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Has it been 4 years since Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall closed its doors for its renovation hiatus? I vividly remember the last backstage tour just before the building closed in May 2010. It was the last public tour of the original building before it made way for a total renovation.

The facade of the building is kept in tack except that the previously pristine white walls are now splashed with shades of gray. The area around the iconic black Sir Stamford Raffles statue is still under renovation and cordoned off.

As I stepped into the S$180-million refurbished Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall at their sneak peak open house weekend, I admit, I couldn't recognize the place. As far as I could recall, excluding the backstage tour, I visited the building two other times.

My first performance was the feet-tapping, heart-pounding, STOMP performance with Gerard and Chris. We set in the second row, face front to all the bang and action. Toward the end of the performance, the entire theatre stood stomping our feet to the percussion beat. It was a truly awesome experience. We understood the next day after all our intense stomping that the management advised the audience not to stomp as they were concerned the vibrations would cause structural problems to the 1900s building. Apparently we literally shook the house!

The second occasion was the "Little Shop Of Horrors" musical by The Dim Sum Dollies. Together with the FSPs, we snapped a picture with the original Dollies at the entrance of the theatre. Since then, we lost Emma Yong; one-third of the musical cabaret to stomach cancer in 2012.

A wide spacious corridor greets visitors as you enter. Originally composed of two separate buildings, the Concert Hall on the left and the Theatre on the right, the corridor historically stood in the centre. I have never seen the corridor before.

The interior facade of the left wing was designed differently to depict the pre-1950s era and the right wing to showcase Victorian architecture.

Ample natural light shine through the glass roof which peek through to the signature four faced clock tower.

The crimson red royal carpet lining the steps to the theatre has disappeared, exposing clean polished marble.

One of the new addition and a highlight to the building is a 3 storey spiral staircase that looks like a lit chandelier when viewed from a distance through the glass windows.

I didn't have enough time to catch the packed line up of free performances. Gone were the 883 red mildew seats in the original theatre which were removed to reduce the seating capacity to 673. Part of the renovation was to improve the acoustics which also resulted in more legroom for concert goers.

The old seats were innovatively used as part of a ceiling art installation. You could still see the white painted numbers imprinted on the chairs. It was a beautiful way to infuse the rich history back into the new building.

I left by the back of the building where the stage door is, hoping to catch a glimpse (with little luck) of the backstage.

Gone are the musky smell and empty hollow feel of the building, now replaced with cold blast of air conditioning and freshly painted walls. Slowly but surely, from one historical building to the next... keep it old on the outside with all the new tech and frills in the inside.

More Pictures of Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall Open House 2014

Singapore Arts Festival 2010 - Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall Backstage Tour
Singapore Arts Festival 2010 - The Carnival Of Animals and Peter & The Wolf
Little Shop Of Horrors
Turandot: Night At The Opera
Puccini Gala: The Virgin Opera
Puccini's La Bohème Opera

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