After a four-year refurbishment, the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall has since reopened, with its first official concert held there in August 2014.
The grand dames of Singapore's performing arts scene, home to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO), didn’t start off as a purpose-built theatre. Instead, it was completed in 1862 as a Town Hall with a theatre, but became too small for either function.
In 1901, it was decided that a memorial hall was to be built to commemorate Queen Victoria, who passed away in January that year, and that the Town Hall would be incorporated into the design of the memorial hall. The Victoria Memorial Hall was built next to the Town Hall, the facades were unified in the Palladian architectural style and a clock tower erected to join the two buildings together. The Town Hall was renamed Victoria Theatre. Today, it stands as an iconic landmark in Singapore’s city centre.
A new beginning
In 1979, a gallery was added, the Victoria Memorial Hall was renamed the Victoria Concert Hall and the SSO took up residence there. But even grand dames need to constantly renew themselves, evident in the recent renovation that improved acoustics and facilities while preserving façade and heritage elements.
The SSO currently performs at other venues, but when the venue reopens its doors later this year, its hallowed halls will once again be filled with the sound of music.