Art – Fans shy away

2010-07-09 10:51

The final whistle blows today – and what a month it’s been. But has

there been as much cultural ­exchange as we would have liked, given the number

of ­soccer-inspired arts events that have been on offer?

As theatres and galleries held football up as their muse, our

­artistic community hoped visitors would be as interested in taking away some of

our heritage as they were in taking home the World Cup trophy.

It seems,

however, that football fans are not the ­culture vultures we hoped for.

Illa Thompson from the ­Performing Arts Network of South ­Africa in

KwaZulu-Natal said: “The World Cup was seriously bad for most of the arts

community in Durban.

There was very little work available for any of us.

To make

matters worse, there was no usual domestic July season to speak of, which is

usually an important ­period for us to work and earn money.”

However, Durban’s art and heritage buses, which transport people to

various heritage sites and art galleries bucked this trend.

Thompson said: “The buses are full until the end of the season with

virtually 100 names on the waiting list.

The arts/heritage bus is one of the

city’s most astonishing success stories.”

Mark Sage from Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre said: “On

nights when South Africa played, we had a drop in attendance but mostly it has

been business as usual and it is mainly the locals who are coming out to watch

shows.”

Pamela Fogerty from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Museum in Port

Elizabeth said they benefited from being near the entrance to the city’s

fanpark: “We have ­definitely had an influx of visitors representing all the

World Cup countries who have loved the ­exhibitions.

So far, visitor numbers

have almost doubled from the same period last year.”

However, Daphne Kuhn of the Old Mutual Theatre on the Square in

Sandton, where Drumstruck has been showing, said that ­unfortunately the show

hadn’t done as well as usual.

Everard Read Gallery’s Niki Kritzinger said: “It’s actually been

pretty ­quiet. We have had some foreigners visit, but not necessarily fans.

However, we think there will be more now that the end is here.”

As for the big musical, The Boys in the Photograph, co-producer

Claire Pacariz said: “We’ve been happy with the results on the whole but

ecstatic about bookings since the middle of last week.

We like to think that’s

because ­word-of-mouth was great.”

This year’s National Arts Festival in Grahamstown reflected the

­lacklustre response to our wonderful cultural life. There was an increase in

attendance of 8.47%.

Considering how many more ­people were in South Africa for this

year’s World Cup – and in the Eastern Cape for the four matches in Port

Elizabeth over the festival period – it’s hardly a figure to sing and dance

about.



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