Monday, January 02, 2012

National Theatre

Thanks to Geoffrey Pain for these 1960s photos of the National Theatre and the nearby Van Kleef Aquarium. I do not remember having attended any concert at National Theatre. Only recall attending the convocation of elder brother Chun Seong.

News-wise, I recall one year when the Bee Gees performed there and many people could not get tickets and so they went to the hill behind to watch free-of-charge. But they got upset because they could not hear the singing and made a lot of noise. That as far as I recall was what was reported in the newspapers. If you can recall details; do share.

Related posts

1. Victor’s article on National Theatre

2. Victor’s article on Van Kleef Aquarium

3. Seven Wonders of Singapore


Flora Moreno de Thompson said...

I have seen photos of the National Theatre and am sad that I wasn't able to see it myself. It's really unusual-looking, but would have been cool to experience.

Lam Chun See said...

I definitely have attended a concert there before becos I remember it was at night. Just cannot recall what concert that was. Probably some cultural show.

NT was well-known for it revolving stage.

Edward said...

I was on the hill top with a number of friends watching the Bee Gees in concert. We couldn’t afford to buy tickets because all of us were unemployed. I think this was in 1972. You couldn’t hear much but we still enjoyed the spirit of the atmosphere. At the end of the concert I recall one of the Gibb brothers telling the audience to beware of the “pigs”, which was the western slang for the “police”. A number of guys on the hill top were stoned. Occasionally you could get a wisp of marijuana smoke in the air. One guy was rolling on the ground, laughing his head off. This was the era of the early 70’s when the government initiated a clampdown on the hippie sub-culture in Singapore.

Jean said...

I was kid at the time but I remember going to the National Theatre see the British pop group Middle of the Road(of Where's Your Mama Gone/Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep song fame)& Anita Sarawak in the late 70s. I recall at the MotR concert we had some trouble getting in as the usher queried about my age. I think there was a minimum age thing at the time. We got in anyway as people kept shouting at the usher to move the line along & not make a fuss LOL. The building does seem a bit of an eyesore now anyway it was smart,spacious & comfortable. I think of it fondly.

KL said...

The National Theatre was built based on a one-dollar-one brick campaign. The then Minister for Culture (S Rajaratnam) said, “The theatre provides a good example of how the success of any effort depends ultimately on the co-operation and dedication of people from all walks of life.”

However, the icon of nation building only lived for 23 years (1963-1986) and gave way to CTE.

Brian and Tess said...

it would be good to have some more blogs about visits by major artists to Singapore - the first pop concert I ever attended was Cliff Richard and the Shadows in the very early sixties at a venue I know has been identified in this blog but I have forgotten the name of. But obviously Singapore became a regular stop for many many bands in the years that followed (Walker Brothers and Yardbirds an excellent choise - Dave Clark Five less so!)

FL said...

If my memory won't fail me, I remember Herman's Hermits and some British groups performed at the National Theatre in the late sixties. I did attend one or two pop concerts at the same venue by our local pop artistes during the sixties period. I couldn't recall the ticket prices. Of course, local artistes concert was cheaper than foreign ones for obvious reason.

Lam Chun See said...

I think Cliff Richard performed at the Spore Badminton Hall. My friend Andy Lim has posted several articles about him.

Brian. Do you recall the big news that CR's concert generated? A female Malay fan went up to kiss him and it generated a lot of controversy in the papers. One of my Foyer friends blogged about that incident; but I cannot find the article.

Another British pop group that generated much news was the Rolling Stones. Thanks to them, I first learnt the meaning of the word, 'hysteria'. I think many of the British girls of Brian's generation mopped them at their concert; probably at the Spore Badminton Hall as well.

Andy Lim* said...

Gee, thanks for the memories Chun See. I appeared with the Silver Strings a few times to sing with other 60s music groups.

Concert items changed easily because there was a revolving stage. All we needed to do was to wait our turn and stand on the other half of the circle backstage.

When the curtains closed, the circle revolved and we face the audience when they parted again.

Those days, that was something!

Tim said...

I never went into the National Theatre, but I remember it as a distinctive and modern landmark. My home town (Bradford) was still very Victorian, and I was impressed with the moderity of some Singapore buildings.

Van Cleef Acquarium ... I really loved that place. To come face to face with such facsinating creatures was amazing. I know I'm always making comparisons with "back home", but what other yardstick did I have? Back home nobody kept tropical fish. The only fish we saw were cod, haddock and mackerel at the fishmonger, and the occasional goldfish as a prize at the fair.

One of my big hobbies in Singapore was our aquarium. We only had guppies and tetras, but they completely fascinated me.

peter said...

The first n only time I stepped into the National Theater was in 1963. My father forced me to attend the Southeast Asia Cultural Show which had (I think)8 future ASEAN countries performing their culturaldances on stage.

The only interesting country item for me was the bamboo dance from the Phil and the worst was this Cambodian dance with all the "tong, tong and tong". From that day I dread coming near the National Theater even for picture-taking.

Brian and Tess said...

Chun See, yes Cliff Richard did appear at a sports hall, I can remember that. No I don't recall the fuss created and of course the Rollling Stones came after I have left Spore - saw them in their very early days in the UK and spent a day trying to get a tartan waistcoat just like Jaggers - without success!

Lam Chun See said...

The Spore Badminton Hall bldg is still there; at Guillemard Rd. Last year, when John Harper visited, we had dinner at the famous Fatty Weng's restaurant just beside this bldg. Of course it no longer functions as a venue for badminton tornaments.

Lam Chun See said...

Notice that the fee is only $4 or $5. Nowadays, if you want to watch an international pop group, you have to pay much much more; even for over-the-hill pop stars like Tom Jones.