29 ways to get arty in Singapore

The National Gallery Singapore
The National Gallery Singapore … promoting an understanding of art

By LINDA JAMES | Updated APRIL 3, 2022 | SEE & DO

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Singapore has a thriving arts scene both performing and visual arts. There’s plethora of professional and amateur theatre companies, dance and opera companies, and music groups offering a huge variety of Asian and Western performances in languages such as English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. This is on top of the many Broadway and West End productions such as “Phantom of the Opera” and the “Lion King” that tour the island state.

There’s also a vibrant visual arts community with artists such as Tan Swie Hian, Liu Kang, Georgette Chen, Francis Ng and Heman Chong leading the way.

Art-2 Gallery

This contemporary art gallery, established in 1991, specialises in sculpture, paintings and ceramics from the south-east Asian region.

Address: 140 Hill St
Open:
Getting there: near Clarke Quay
More information: https://www.art2.com.sg/home

Asian Civilisation Museum

This is Singapore’s national museum of Asian antiquities and decorative art. It focuses on displaying Asia’s artistic heritage through its collection of masterpieces displayed in its permanent galleries as well as a range of temporary exhibitions.

Address: Empress Place
Open: daily 10am-7pm, Fridays 10am-9pm
Cost: permanent galleries are free for Singaporeans; $S20 for non-residents, children 6yrs and under free. Prices vary for special exhibitions.
Getting there: near Raffles Place MRT station
More information: https://www.nhb.gov.sg/acm/

Cape of Good Hope

Local established and up-and-coming Singaporean artists are the stars at this gallery, which hosts a variety of solo and group exhibitions.

Address: Bras Basah Complex #03-17, 231 Bain St
Open: 11am-7pm Tuesday to Sunday
Getting there: near Bras Basah and Bugis MRT stations
More information: www.capeofgoodhope.com.sg
The art deco Capitol Theatre
Capitol Theatre … shows by local and international pop stars

Capitol Theatre

This Art Deco theatre plays host to shows by local and international pop stars, comedians and musicians. It’s one of Singapore’s architectural and historical treasures although it has been modernised over the years to ensure the standard of its interior and AV equipment produced a world-class experience. One of its key innovations is the rotational floor system that allows the 977 seats to be configured in a variety of ways.

The interior features a dome-shaped ceiling and two winged-horse sculptures and their riders flank the stage.

Address: 17 Stamford Rd
Open: varies with show
Cost: varies
Getting there: near City Hall MRT station
More information: info@capitol-theatre.sg

Chinese Theatre Circle

This is a fantastic way to learn about the ancient art of Chinese Opera. The Sights and Sounds of Chinese Opera show includes a set Chinese dinner as well as Chinese tea and dessert. During dinner, guests get to watch excerpts of opera while afterwards they learn about the historical and artistic context of the music, stories, costumes and makeup. The evening ends with a performance.

Visitors can also skip the set dinner and just have the Chinese tea, snacks, dessert and show.

Address: 5 Smith St
Open: Friday and Saturday 7pm–9pm for the dinner show
Cost: $S40 per person, $S25 without dinner
Getting there: near Chinatown MRT station
More information: ctcopera@yahoo.com

Comedy Masala at Hero’s bar

If you’re looking for some comedy in Singapore, this is the place to go. It hosts live weekly stand-up comedy from local as well as international comedians. The shows are hosted by Comedy Masala founder Umar Ranaevery.

Address: 69 Circular Rd
Open: Tuesday at 8pm
Cost: $S25, discounted if bought online (dinner & drinks additional)
Getting there: near Raffles Place and Clarke Quay MRT stations
More information: http://comedymasala.com/

Gajah Gallery

Housed in an industrial warehouse, this gallery puts on five exhibitions each year highlighting leading and emerging artists.

