Nathalie Ribette, Founder, Artistic + Executive Director of Sing’theatre
I moved to Singapore in 1996, and, two years later, decided to pursue my old dream of being a performing artist,” recounts Nathalie Ribette, a French national turned Singapore permanent resident. After starring in musical productions at the Alliance Française, and then working in a professional entertainment group and at leading local theatre company Wild Rice, she was convinced she could play an important role in the arts scene here.
In 2006, Nathalie started Sing’theatre, a not-for-profit theatre company specialising in musical theatre production and education in Singapore. But she didn’t stop there – she wanted to spread music to the wider community. “We are the only company that brings live music to patients in hospitals on a regular basis,” Nathalie shares of the 365 Days of Music @Singhealth, an initiative organised by Sing’theatre. It provides live music performances at Singhealth hospitals seven days a week throughout the year.
Her reason for spearheading this programme is personal. “I was trying to find meaning after losing my close friend to cancer in 2012. It was supposed to be a one-off,” she recalls. After seeing its success, however, the 365 Days of Music event has happened every year, except in 2020 because of Covid, when it went virtual.
She could not have done it alone, of course. Nathalie says her biggest supporters are her family members: sons Robin and Thibault, daughter Alice, and husband Herve. “The first logo [was] created by my son Robin in 2006 when he was 10 years old! My first student was my daughter, and my husband was the sound engineer and IT person for the first 10 years!”
Thanks to her non-profit business’s sustained success as well as her own commitment to giving back, Nathalie was named the 2021 Expatpreneur of the Year. As judge Junxian Lee notes, “We love that she’s supporting the arts sector and doing it as a non-profit. Very true to The Finder’s spirit of community.”
Started in 2017 by The Finder, the Expatpreneur Awards are intended to honour hard-working, successful, community-minded foreign-born business owners in Singapore. All winners must exhibit how their businesses help people “live well in Singapore” – The Finder’s own mission. This year, marks the fifth annual awards. Find out more here.
By Willaine G. Tan