Theatre-goers in Singapore today enjoy traditional ethnic theatre such as Chinese opera and Malay bangsawan (which took root in Singapore in the 19th and 20th century respectively), as well as contemporary theatre, which emerged in 1950s and 60s with the establishment of mainly amateur groups.
English language theatre started gaining prominence in the 1980s along with a shift in educational policy that established English language as the main language of instruction. In the following decade of economic growth and social stability, theatre groups started moving towards professional and semi-professional status, developing artistically in varied directions, from traditional to the avant garde as well as the commercial / popular.
Today, there are more than 130 theatre companies and societies in Singapore, practicing a range of contemporary and traditional ethnic theatrical forms. Various assistance and development resources are available to develop the local theatre industry at all levels from the budding thespian and emerging theatre company, to the professional actor or theatre company.