Theatre on the Square in urgent need of financial aid to avoid permanent closure

By Kedibone Modise Time of article published Apr 21, 2021

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Sandton’s independent Theatre on Square is at risk of shutting its doors permanently due to a lack of funding.

The award-winning theatre house recently announced that they have lost their corporate sponsorship and are facing the grim possibility of closure.

This comes on the back of the theatre shut down due to Covid-19 safety regulations.

Daphne Khun, the owner, producer and artistic director, issued a statement outlining their fundraising strategy to help keep the theatre venue alive.

"As with worldwide theatres, ticket sales sadly cannot suffice, and in this last year, there has been no income whatsoever. We now do not have a naming rights sponsor, nor the privilege of any governmental or provincial subsidy.

"However, the show is not over until the fat lady sings," read the statement.

“This is not only for entertainment and the cultural upliftment of all but almost more importantly, to keep our industry alive, for the benefit of our struggling artists, actors, directors, technicians, playwrights, musicians, dancers, choreographers and all creatives.

“We cannot possibly lose this amazing art form at our theatre, nor can we lose any more of our amazing South African talents and icons.”

Kuhn is hopeful about welcoming theatre lovers back by June.

“We have devised a fundraising programme for which your support would be invaluable for our continuity and our future. Without this we could face closure,” said Kuhn.

She continued to express her gratitude for the support she and her team received from many South Africans in the last 25 years.

“I would like to thank you, our devoted patrons, for all your generous support over the past 25 years. To enable us to re-open, we shall need your support more than ever,” she added.

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

A group of theatre practitioners recently started a petition, demanding that the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa be axed for failing to support the artists despite the R150 million relief fund was set aside to assist struggling artists.

“We call on President Ramaphosa to launch ‘a new dawn’ for arts and culture by exercising his right to replace the Minister, as well as the leadership of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture that has been complicit in the failures of the Department and the minister for the last number of years,” read the petition statement.

In March, the iconic Fugard Theatre announced its permanent closure, due to devastating financial constraints.

For more information on the fundraising programme for visit Theatre on the Square.

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