Address: 39 Keppel Rd #03-04
Open: Monday to Friday 11am-7pm and weekends/public holidays noon-6pm
Cost: free
Getting there: near Outram Park MRT station
More information: https://gajahgallery.com/

Gelam Gallery

This is one of the first outdoor galleries in Singapore – in the lanes behind a row of shophouses. The walls and alleyways of the street have been transformed with vibrant examples of mosaic artwork and murals painted by Omani artists, all with a backdrop of the golden-domed Masjid Sultan.

There is work by artists such as PrettyFreakyFantasy, French artist Helene Le Chatelier and Sei Nishiyama.

Address: Muscat St
Open: flexible hours
Cost: free
Getting there: near Bugis MRT station
More information: https://www.theadmin.sg/gelam-gallery

Gillman Barracks

Housed in a former military barracks built before World War II, this contemporary art cluster features a number of different galleries that highlight both international and south-east Asian art. There are a number of places to eat & drink on site so you can browse the galleries then sit back and relax .

Address: 9 Lock Rd
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, check website for hours of individual galleries
Cost: mostly free
Getting there: near Labrador Park MRT station
More information: https://www.gillmanbarracks.com/

Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA Singapore)

This is the curatorial division of LASALLE College of the Arts and focuses on innovative and experimental art. As well as the five galleries over 1500sqm, the ICA organises lectures and seminars, conducts research, and provides professional development, training, and mentorship.

The exhibitions program has two streams: one is experimental and innovative national and international exhibitions and the other focuses on research-based and curriculum-related exhibitions with staff, students and alumni.

Address: 1 McNally St
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, noon-7pm
Cost: free
Getting there: near Rochor MRT Station
More information: https://www.lasalle.edu.sg/institute-of-contemporary-arts-sg/

Kult Studio and Gallery

This is the place to go if you’re looking for works and prints that are street smart and full of character with a good dose of humour. This multi-disciplinary art studio, gallery and publisher aims to discover cutting-edge local and international artists and then provide the global platforms they need to showcase their work.

They publish a magazine with the same name and there’s a merchandise store on site.

Address: 409 Race Course Rd #03-01A
Open: check website
Cost: free
Getting there: near Farrer Rd MRT station
More information: https://www.kult.online/

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA)

The academy, established in 1938, has produced 13 recipients of the Cultural Medallion, which is Singapore’s highest accolade given to artists who have has a significant impact on arts and culture. A further 14 alumni have received the Young Artist Award.

Address: 80 Bencoolen St
Open: varies according to show
Cost: free
Getting there: near Bencoolen MRT station
More information: https://www.nafa.edu.sg/events

National Arts Council

The National Arts Council both supports and champions the arts in Singapore by encouraging audience engagement and nurturing creative excellence. It provides grants and partnerships as well as housing, seen in the creation of the Gillman Barracks site.

Address: 9 Lock Rd
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, check website for hours of individual galleries
Cost: mostly free
Getting there: near Labrador Park MRT station
More information: www.nac.gov.sg.

National Gallery Singapore

Housed in the former City Hall and Supreme Court buildings – almost important historical landmarks and architectural examples – the National Art Gallery Singapore holds a vast collection of Singapore and Southeast Asia art in its 64,000sqm of space. There are works by local artists Georgette Chen, Chen Chong Swee and Liu Kang as well as the likes of Raden Saleh (Indonesia), Latiff Mohidin (Malaysia) and Nguyen Gia Tri (Vietnam).

The gallery aims to provide an understanding and appreciation of art and culture by sharing the narrative of the social, economic and political histories of Singaporean and regional cultures.

It also contains the Keppel Centre for Art Education, an art education centre designed to allow families to participate in a range of learning activities and programs.

Address:1 St Andrew’s Rd
Open: daily 10am-7pm
Cost: General admission $S20 (adults) and $S15 (7-12yrs) and free for residents; all access pass $S30.
Getting there: near City Hall MRT
More information: https://www.nationalgallery.sg/

Necessary Stage

This non-profit theatre company, established in 1987, aims to create innovative theatre that touches the heart and mind while challenging perceptions. TNS is overseen by two Cultural Medallion recipients – Artistic Director and Founder Alvin Tan and Resident Playwright Haresh Sharma.

