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Singapore Theatre Company plans another name change following recent rebrand

Singapore Theatre Company (STC) will be undergoing a second name change after its recent rebrand from Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) drew criticism. It acknowledges community feedback, expressing commitment to unity and a new name, yet to be revealed.

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(Photo: Singapore Theatre Company)

The Singapore Theatre Company (STC) revealed its intention to undergo another name change in the near future on Thursday (8 Feb).

This announcement followed the recent rebranding of STC from the Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT), a decision that garnered criticism from certain segments of the local theatre industry.

STC explained the rationale behind the second rebrand in a post, stating, “We recently went through a rebrand to drop ‘Repertory’ from our previous name Singapore Repertory Theatre to become Singapore Theatre Company. This was meant to reflect our journey as a theatre production company in Singapore.”

The group acknowledged receiving feedback from peers in the community regarding the initial rebrand.

Emphasizing the significance of a united community for the thriving theatre scene, STC expressed its commitment to change the name from STC.

The new name, yet to be unveiled, is expected to take effect before the next show in August.

Positive reception for STC’s revision of name

STC’s recent decision to change its name has garnered a more positive response, with Rama Chandran, founder and director of children’s theater company Act 3 Theatrics, expressing appreciation in a Facebook post on Thursday (8 Feb).

Chandran, who had previously criticized STC’s name change, commended the company for publicly announcing its decision.

In his post, Chandran addressed the board, specifically mentioning Gaurav and Charlotte, stating, “Dear SRT, the board, and especially Gaurav and Charlotte, thank you. I respect your publicly announcing your decision to change your company name from STC. I appreciate your move. As promised, I applaud you.”

Chandran had earlier criticized STC, stating that SRT was “disrespectful” to those working in ‘Singapore theatre’ by modifying its name to “Singapore Theatre Company” (STC).

His criticisms centered around the perceived lack of acknowledgment and incorporation of the efforts made by many in the theatre industry since the early days of Singapore’s independence.

STC faces criticism after renaming to ‘Singapore Theatre Company’

On 1 February, STC officially announced its name change to “Singapore Theatre Company” following the celebration of its 30th anniversary in 2023.

The former SRT, previously renowned for notable productions of Shakespeare in the Park at Fort Canning Green, justified the rebranding by emphasizing that the new name, STC, would better represent Singapore on the international stage.

Mr Gaurav Kripalani explained that the decision to drop “repertory” from the name had been under consideration for a year.

“No one knows what it means. We’ve never been a repertory company,” he said.

Mr Kripalani highlighted the company’s international ambitions, stating that adopting the name STC would enhance their representation on the global stage.

However, despite the strategic reasoning, many members have openly expressed their dissatisfaction with the change, labeling it as “disrespectful” and arguing that the name bears a substantial responsibility in representing Singapore.

There is a growing call within the community urging the company to reconsider its decision in light of these concerns.

Despite the criticism, Mr Kripalani reiterated the company’s commitment to its new name on 1 February.

He clarified that it was never the intention to position STC as the catch-all Singaporean theatre company.

He explained that the rebranding decision aimed to eliminate the association with “repertory theatre,” which refers to a company with full-time actors performing from a repertoire, from SRT’s name.

He clarified that the objective was to retain ‘Singapore’ in the name to reflect the company’s roots.

STC was chosen after consulting with peers in the industry.

Expressing regret for any discontent caused, Mr Kripalani assured that STC would be mindful moving forward.

He added, “We recognise that we are part of a wonderfully broad and diverse ecosystem, and do not claim to be the representative theatre company of Singapore.”

“All of us have a role to play in the Singapore theatre community. We have tremendous respect for our peers (and) value the perspectives shared from the wider community.”

National Arts Council backs STC’s name change application

Besides STC and Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, and Singapore Ballet, prominently feature the city-state’s name and are perceived as national flagship companies by the general public.

Approval from the authorities is required for any arts company using the term ‘Singapore’ in its name.

According to a report by The Straits Times (ST), the National Arts Council confirmed on 1 February that it endorsed STC’s application with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

Acknowledging the diverse opinions on the name change, the council highlighted that Singapore’s vibrant arts landscape results from the collective contributions of numerous companies and individuals.

Regarding STC’s future role, the council stated, “We recognise their intent to refresh and reposition itself for the longer term, and the vision and direction remain at the discretion of the company’s board and management.”

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