Clarissa Oon


Clarissa Oon has followed developments in Singapore and Asian arts and culture since the late 1990s, first as a journalist and editor, and then as Head of Communications and Content for Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Singapore’s national performing arts centre. 

From 1999 to 2004, she was an arts journalist and the resident theatre reviewer at The Straits Times. Following stints with the newspaper covering Singapore politics and moving to China as its Beijing correspondent, she was Deputy Life Editor from 2014 to 2016, steering arts and lifestyle coverage and mentoring younger journalists. 

She is the author of the book, Theatre Life: A History of English Language Theatre in Singapore through The Straits Times, 1958-2000 (Singapore Press Holdings, 2001). As a writer and columnist, she has also written on cultural policy, contemporary Asian literature and visual art for books such as The State and the Arts in Singapore: Policies and Institutions (World Scientific, 2018) and the magazine ArtReview Asia. 

At Esplanade, Clarissa is leading the development of digital content. Esplanade Learn ( draws on the arts centre’s rich archives of music, dance and theatre in Singapore and Asia, and seeks to provide a complementary digital experience to the live performance.