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About Kreta Ayer People's Theatre

One of the most prosperous countries in Southeast Asia is the tiny island nation of Singapore. Located near the tip of the Malaysia peninsula, Singapore, although only 1/5th the size of Rhode Island, boasts the busiest harbour in the region making it a major financial, communications and transportation hub of Southeast Asia.

The population of this melting pot of more than 4.3 million people is made up principally of Chinese, Malayan, East Indian and English ethnic groups with the Chinese comprising nearly three-quarters of the population. Because of that the largest ethnic district in Singapore is the Kreta Ayer, or China Town district. And nestled in the heart of the district is the Kreta Ayer People's Theatre, considered the main venue in Singapore for Chinese opera. The theatre traces its origins back to 1960 when it began as a makeshift stage at the Kreta Ayer Community Centre, a place where local Chinese cultural performances could be presented for the community's residents.

In 1969, the theatre acquired its own site at 30A Kreta Ayer Road giving it a permanent stage and an open-air auditorium. Since its humble beginnings the theatre has undergone a series of improvements and redevelopment, including a complete rebuilding in the late 1970's at a cost of $1.2 million which established its current seating capacity of 1,102. Chinese opera, still one of the most popular forms of entertainment and culture for the Chinese people, can be traced back to the Soong dynasty (1179-1279 AD) and the Kreta Ayer People's Theatre is credited with keeping the tradition of Chinese opera alive and thriving in Singapore for more than three decades.

The Kreta Ayer People's Theatre Foundation continually funds improvements to the theatre and its current programme of upgrades is part of a overall redevelopment of the Kreta Ayer district in an effort to make it one of the top attractions in Singapore for tourists and locals alike while retaining all tradition and cultural structural ambiance of the area. One part of the most recent renovation plans, begun in 2002, included the installation of a completely new sound system.

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