Catalina Theatre rescued from closure

2008-05-01 00:00

At the eleventh hour — as the contents of the Catalina Theatre were being packed away in boxes — Rainbow Chicken has agreed to give the venue a financial lifeline and pay the rent arrears to landlord Ithala Bank. The 166-seater theatre in Durban’s Wilson’s Wharf faced closure at the end of the month.

Theatre boss Themi Venturas is “overwhelmed, delighted and thrilled” at the generosity of Miles Dally and Rainbow Chicken who have not only paid off the arrears, but will now underwrite the monthly expenditure until the Catalina becomes financially viable.

They have also offered to help set up an appropriate, tailor-made, financial model for the theatre, working with the TheatreBIZ board to put business structures and systems in place. “It would be a tragedy for The Catalina to close,” says Rainbow’s Miles Dally.

“We are happy to assist and are committed to ensuring that they remain open.” he added.

Rainbow Chicken’s short term pledge is to keep the Catalina’s doors open, but in the long term it is to develop a meaningful relationship with the theatre-makers at both the Catalina and Kwasuka theatres to ensure that their work can continue.

Dally is urging other companies to join him in supporting the arts and getting involved in keeping theatre structures and projects alive.

eThekwini Municipality’s department of International and Governance Relations has also pledged funds to TheatreBIZ to stage events at the Catalina and Kwasuka theatres — which both support local theatre practitioners.

And so, a venue which has played a vital role in developing KZN’s theatre scene for several years, looks set to continue offering quality entertainment to the public whilst also serving as an important platform for theatre-makers.

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