State Theatre 'to make money'
Pretoria - A commercially geared entertainment company, Maestro Entertainment
Holdings, has signed a contract with the Department of Arts, Culture,
Science and Technology (DACST), to lease the opera and drama theatres at
the State Theatre.
Executive chairman, Chris Lodewyk, said that only commercially viable
productions will be staged at the theatres.
Lodewyk, who hails from the Western Cape, has been involved in commercial
theatre for about 15 years.
He said that he is a "born and bred" theatre person, but has studied the
sound business principals of commercial theatre in London and on Broadway.
Back home, he established Maestro Entertainment Holdings, but said it took
him two years to convince the business sector that there was money to be made
from the arts, and that they should invest in the company.
With investments secured, Maestro plans to get listed on the JSE by June
The main shareholder and executive director in Maestro is Cape Town
businessman, Raziek Rajah.
Saths Cooper, psychologist and former Black Consciousness strategist and
head of Azapo, is non-executive director. He also serves on the Board of
Directors of the Soweto String Quartet and Soweto Dance Company.
Lodewyk said that the agreement was signed on condition that Maestro will
not be prescribed to as to what kind of shows they'll put on. The objective
is to make money, and if that means putting on a ballet, it will be a
Asked about the lack of transformation having been one of DACST objections
against the previous board, Lodewyk said that audiences may well expect to
see proven financially successful "ethnic" theatre, like Ipi Tombi, "but no
Shows planned for this year are the popular comedy, Defending the Caveman
with Tim Plewman and directed by Rex Garner, and Afrikaans musical, Antjie
Somers, and a ballet, possibly The Nutcracker, for which former members of
the State Theatre Ballet Company have already been offered a three month
contract. - DigiNews