The Substation isn't closing permanently after all

PHOTO: Instagram/the_substation

As contemporary arts centre The Substation prepares to move out of the building it's been occupying for the past 30 years, here's some good news — it won't be closing for good after all.

In a statement on Friday (July 23), The Substation announced that it will remain open even after vacating its current premises at 45 Armenian Street, which is set to undergo renovations over a two-year period.

It will also transition to become an arts company focused on developing original programming, the statement added, dubbing the new company Substation 2.0.

"We recognise the road ahead to be challenging. Substation 2.0 will have to streamline and restructure significantly in order to function effectively as an arts company, and create a future post 45 Armenian Street," The Substation said.

Earlier in March, The Substation's board had announced that it would be closing after vacating its current premises in July, explaining that the arts centre would "lose a fundamental part of its identity and heritage" if it had to share the building with other co-tenants instead of remaining the sole tenant.

Explaining the U-turn, Chew Kheng Chuan, the chairperson of The Substation said, "The Board had taken the difficult decision to close because we felt it was the right thing to do to protect The Substation's proud heritage. At the same time, we also felt the strength of desire of large parts of the arts community not to see it close."

By the end of August, The Substation will have a new board led by chairperson Wahyuni Hadi, a film curator and arts manager, the statement also said.


On The Substation's future after moving out of its original building, Wahyuni said, "The Substation's purpose over the next few years will be to re-establish and redefine The Substation as the home for independent artists in Singapore, independent of our original building, while expanding our collaborative partnerships locally and in the region.

"The Substation still has an important role to play in the Singapore arts scene, and we are grateful for this new beginning and the support the community has shown."

The Substation was founded in 1990 by playwright Kuo Pao Kun as a space for the arts community to stage experimental and contemporary works. It has also served as a venue for local musicians.


Its last event at its Armenian Street premises was originally supposed to be the Goo Goo Ga Joob Garage Sale on Sunday (July 25). However, the sale is cancelled due to the current Covid-19 situation, The Substation announced in an Instagram post on Wednesday (July 21).

Visitors will not be allowed into the space this weekend, but are free to stop by and snap photos, it added.