Nonzwakazi Cekete
2 minute read
17 Mar 2021
3:20 pm

The Fugard Theatre shuts its doors for good

Nonzwakazi Cekete

After years of successful operations, The Fugard Theatre has shut down and the lockdown brought on by the Corona virus is to blame

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA- AUGUST 4: South African director, actor and writer, Athol Fugard during an interview on August 4, 2014 at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town, South Africa. The 82-year-old has returned to South Africa for good and will make his first appearance on stage in 15 years in his latest play ëThe Shadow of the Hummingbirdî.

Covid-19 continues to have a dire impact on the arts and entertainment industry, with the Fugard Threatre in Cape Town being the latest casuality. This historic theatre is shutting its doors for good and theatre lover are shattered by this move. “After a year of Covid closure it is with great regret and sadness that I have to confirm that The Fugard Theatre will close permanently with immediate effect,” says Eric Abraham, the founder, producer, benefactor of The Fugard Theatre.  This theatre has been home to plays such as Master Harold…and the boys, The Road to Mecca,King Kong, Shakespeare in Love to name but a few.

It’s almost a year that the country has been under lockdown and in the past couples of months, the arts and entertainment industry has been hardest hit as the country navigates between lockdown levels. Looking at the events of the past year, it makes sense why The Fugard Theatre is left with no choice but to close down.  Last year, four months into the lockdown, a decision was taken that it would be closed until there is effective treatment.

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“The Fugard Theatre & Bioscope will remain closed until we can be confident that staff, performers and audiences will not be at risk as a result of the availability of a vaccine or effective treatment for the Covid-19 virus. We do not envisage this to be until some point late next year (2021) at the earliest. Regrettably the majority of our staff have had to be retrenched and a small care-taking team will remain in place to ensure that The Fugard is well maintained and in a state of readiness for the day when it is safe and financially viable to re-open. I would like to thank all staff for their extraordinary achievement over the last decade in making The Fugard one of Africa’s foremost theatres. I would like to thank patrons for coming and supporting The Fugard. Keep well all,” a post read on Facebook last year in July.

Even with the vaccine slowly making its way to our shores, it doesn’t look like anything can salvage this premier theatre, cinema and event destinations in the heart of District Six, Cape Town.

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