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Theatres of History and Memory



Between 2017-2018, the Theatres project documented the little-studied industrial history of Singapore and considered how this history may be utilised in heritage programming. The project is supported by the Heritage Research Grant of the National Heritage Board, Singapore.


Our project investigated three research questions:

  • Who were the various actors in the industrial history of Singapore?

  • What are the rich memories of this monumental history?

  • How can people shape and participate in industrial heritage programming?



We conceptualised the industrial history of Singapore as being made by ‘a thousand different hands’ (Samuel 1994), working in conjunction on three scales:


  1. The national scale. The Singapore government was a key actor, planning, commissioning and implementing a wide range of industrial projects from the 1950s to the present.

  2. The global scale. The government worked closely with international non-governmental organisations, technical experts and multinational corporations, underlining a Transnational Singapore open to global expertise, capital, labour, and technology.

  3. The local scale. The contributions of a wide range of people, from industrialists, managers and supervisors to technical staff, production workers, consumers, and their families and communities, laid the foundation for the industrialisation programme.

Research Team

Dr Loh Kah Seng (Principal Investigator)

Mr Alex Tan Tiong Hee (Co-Investigator)

Dr Koh Keng We (Co-Investigator)

Dr James Ang (Co-Investigator)

Ms Juria Toramae (Photographer)


Contact: Dr Loh Kah Seng


Join our Facebook group, ‘Theatres of History and Memory: Industrial Heritage of 20th Century Singapore’.

Theatres of History and Memory (2017-2018) is funded by a National Heritage Board Heritage Research Grant and administered by the Economic Growth Centre (EGC) of Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

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