Live music performance at The Substation

The first independent arts centre established in Singapore, The Substation was founded in September 1990 by Chinese theatre director and writer Kuo Pao Kun. The centre derives its name from the conservation building it now occupies, a former power substation built in 1926.

This independent arts centre now produces and stages a range of artworks and performances spanning the realms of dance, literature, music, theatre and visual art.

Depending on the season, visitors will find a diverse range of artists and events on its programme line-up, from young poets and established visual artists to local rock bands and international short film festivals.

Experimenting with space
Interior of Timbre at The Substation at night

The venue houses two main performance areas—a 108-seater black box theatre and a 113-square-metre white cube visual art space known as The Substation Gallery. In line with the experimental nature of the space, many artists have come up with novel uses of the centre’s other spaces, for example, staging plays in the gallery space, or even using areas such as the stairwells and the rooftops for artistic presentations. Art and photography classes are also conducted here.

If you’re after a spot of light entertainment, drop by Timbre, the bar and bistro in The Substation’s open-air garden, which features nightly live gigs by local bands and visiting artistes.