John Kani as Lunga Kunene and Sir Antony Sher as Jack Morris, in scenes from Kunene and the King, which was performed at the Fugard Theatre. Picture: Ellie Kurttz
John Kani as Lunga Kunene and Sir Antony Sher as Jack Morris, in scenes from Kunene and the King, which was performed at the Fugard Theatre. Picture: Ellie Kurttz

John Kani laments closure of The Fugard Theatre: 'Another icon has fallen'

By Theolin Tembo Time of article published Mar 17, 2021

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“Another icon has fallen to Covid-19.”

This is how acclaimed South African actor John Kani has described the news of the closure of Cape Town’s Fugard Theatre.

The theatre is closing its doors permanently with immediate effect, after being shut for a full year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many performing arts institutions have experienced significant economic setbacks in the past year due to the lockdown regulations and this has resulted in closures of several popular theatre houses.

The founder of the 320-seater theatre, located in the historic Sacks Futeran building in Cape Town’s District Six, said in a statement posted on its website on Tuesday it would not be safe health-wise or financially viable to reopen in the foreseeable future.

“The theatre will be handed back to the owner of the freehold of the building – the board of The District 6 Museum – as a working theatre and we hope that they will be able to use it for the benefit of the Museum and the District 6 community,” founder, producer and benefactor Eric Abraham said.

The Fugard Theatre. Picture: Supplied

He thanked the theatre staff for all their hard work as well as patrons for their support of the Fugard Theatre over the last 10 years.

On social media, many people have come out and shared just how devastating and heartbreaking they have found the news that the theatre is closing.

Kani, along with other performers and also “Moffie” director Oliver Hermanus shared their feelings over the loss of the Fugard:

I still cry about this production! I was obsessed with The Fugard Theatre and all I wanted was to be on that stage. When...

Posted by Loren Loubser onWednesday, 17 March 2021

The closing of the Fugard is such an inditement on the ANC. The theatre relief fund was squandered and mismanaged....

Posted by Andre Schwartz onWednesday, 17 March 2021

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