The closure of the iconic Fugard Theatre in Cape Town has left the industry reeling. It’s just the latest business to fall because of the devastating financial blow delivered to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other major arts and culture venues have also been scrambling to survive lockdown. Meanwhile, artists have been begging the government to do more to help the sector.
Named in honour of internationally-acclaimed playwright, Athol Fugard, the Fugard Theatre first opened its doors in 2010. When the pandemic hit, the theatre had to close its doors temporarily…and now, they will remain that way.
An online notice earlier this week stated it’s not financially viable to reopen the theatre. Instead, it will be handed back to the board of the District Six Museum, the owner of the building.
For the Museum, which has been battling financially as well, losing its principal stream of income is a massive blow.
District Six Museum Board Chair Siraj Desai said, “what we are confronted with now is trying to find a tenant for the Fugard Theatre, which may be extremely difficult, but not insurmountable. Since then I’ve had communications with several parties, including people overseas. The closure also affects Cape Town’s biggest performance venue…
Artscape Theatre CEO Marlene Le Roux said, “the Fugard and Artscape, we had a partnership. All their big productions like West End was staged at Artscape, so we’re also losing out. If one theatre close, another one will suffer.
Other venues have had to find innovative ways to ride out the pandemic storm.
A group of artists has been staging a sit-in at the National Arts Council offices over the last few weeks, demanding answers related to the government’s relief plan for the sector, called the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme. The Council says to date, over R37 million has been paid to 330 beneficiaries from the programme.
In other news – Naak Musiq opens up About His Relationship With Actress Nandi Mbatha
Multi-talented media personality Naak Musiq was the latest guest on the popular Podcast And Chill with Mac G and he addressed his infamous beef with Prince Kaybee as well as his much talked about a failed relationship with actress and model Nandi Mbatha.
Describing it as just a ‘lockdown fling’, Naak said it was nothing serious and that they were working on a campaign together. Learn more