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#mydurian. Yours Too.

Durian is a fruit, referred to as the “King of Fruit” by many in Southeast Asia. It is oblong in shape, has creamy flesh protected under its spiky husk, and is known to evoke a range of emotions in people with regards to its smell and taste. Durians enjoy incredible loyalty and have fans that savor it in items ranging from ice cream to pizza.

A roof side view of Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay.
A roof side view of Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay. Photo courtesy: Singapore Tourism Board

Durian is also the nick name Singaporeans have given Esplanade- Theatres on the Bay, a place where stories from near and far come to life through art, music, dance and drama; reaching beyond the mundane to the sublime.

Esplanade is Singapore’s national performing arts centre and one of the busiest arts centres in the world. It got its nickname because the more than 7,000 triangular aluminium sunshades that cover its two circular glass shell structures looked somewhat like spikes on two halves of the fruit. The structure wasn’t meant to be a durian (or a papaya, microphone, marshmallow or anything else the structure was openly ridiculed to be like in its earlier days); it ended up being like that because it seemed to the architects the most interesting way of doing sunshades. They wanted to use glass because the views from Esplanade are beautiful in all directions, but since Singapore is so close to the equator, the structure also had to be protected from the sunshine and heat radiation.

Over time scoff turned into fondness. Esplanade became a place to connect with people and the arts.

In Singapore, Esplanade- Theatres on the Bay is where you go if you want to attend a magnificent international performance or a breath-taking local presentation, a programme tailor-made for children or a workshop for senior citizens, a free treat of music or dance, a jog or a casual walk around the serene waters overlooking the Marina Bay. This is where you could possibly see a child running on the promenade with a balloon in hand and parents watching with love filled in their eyes, a granny in a wheelchair smiling, marvelling at the view and explaining to her grandchild how the landscape changed over the years, a young couple sipping their bubble tea enjoying a free concert in the outdoor theatre and yet another couple posing in slick blue suit and bridal finery for a wedding photoshoot.  Esplanade is where you see people of all age groups and ethnicity soaking the atmosphere in a calm relaxed environment. An environment that is conducive to appreciating the finer things of life, the arts.

A nightview of the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay.
A nightview of the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay. Photo courtesy: SIngapore Tourism Board

Esplanade- Theatres on the Bay opened its doors on 12th October 2002. It has since hosted over 37,000 performances in its world class performance spaces, engaged its venues with 26 million audiences and welcomed 92 million visitors since its inception. It celebrates the fifteenth year with #mydurian, a year-long series of programmes and activities bringing together people and stories that have helped shape this iconic centre for performing arts in Singapore.

Our made in Singapore Durian attracts people from all corners of the world and all walks of life to savor or cultivate a taste for the arts, both local and global. Come and be enthralled.

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, is my kind of Durian, #mydurian.

Sunanda Verma
Sunanda Verma – Senior Writer

Sunanda is a writer-journalist. In a previous avatar she worked as a Prime Time and Special shows TV News Producer with Star News (now ABP), Zee News and TV Today Networks. She enjoys deciphering cultural codes across nationalities, age groups and gender. Sunanda celebrates inspiration, and her writings take such stories beyond geographical, cultural, social or religious boundaries.