Saturday, October 17, 2009

Esplanade - World Class ?

Anyone who has attended a concert or a play is likely to remember how closely pack are the rows of seats. There is hardly any leg room.

I often wonder how Esplanade theatre with 2000 seats and its concert hall with 1600 seats could be approved under fire / safety regulation. If there is any fire or emergency, there will be chaos and likely the fatality rate will be high since escape is hinder by the poor seats arrangement.

Those who are tall, once seated down, their knees will be touching the row in front. Even a small build person like me find it uncomfortable, with hard any leg room to stretch my legs for the average 2 hours program. It reminds me of the economy class seats in commercial flight.

Singaporeans have the habit of not arriving on time even for concerts. This causes alot of inconvenient to those who are already seated. Besides, late comers are endangering themselves too. Yes, it is a hazard just making your way to your seat. I often have seen late comers tripping over the feet of seated patrons and losing their balance in the process.

There is no doubt the acoustic and sound system are top-notch. But we are talking about a $600 million project - why so little consideration is given to fire / safety and audience comfort ?

Walk into any cinema under Shaw, Golden Village, Cathay....etc. the leg room between two rows of seats is wider than Esplanade concert hall and theatre. I am sure these private organisations are profit orientated too. At least they do not sacrifice patrons safety and comfort in the process.

I still wonder how on earth such seats arrangement could pass fire safety regulation. If such seats arrangement comes from the local cinema operators (which have much smaller seating capacity than Esplanade) would it have been given the 'green light' ?

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