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Kumar brought his irreverent humour to the heartlands in 2015, as part of the Singapore International Festival of Arts. 2015 saw a spike in the number of Singaporeans who attended at least one arts event.

Arts attendance hits all-time high in 2015

Sep 30, 2016 5:50 AM

A HIGH 78 per cent of Singaporeans attended an arts event in 2015, a jump from 2013's figure of 40 per cent. Participation in arts events - meaning workshops, courses and other activities - also saw a huge spike from 13 per cent in 2013 to 28 per cent in 2015.

Meanwhile, the percentage of Singaporeans who expressed interest in the arts and culture rose in 2015 to 41 per cent, another all-time high score. In 2013, the figure stood at 28 percent. Conversely, the 22 per cent of Singaporeans who did not attend a single arts event in 2015 cited reasons such as having no interest in the arts or family commitments.

The National Arts Council released the figures as part of its 2015 National Population Survey on the Arts. It interviewed a total of 2,041 Singaporeans and permanent residents between January and March this year to assess their level of interest in and engagement with their arts.

The survey found that 78 per cent of Singaporeans recognise the benefits and value of the arts and culture - a 15 per cent improvement from the 2013 figure. Approximately eight out of 10 Singaporeans feel that the arts help them express their thoughts, feelings and ideas more clearly.

If there's a caveat in the findings, it's that 2015 was an especially busy year for culture as Singapore celebrated its 50th anniversary. Numerous arts companies pulled out all the stops to take their best works to the stage, which was not limited to conventional ones. Makeshift stages were created in housing estates where well-known companies and personalities, such as theatre group DramaBox and comedian Kumar, performed to heartlanders.

Because of this, NAC CEO Kathy Lai admitted some figures may dip in the next survey set to be carried out in 2017. Nonetheless, Ms Lai notes that the rise in interest and engagement was consistent across all segments of the population - and not just among the well-heeled or well-educated. More details of the report are set to be released by the end of October.