Theatre Company walks back name change after protests
The former Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) has walked back its decision to rebrand as Singapore Theatre Company (STC), after more than a week of uproar from the theatre community following the name’s unveiling on Jan 31.
STC said it will continue the use of its current name until it announces a new name, as its triple bill of shows from March to May “are already on sale under our current name STC which will need to continue until then”.
On Feb 8, the STC announced in an official statement on its website that it will change its name before its show in August for the second time due to “feedback from our peers in the community”.
The statement added: “These views greatly matter to us as we recognise the contributions and works of all artists and theatre companies in Singapore. We believe a united community is necessary for the theatre scene to thrive and therefore will be changing our name from STC.”
When asked about the financial cost of walking back its rebrand, artistic director Gaurav Kripalani declined to comment.
On Feb 1, The Straits Times reported that home-grown theatremakers objected to the company’s new name.
Multilingual theatre company The Theatre Practice’s artistic director Kuo Jian Hong had said then that “no one theatre company can truly say it is ‘Singapore Theatre Company’”.
A letter to the ST Forum dated Feb 6 said it was “regrettable” that the National Arts Council (NAC) had supported the renaming of the theatre company and expressed hope that the NAC and STC would reconsider the name change.
Rama Chandran, founder and director of children’s theatre company Act 3 Theatrics, who had taken to Facebook to criticise the name change, applauded STC’s Feb 8 announcement on the social media site.
Citing a diversity of groups across affiliation, language and art form which spoke up, he told ST that the episode “has been important for the theatre community in Singapore to find its voice and the belief that the voice will be heard”.
He added: “Now is the time to harness this energy and enthusiasm to move forward as one, all representing Singapore theatre, a common noun.”
NAC, which supported the name change, said in a statement that it accepts the community’s “valid concerns which ought to have been considered when discussing the name change with SRT”. It added that it welcomed the company’s move to revisit the change.