists who are not affiliated with any existing theatre company. These theatre artists may develop work leading to a presentation at any of the Substation’s core programmes or present works on their own.
The Substation is supported by the National Arts Council through the Annual Grant Scheme. However, The Substation also needs to generate revenue and find other sources of financial support in order to keep itself and its facilities running at full steam throughout the year.
Guinness (beer) is the first benefactor of The Substation.
The Substation has built up an extensive network of artist’ contacts both in Singapore and the region.