As well as presenting plays in Singapore and abroad, the company organises and curates the annual M1 Singapore Fringe Festival.

Address: 278 Marine Parade Rd #B1-02
Open: varies according to show
Cost: varies according to show
Getting there: bus 36 or 16
More information: https://www.necessary.org/

NTU Centre for Contemporary Art

This is a research centre of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) that highlights contemporary art in a range of exhibitions, public programmes, residencies and research programmes.

It holds a variety of events such as exhibitions, live performances, film screenings and open studios as well as talks by visiting local and international artists and curators.

Address: 43 Malan Road
Open: Tuesday to Sunday noon-7pm, Friday noon-9pm
Cost: free
Getting there: near Labrador Park MRT station
More information: https://ntu.ccasingapore.org/

Singapore Art Museum

Known colloquially as SAM, this was the first art museum in Singapore, opening in 1996. It features South-east Asian contemporary art in multiple spaces such as Tanjong Pagar Distripark and its two heritage buildings in Bras Basah Rd and Queen Street, which are being redeveloped and are planned to open in 2026.

SAM also organises the Singapore Biennale.

Address: 39 Keppel Rd #01-02
Open: daily 10am–7pm
Cost: $S10 (adults), children 6yrs and below free; residents free
Getting there: takes buses 10, 30, 57, 80, 97, 97e, 100, 131 or 145 to bus stop 14061 (opposite Former Railway Station)
More information: https://www.singaporeartmuseum.sg

SAM at 8Q

This is an annexe of SAM located at No. 8 Queen St and about 88 steps away hence its name.

It hosts a range of contemporary art exhibitions in its six galleries including video, photography, performance and sound art.

Address: 8 Queen St
Open: daily 10am-7pm
Cost: free
Getting there: near Bras Basah MRT station
More information: https://www.singaporeartmuseum.sg

Sands Theatre

Housed in the stunning Marina Bay Sands resort, this theatre features a range of West End and Broadway musicals and has hasted shows such as “Cats”, “Annie” and “Wicked”. It can seat 2155 guests over three levels.

Address: 10 Bayfront Ave
Open: varies according to show
Cost: varies according to show
Getting there: near Bayfront MRT station
More information: https://www.marinabaysands.com/see-and-do.html

Singapore Ballet

Previously known as Singapore Dance Theatre, this national dance company was founded in 1988 by Anthony Then and Goh Soo Kim. What started as a group of seven ballet dancers has now become a company of more than 30 dancers and apprentices.

The company’s repertoire includes classical and contemporary ballet performed in six seasons each year including the very popular Ballet Under The Stars at Fort Canning Park, two full-length classics at the Esplanade Theatre, and Masterpiece in Motion.

Address: shows vary
Open: vary according to performance
Cost: vary according to performance
Getting there: varies according to performance
More information: https://singaporeballet.org/

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Free concerts are regularly held in the Singapore Botanic Gardens at Symphony Lake where the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage has pride of place on an islet in the middle.

Address: 1 Cluny Rd (there are other entrances though)
Open: 5am to midnight; Orchid Garden 8.30am-7pm daily (last entry 6pm)
Cost: free
Getting there: near Orchard MRT; buses - 7, 105, 123, 174, 174E
More information: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/sbg/our-gardens

Singapore Repertory Theatre

Founded in 1993, this English-language theatre company puts on a range of original musicals such as “Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress” and the plays “The Pillowman” and “God of Carnage”. It was also the first Singaporean theatre company to be featured on Broadway in 1998 with “Golden Child”, which earned three Tony Award nominations. It has been involved in a number of international collaborations such as the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “King Lear” and produces the Shakespeare in the Park season as well as a range of children’s theatre with “The Cat in the Hat” and “The Ugly Duckling”.

