Singapore Repertory Theatre

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Being an artist is the most non-essential job in Singapore… really?

On 14 June 2020, The Sunday Times published an interesting piece about which jobs are seen as essential for a society.

A staggering 71% of the some 1,000 respondents said that being an artist is the most non-essential job - with of course being a doctor/nurse as the most essential vocation. We certainly can agree that our medical staff now more than ever deserves medals, huge pay increases, and our gratitude.

The creative sector contributes billions to our economy, and a plethora of research papers confirm that exposure to and engagement with the arts fosters better learners and more engaged members of society. Two very important arguments for why the arts and artists surely are essential to us all.

But let this be a conversation about human values and the glue of society.

SRT’s Shakespeare in the Park – Romeo & Juliet, attended by close to 30,000 people.

Isn't it hard to imagine a city with no theatres, galleries, and libraries? Think for a moment about how we are getting through this pandemic. By reading books. Written by literary artists. By listening to music. Written and composed by artists. By watching movies and documentaries. Created by a village of artists from writers to actors, directors, costume makers, light and sound engineers and the list of creative people goes on. All working with dedication and passion to tell their stories to uplift our spirits and reflect on our lives.

In the words of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (January 2018):

"While it is important that we put bread to the table, man does not live by bread alone…

Our nation would be soul-less without an appreciation of arts and culture."

 So should we take that survey again?

This article was written by SRT’s Managing Director, Charlotte Nors.

Published on: 15-06-2020