The Substation’s place in the Singapore arts scene during the early 1990s was as a pioneer arts space. This was due both to Kuo Pao Kun’s visionary leadership and inspirational presence, as well as to the fact that at the time there just were so few spaces for the arts, let alone spaces for the more experimental arts.
Many of the artists who worked with The Substation in the early days were attempting things that were unprecedented in the history of modern arts and culture in Singapore. Even as a venue, The Substation had a significance back then that has since been superseded: then, up-and-coming groups like The Necessary Stage (TNS) would stage their plays at The Substation’s Guinness Theatre or in the Garden. Now, TNS has its own offices and black box at the Marine Parade Community Club Building, it regularly stages its plays at large venues like the Victoria Theatre or Jubilee Hall, and is one of the most prominent arts groups in the country.
At The Substation,there’s an impressive diversity of artists, a number of whom have proven themselves over the years, and while maintaining their independence. Moreover, the principle mode of working with artists is to develop long-term relationships, and to engage in intense curatorial and artistic dialogue with artists. The approach both deepens and supports the diversity of local arts practices. Arts spaces like The Substation are therefore essential to the quality and vitality of the local arts scene.