Artscape building celebrates 50th anniversary
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Cape Town - Just days after the arts community was devastated by the closure of the Fugard Theatre, the building which houses the Artscape theatre would be celebrating its 50th anniversary.
The Artscape, established as the Nico Malan Theatre in 1971, will host a 50th celebration concert on Saturday to mark the golden anniversary.
The line-up of traditional African music, acrobatics, jazz, drama, dance and exhibitions will depict memorable moments in the move from Nico to Artscape. The theatre was reserved for whites under the apartheid regime.
Directed by Basil Appollis, the concert will feature the Artscape theatre’s associated companies.
Artscape chief executive Marlene le Roux said: “When I think of this building and the theme we have chosen to celebrate its golden jubilee, ’Yesterday, today and tomorrow’, I am reminded that the Nico Malan just five decades ago opened its doors, excluding the largest section of the population, as if we just didn’t exist, treating us like the second-class citizens the apartheid regime believed us to be. And yet here we are in 2021 in all our glory, telling our stories on the very stages that, alas, were denied us when it first opened its doors.
“That is what this building represents: the evolution of a species, the struggles of stalwarts, the wherewithal of those that helped to bring us to this point in our history. And it is to them that we give thanks as the building turns 50.”
The concert was made possible by the City, the Western Cape Provincial Government and the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.
Mayco member for Community Services and Health Zahid Badroodien said the City’s Arts and Culture branch funds the theatre through a formal partnership and was contributing to the concert.
“The Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to plague the world, has had an enormous impact on the arts and threatened the future of productions in South Africa. As we are about to mark a full year of lockdown restrictions, the 50th anniversary concert this Saturday underscores the resilience of Artscape.”
The concert will be accessible to all through the Artscape YouTube channel, free of charge at 8pm on Saturday.