Arts News Singapore

DBS partners Esplanade to bring meaningful experiences to the community and foster inclusivity

DBS and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay today announced a strategic partnership, anchored by a common vision to help uplift the community and pave the way towards a more inclusive and socially-conscious Singapore. This builds on the bank’s ongoing efforts and initiatives in and around the Marina Bay area to give back to the community.

As part of the new partnership, DBS will donate SGD 3.5 million towards Esplanade, in support of the full range of free programmes that will be presented at its Outdoor Theatre every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and on public holidays. As such, the Outdoor Theatre, which has a seated and standing capacity of about 1,000 people, will be recognised as the DBS Foundation Outdoor Theatre at Esplanade for the next five years.

Beginning 3 May 2023, the bank will also launch and present its own series of free programmes – “DBS Perspectives @ Esplanade” – at the DBS Foundation Outdoor Theatre, which will run mostly on the first and last Wednesday of every month. Members of the public can expect to enjoy a variety of programmes ranging from live shows, interactive dialogues, to experiential workshops.

Ms Karen Ngui, DBS Group Head of Strategic Marketing and Communications, and Board Member of DBS Foundation, said, “It is a huge privilege to be working with the Esplanade, which has been integral in promoting and widening access to the arts in the community. With the myriad of uncertainties we all face – be it the pandemic, inflation concerns or geopolitical tensions, among others – it is even more important that we find light in our daily lives and develop a greater sense of community to uphold one another. We look forward to providing the community with more experiences to discover, explore and express themselves, and more opportunities to come together and bond.”

Ms Yvonne Tham, CEO, The Esplanade Co Ltd, said, “We express our heartfelt appreciation to DBS for its generous gift to the arts. In the 20 years since Esplanade first opened our doors, this Outdoor Theatre has become an indispensable part of the civic life at the Marina Bay and is a key part of what makes Singapore’s cityscape dynamic and inclusive. Every weekend, regardless of ability or background, anyone can sit down at this theatre to enjoy the arts. This stage has also provided countless opportunities for Singapore artists, particularly emerging musicians and performers, to connect with new audiences and dream bigger. In the wake of the pandemic and amidst global uncertainties, we are encouraged that DBS Foundation has stepped forward to share and grow these efforts in bringing diverse people together, uplifting spirits, and inspiring Singapore’s creative future through the arts.”

Titled “DBS Perspectives @ Esplanade”, the programme line-up seeks to bring diverse segments of the community together to explore, connect, and engage on pertinent societal themes interlacing Singapore’s past, present, and future – with topics ranging from a lighthearted look into intergenerational dynamics within the family, to unpacking the nation’s sustainability concerns, to diving into much-needed discussions around issues such as mental health, among others.

With food being an essential part of Singapore’s culture and heritage, programmes will also focus on using food as a medium to spark new ideas and exchanges around Singapore’s foodrelated challenges, such as food waste. This also builds on DBS’ broader ‘Towards Zero Food Waste’ initiative – launched in 2020 to rally its stakeholders (including employees, customers, ecosystem partners, and the wider community) to help pave the way towards a more food secure and resilient future, this has generated over 2,000 tonnes of food impact across Asia to date.

In addition, “DBS Perspectives @ Esplanade” aims to be a platform for like-minded impactmakers to come together and join the bank in shaping meaningful experiences. For example, 3 May’s instalment – “Intergenerational Fashion Runway” – is organised in partnership with local social enterprises City Sprouts, The Fashion Pulpit, and Singapore Fashion Runway, and will use fashion as a theme to explore and bridge generational perspectives and conversations. The show will even feature the social enterprises’ very own beneficiaries as runway models – making it truly a programme for the community, by the community.

“Through DBS Foundation’s work with many purpose-driven and innovative entrepreneurs in Singapore, we have witnessed first-hand the great ideas and potential residing within the nextgeneration. It is our hope that the DBS Foundation Outdoor Theatre can eventually be a stage for more of these bright minds to come forth, express their thoughts, and be heard,” said Ms Ngui.

With fostering inclusivity being a key priority of the DBS Foundation, it will also work with People of Purpose (PoP), DBS’ employee volunteer movement, to bring more underserved communities to the bay to enjoy experiences that they may not have been able to access otherwise. In 2022 alone, the bank’s employees contributed more than 50,000 volunteer hours and reached out to over 80,000 beneficiaries.

The popular DBS Sailing at the Bay programme was first launched in 2013. Now in its tenth year, over 42,000 people have enjoyed complimentary sailboat rides in Marina Bay, and this programme continues to be much sought after by the public. Moving forward, DBS will be increasing the frequency of sailing from two to five days a week. This means, in addition to the existing weekend sail days, the sailboats will also set sail every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, with priority slots reserved for the undeserved segments.

In addition, DBS is returning as the presenting sponsor of i Light Singapore, Asia’s leading sustainable light festival, for the second year running. The festival will be held at Marina Bay from 1 to 25 Jun 2023, and admission is free.

The partnership with Esplanade is the latest in the bank’s efforts in uplifting lives and livelihoods through its work with businesses for impact (i.e. businesses with a double bottomline of profit and impact) and community causes, as well as employee volunteerism.

DBS Foundation has supported over 800 businesses for impact since 2014. It also expanded its mandate last year with the formation of a Community Impact chapter to equip the underserved with digital and financial literacy skills to face the future with confidence, and enable communities to be more food secure and resilient.

For more details on the partnership and upcoming “DBS Perspectives @ Esplanade” programmes, visit their website here

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