Singapore’s Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay and Esplanade Mall comprise a multi-purpose arts centre incorporating a Concert Hall, Theatre and outdoor performance area, bringing a fantastic array of shows to the bay area of the city as well as some great shopping and dining experiences.
Opened in 2002, it is the perfect place to enjoy an evening of culture, whether watching local bands on stage or enjoying traditional dancing from Malaysia and Thailand, with plenty of the performances being shown free of charge. Getting there is easy; take the MRT to City Hall or Esplanade Circle Line station; from there it is a ten-minute walk. The building stands out, making up a pair of two large aluminium and glass domes on the riverfront.
Locals renamed the building ‘The Durian’ after that famous smelly fruit because of the pointed metallic shades that cover each triangular glass pane, and some even say it resembles the eyes of a fly. Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay has been blessed with a very romantic location, right next to the water’s edge, with a sweeping view to the Singapore Flyer and towards Marina Bay Sands and a tree-lined promenade.
All outdoor performances are free to the public and don’t need to be booked, making Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay a great place for an evening stroll with a lot more to it. The covered stage resembles a trio of white sails, and there is enough seating for over 450 people.
The most impressive performance space in Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay is without doubt the Concert Hall, shaped and designed with optimal acoustics in mind. You feel like you are inside a boat with curved wooden slats lining the walls and balancing the sound. The scale is vast, room for about 1,600 people over four levels, with an imposing organ built in the hall. As well as the regular classic concerts, popular pop and rock bands also perform here.
The Theatre is the other main venue, inspired by Europe’s opera houses with a horseshoe shape and curved seating for 1,942 people, decorated in traditional red and gold. The space feels cosy and even in the top circles there is a sense of intimacy between the performers and audience. The Theatre’s main focus is presenting a mix of both western and Asian dance, opera and theatre.
Esplanade Mall is also an integral part of the complex. Situated in the area between the two domes, it offers a great place to grab a bite to eat before or after the performances and browse some fantastic specialised shops, including POPCORNPOP, where you can buy movie posters and other unusual cinema memorabilia or if you have been inspired by the orchestra, Gramercy Music where you can even pick up a new violin and some sheet music. You can also feast on a great variety of local dishes from selected hawkers at the nearby, aptly named Makansutra Gluttons Bay. For something special head to Sauce, with a great happy hour, pre-theatre deals and an attractive outdoor terrace.
- Opening Hours: 08:00 till 02:00 Daily
- Location: Between Raffles Avenue and Esplanade Drive, just by Marina Bay at the mouth of the Singapore River.
- MRT: City Hall and Esplanade
- Address: 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981
- Tel: +65 6828 8377