Old Vic wows crowds

Old Vic wows crowds
Visitors came to admire the restored splendour (top right) and view the clock tower from inside the refurbished atrium (bottom right). A volunteer giving a guided tour (bottom left) and the cantilevered box (upper left) on the second floor of the theatre, which resembles a Rubik's cube.

SINGAPORE - Rules of etiquette were broken over the weekend at the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall.

Inside Singapore's oldest performing arts centre, audiences snapped pictures and recorded videos as musicians, dancers and actors played to crowds.

Such behaviour is normally frowned upon, but for one weekend, it was all excused.

It was the first time the iconic performance venue opened its doors to the public following a four-year refurbishment and who could blame visitors for being eager to capture the 152-year-old monument in its restored splendour.

Elaborate designs on pillars in the concert hall are now clearly visible, the redesigned theatre boasts a more intimate space and acoustics in both spaces are state-of-the-art.

The venue was inaugurated last Tuesday in a by-invite performance at the concert hall featuring the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. The event was graced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and attended by members of the arts and culture community.

To showcase the revamp to the public, guided tours and free performances by more than 10 home-grown theatre, dance and music groups were held last Saturday and yesterday. The open house had drawn 30,000 visitors by 3pm yesterday, attracting everyone, from the curious to arts lovers.

Indeed, so keen was the public to welcome back the refurbished building that a queue to enter it formed last Saturday before doors opened at 10am.

Once inside, visitors strode on shiny marble floors and plush carpets, sank into new theatre and concert seats with more legroom, and indulged in the aural pleasure of the venue's improved acoustics.

Among the shows staged, a solo performance by organist Margaret Chen on the Klais Organ and a family-friendly drama by I Theatre played to near capacity crowds in the 673-seat concert hall and 614-seat theatre respectively.

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