Opened in 2010, The Fugard Theatre, a not-for-profit stage of expression through plays and narratives, in District Six (Cape Town) was opened to honour the contribution of Athol Fugard to the theatre space.
And 10 years later, it said goodbye.
The Fugard Theatre took its final bow and closed curtains on Tuesday, the 16th of March 2021. The announcement was released by its founder and benefactor, Eric Abraham, on their website. Abraham stated that the theatre will be permanently closed. The country is sadden by this and expressed their grievances with the systemic issues that our Arts and Culture sector fail to resolve. The message that came through is that the theatre closing down permanently is a direct reflection of the leadership that should be ensuring that artists’ careers are prioritized, but does not.
Who will tell our stories when our theatre close down?
Where will we go to support the talent and excellence that theatre holds with the voices of actors, pens of playwrights, the sound and the light of the cast?
What will be done to save the rest of our theatre, to ensure that this does not happen again?
How did this happen?
During the hardships of the beginning of our lockdown period due to the pandemic, the Fugard tried its best to provide access to their stage. In June 2020, the Fugard launched an online theatre called The Fugard at Home where people could sit comfortably at home and take in the narrative in our plays. Additionally, the Fugard Theatre has 320 seats and by extending it to people sitting on their couches, they opened room for many more to be in their space. This means that more people were educated, felt, understood and most importantly found something beautiful in art. The pandemic did not stop the theatre from allowing important voices on stage to speak out. The pandemic did not stop the Fugard’s continuation of our arts and culture although the virtual theatre closed down soon after.
As it takes its final bow, let us applaud the theatre for its excellent work and thank it for what it did for our country as well as the stories it told.
We hope that the hands that it has returned to, the hands of its previous owner, the board of The District 6 Museum, will use it to continue to be an expression for the community.
Read the full statement of its closure here: https://www.thefugard.com.