Address: 20 Merbau Rd
Open: varies according to show
Cost: varies
Getting there: near Fort Canning MRT station
More information: https://www.srt.com.sg/

STPI

STPI Creative Workshop and Gallery aims to promote artistic experimentation in the mediums of print and paper using lithography, etching, screen printing, papermaking and relief print. It provides a program that enables artists to experiment with alternative methods.

Address: 41 Robertson Quay
Open: Daily 10am-7pm, Saturday 9am-6pm, Sunday 10am-5pm
Cost: varies
Getting there: near Bencoolen MRT station
More information: https://www.stpi.com.sg/about/

TheatreWorks

This international arts company was established in 1985 and aims to encourage thought leadership in the arts by actively promoting education and research. T:>Works has initiated a fellowship programme PerForm, in which different artists share their knowledge, perspectives and practice through a series of lectures.

Address: 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Rd
Open: Varies according to show
Cost: Varies according to show; some free
Getting there: near Fort Canning MRT station
More information: https://tworkssg.wordpress.com/
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay Singapore
The Esplanade Theatres …concert seating for 1600

The Esplanade

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay (also known as the Esplanade Theatres) is a performing arts centre named after nearby Esplanade Park. It includes a concert hall seating about 1600 and a theatre for 2000 as well as smaller theatres for more intimate productions.

There is a line-up of both ticketed and free events.

Address: 1 Esplanade Dr
Open: daily 8am-11.30pm
Cost: varies according to show, some free
Getting there: near City Hall and Esplanade MRT stations
More information: https://www.esplanade.com

The Projector

This Singaporean independent cinema, which started in 2014, focuses on screening arts-house films. There are two locations – at Golden Mile Tower and Riverside Point – the latter features their first pop-up space Projector X.

Patrons get to watch films screen with a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) projector while listening through their wireless bluetooth headphones, sipping cocktails or mocktails and munching on popcorn.

Address: 30 Merchant Road, #04-13; 6001 Beach Road, Golden Mile Tower, #05-00
Open: Wednesday to Sunday
Cost: start from $S18.50 
Getting there: Riverside – near Clarke Quay MRT station; Golden Mile – near Jelan Besar and Nicholl Highway MRT stations 
More information: https://theprojector.sg/

Toy Factory Productions

This theatre company aims to promote original stories about Asia as well as adaptations from other times and places. Productions often feature different languages and dialects, particularly English and Mandarin.

It also collaborates with other groups, staging shows around the world. Its home shows are held at venues such as the Esplanade theatres and the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre.

Address: 15A Smith St
Open: varies according to show
Cost: varies according to show
Getting there: near Chinatown MRT station
More information: www.toyfactory.com.sg
Victoria Concert Hall Singapore
Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall … one of the oldest performing arts complexes in Singapore

Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall

One of Singapore’s oldest performing arts venues, this concert hall is now home to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, which stages a variety of concerts, both ticketed and free.

Address: 11 Empress Pl #01-02
Open: varies according to show
Cost: varies according to show
Getting there: near City Hall and Raffles Place MRT stations
More information: www.vtvch.com

Wild Rice theatre

Founded in 2000 by Ivan Heng, this is one of Singapore’s leading professional theatre companies, which produces and tours productions that celebrate the local theatrical talent. These feature both original works as well as interpretations of international classics.

Address: 107 North Bridge Rd
Open: varies according to the show
Cost: varies
Getting there: near City Hall MRT station
More information: https://www.wildrice.com.sg/

Conclusion

Singapore has a thriving art scene with many exciting galleries highlighting the work of celebrated and emerging artists. There’s also a wide variety of dance and theatre groups staging both contemporary and classic works. If you get a chance, you should also see some of the public artworks – Singapore has an impressive collection.

Want more of Singapore?

Learn how to plan your Singapore trip
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Link to Singapore area guides