JOBURG THEATRE KEEPS CURTAIN UP DURING COVID19
Joburg Theatre, an entity of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, has undoubtedly been in the forefront of providing live, as well as virtual entertainment, for patrons from all walks of life while creating opportunities for the youth, communities, renowned and upcoming artists during Covid19. Most theatres, production houses and entertainment venues have had to close their doors in the past few months.
During this pandemic, the Joburg Theatre had to postpone their biggest international productions, which were scheduled for performance on the Mandela Stage, which has a seating capacity of 1069. Some of these productions include The Color Purple, William Kentridge’s The Head and the Load, Janice Honeyman’s pantomime, Cinderella, and The Greatest Love of All starring the award-winning artist, Belinda Davids.
Joburg City Theatres, under the stewardship of Chief Executive Officer, Ms Xoliswa Nduneni Ngema, continues with its mandate of recognising the importance of growing and promoting local talent with the world. More importantly, the need to produce great stories and untold stories as a form of preserving the authenticity of our stories as a nation.
While maintaining brand relevance and staying true to the brand’s motto, ‘Where everyone plays a part’, the theatre continued to be the industry leaders in keeping the Arts Alive by offering virtual entertainment including: Dead End, directed by Makhaola Ndebele in July; Amanda Black’s tribute to Women’s Month in August; Cantiamo; a Mzansi Opera Celebration directed by Marcus Desando in October, The Johannesburg Arts Alive International Festival from September to December 2020 and the previous award-winning pantomimes including Sleeping Beauty (2015) throughout the festive season.
A ground-breaking partnership agreement has been entered into between WatchaTV and Joburg Theatre, to stage a series of concerts and special showcases involving some of the top artists and bands in South Africa. WatchaTV Virtual Stage, which has been hosting and broadcasting shows to the comfort of music fans homes before and during lockdown has now finally found a home at the Joburg Theatre.
Ms Xoliswa Nduneni Ngema says that “it was and it remains important that we adapt swiftly to the new norm as a theatre, by developing strategies on how we can continue providing a service to the public, while adhering to the regulations. Life has got to go on. It has not been easy but we have a great and determined team who strive to present world class entertainment”. She further adds that it is important that we keep the arts industry alive, hence the importance for creating job opportunities for artists, which has been her main priority from the onset of the pandemic as the arts industry is the worst hit during this time.
In an effort to sustain and promote the arts industry over the past months, Joburg Theatre hosted a few live entertainment productions such as the second annual Festival of The Lights at the Joburg Zoo and managed to secure income generating opportunities for over 100 artists performing at the festival. In November/ December of 2020, Brenda Mtambo sold out within the building and the award winning acapella group, The Soil, provided much needed outdoor vibes in the theatre park just outside the theatre.
All events were compliant with COVID19 regulations and protocols.
Joburg Theatre also offers structured and professional programs to promote active participation of disadvantaged communities in the performing arts. As part of Joburg Theatre Youth and Community Development initiatives, aspiring artists are offered professional opportunities to produce their own work and generate income through ticket sale in waiver of rental fees.
Joburg Theatre is renowned for staging award-winning artists and productions, to continue celebrating the lives of those that has contributed immensely to the arts.