The University Cultural Centre Façade (image courtesy of NUS Centre For the Arts)
The University Cultural Centre (UCC), situated in the west outskirts of the NUS campus, formally reopened on 22 March after a six-month closure.
Since it was first opened on 5 September 2000, the UCC has hosted a list of prominent political, cultural and artistic figures and was also a site for significant university events such as the annual NUS Commencement. Some key state events include the National Day Rallies and state funerals of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew and S.R. Nathan.
Managed by the Centre For the Arts and located in the Kent Ridge campus’ cultural cluster, the UCC has been recognised as a venue the connects students with the arts. It seeks to provide students with creative opportunities that facilitate transformative learning processes in effort to ensure a holistic development suited for the modern global economy.
Inklings of these ideas were resonant in NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye’s speech at the opening:
“The arts and humanities play an important role in our education mission to prepare our students to thrive and ride opportunities in this rapidly changing world. Deep mastery of a single discipline no longer suffices.”
“[O]ur students must be able to work across perceived boundaries, to leverage diversity and foster new ideas. All these are skills that can blossom through engagement with the arts.”
To enhance the educational and theatre experience at UCC, the place underwent significant renovation improvements to its different spaces.
The UCC hall (image courtesy of NUS Centre For the Arts)
A key feature of the UCC, the UCC hall is a proscenium performance space designed with features that allow for optimum sound performance. With accommodating venue proportions and production infrastructure, the space is one ideal for live performances, seminars and ceremonial events. The renovation saw an upgrade of the UCC hall with new seating throughout the space and new flooring within its stalls. The hall now also has an updated technical production infrastructure, new lighting and air conditioning as well as other guest amenity improvements.
The UCC theatre (image courtesy of NUS Centre For the Arts
The UCC theatre is another key feature of the cultural arts powerhouse that offers an intimate and adaptable performance space with proportions suitable for unamplified performances. Boasting adaptable infrastructures such as an extendable stage and retractable three-tiered seating, the theatre is set apart from other key UCC spaces as the one most customisable within the venue. Like the hall, the theatre enjoyed a similar upgrade with an improved seating that now offers new seat retraction system, updated technical production infrastructure, new lighting and air conditioning, and guest amenity improvements.
The UCC atrium (image courtesy of NUS Centre For the Arts)
The UCC upgrade also witnessed the introduction of a new space – the atrium. This space features extensive glass panelling that connects the UCC’s comfortable inner space with the natural greenery of the grounds. Situated between the hall and the theatre, the atrium was built on the site of a previously underused courtyard and designed to mirror the iconic façade of the UCC’s main entrance.
Further improvements from the UCC’s renovation works include upgrades to its ancillary spaces. The UCC’s welcoming porch underwent an expansion that served a double capacity. It now provides greater protection from the weather to visiting guests whilst also embellishing the venue, giving it a more outstanding structure. A sweeping stairway that connects levels 1 and 2 has also been introduced to the west side of UCC’s foyer, heightening the venue’s sense of scale with the clear line of sight to the UCC’s key spaces it allows from the main entrance. In addition, new covered walkways now connect the backstage areas of the theatre and the hall, making movement between the spaces easier.
Now more operationally and environmentally efficient, the UCC continues to be a venue of choice, capable of meeting the high standards that its functions require.
“Our responsibility is to ensure that it continues to be the best it can be; not just as a venue with reliable, state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure, but one to hold the many special moments in the history of the university, for many generations of students, staff and faculty.”
– CFA director Ms Sharon Tan
The reopening of the UCC was the first of many events to come to commemorate the CFA’s silver jubilee in 2018. A formal celebration of this milestone will be held in July at the UCC. This anniversary is also a part of the NUS Arts Festival held in September. A list of further events can be found at http://bit.ly/25events