“The digital form will bring about new challenges but the spirit of the arts will not change.”
That was the message from Ms Kuo Jian Hong, Artistic Director at The Theatre Practice and a panellist in an A4G panel discussion titled “Our Journey of Digitalisation in the Arts: Where Do We Go From Here?” Other panellists included in the wild Co-founder and A4G 2018 Fellow Ms Tan Jia Yee as well as the National Arts Council’s (NAC) Chief Research Officer Dr Sharon Chang.
They discussed the opportunities and challenges facing the arts community in Singapore and abroad, which have had to find creative ways of digitising their content to reach a wider audience amid the constraints brought about by Covid-19.
Ms Kuo spoke about the development of digital theatre, which involved audience engagement and participation through digital channels, such as solving whodunnit mysteries via a messaging app. These productions, in particular, were aimed at families with children that had few sources of outdoor entertainment during the extended periods of lockdown last year.
Ms Tan touched on her experience in thinking through how to monetise digital productions for longer-term sustainability. Dr Chang, meanwhile, shared NAC research on the latest trends in the arts world, such as Arts for a Cause and the Asian Cultural Wave, on which practitioners can capitalise.
The pandemic had hit the cultural and creative sectors hard, and the panellists acknowledged that it was difficult to sustain their work. They were nonetheless optimistic about the potential of the arts to address pressing issues such as climate change and racism.