Festivals of the future ‘won’t be limited by time and space’: CEO

Post-pandemic music and theater performances are likely to use a hybrid model, according to the chief executive of one of Singapore’s largest arts centers.

Yvonne Tham, CEO of Esplanade, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” that a mixture of in-person and streamed performances are set to be common in the future.

“Many artists are really open now to what’s known as hybrid, which (means they) may be performing in a particular space in a particular time, but how does that performance have an afterlife? And that’s a question we’ve been asking ourselves even as we’ve been producing lots of digital programs,” Tham said on Monday.

“We’re going to see festivals in future that are not just limited by time and space, therefore what goes on to complement that live experience in the digital space becomes quite important,” she added.

Pre-pandemic, around 3,000 performances took place annually at the Esplanade and it had to close its doors on March 26 due to coronavirus restrictions placed on venues. Since then it created its Esplanade Offstage website so people could continue to watch concerts and other performances and is now gradually reopening some of its venues — its Pip’s Playbox children’s space reopened on October 9, while its Jendela visual arts venue is set to reopen on October 16.

While some performances have continued outdoors, Tham said others work better inside. “We are looking at all ways of reaching audiences, be that in the open air, out in the garden, we are looking at our concert hall venues. Some (performances) they work far better in the concert hall and some in the theater space,” she said.

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Vardhan Cautions against Virus Spread ahead of Festivals, Winter; Ministry Issues Guidelines to Manage Co-infections

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday cautioned people to be more careful and take the necessary precautions against coronavirus ahead of the festive season, saying the respiratory virus could show its effect more rapidly during the winters.

He said social distancing, wearing masks and repeatedly washing hands are crucial to prevent spread of the virus. Vardhan said if the necessary precautions are taken by people, then the chain of transmission of the virus will break.

“The next 2-3 months will have festivals and coincide with the winter season. As you are aware, the…respiratory virus could show its effect more rapidly during the winter,” he said. Vardhan, who is also the Science and Technology minister in addition to being the country’s health minister, was addressing the directors of the institutes under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

He said if people act carelessly and forget about precautions while celebrating festivals, then COVID-related problems can aggravate. If we want to win the war against COVID-19, then precautions are very important, he said.

Vardhan also said preparations are underway to make the coronavirus vaccine available to people when it is ready. He also complimented the corona warriors for their work during the ongoing pandemic. He said at the start of the pandemic, the number of tests done in the country was small but the testing capacity has been ramped up significantly. Similarly, equipment like the PPE had to be imported, but currently the country has the capacity to manufacture 10 lakh kits every day.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry issued guidelines for the management of co-infection of COVID-19 with other seasonal epidemic-prone diseases such as dengue, malaria, seasonal influenza (H1N1) and chikungunya. The ministry said that a high index of suspicion must be maintained for epidemic-prone diseases prevalent in a particular geographic region during