SINGAPORE: Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong said the National Arts Council (NAC) is currently reviewing its grant framework for local arts groups.
One of the items being reviewed is the funding of 30 per cent of operating cost.
Mr Wong said subsidised and preferential rates are extended to both not—for—profit and commercial local arts groups for spaces run by agencies such as The Esplanade and The Old Parliament House.
Currently, NAC’s support under the Arts Spaces Framework and the Arts Housing Scheme provides highly subsidised spaces for artists and arts groups.
Under these schemes, arts groups such as The Necessary Stage, Theatreworks, Singapore Repertory Theatre and The Substation enjoy performing arts spaces which are highly subsidised —— between 80 and 90 per cent.
Mr Wong was speaking in response to questions filed by Nominated Member of Parliament Janice Koh.
Ms Koh also asked whether the ministry would review its rental rates and whether public companies are expected to profit or break even from running theatre venues.
"I was referring to some of the venues that The Esplanade runs, not just necessarily within The Esplanade, but for example the Drama Centre, which in 2008 and 2009, the rate collected was something like 12 per cent of gross box office takings, and by the time it was 2010 or 2011, that increased to 15 per cent of gross box office takings," said Ms Koh.
She added that similarly in 2008 and 2009, if the venue was not used, the dark day rate would be at S$750; however, by the following year it was increased to S$1,400.
Mr Wong said: "There may be some rental rate increases...to cover some costs. The agencies that rent out these venues do not do this for profit; they’re doing this to ensure their finances are sustainable. So we will do several things, as I mentioned, continue to manage the cost and ensure that rents are affordable."
"Number two, do whatever we can to better utilise these spaces so that they’re well optimised in terms of utilisation rates."
"And number three, through the grants framework that NAC provides, ensure sufficient support is given to our arts groups," added Mr Wong.
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