Opera house reopens later this year

2015-07-01 06:05
Some of the cast members of Inde Le Ndlela are Nicky-Ann Raypen, Junior Ferreira, Bongani Tulwana (Musical director), Aarti Narotam and Xabiso Zweni (Director).
Werner Hills

Some of the cast members of Inde Le Ndlela are Nicky-Ann Raypen, Junior Ferreira, Bongani Tulwana (Musical director), Aarti Narotam and Xabiso Zweni (Director). Photo: Werner Hills

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PORT ELIZABETH’s historic Opera House will reopen its doors later this year as part of the Mandela Bay Theatre complex.

The complex, which includes the Barn Theatre and the art school in the St Mary’s Church Hall, has been undergoing renovations since 2012.

The Monde Ngonyama, head of the Opera House, oldest theatre of its kind in Africa, announced last week that it will take pride of place at the reopening on November 20.

While excited at the prospect of an arts precinct in the city centre, Ngonyama was disappointed with Executive Mayor Danny Jordaan’s budget for the Metro’s new financial year which started today (July 1). According to Ngonyama no provision was made for the Opera House or its artists.

“The Metro Municipality simply has to invest in the arts. There is no excuse. Art, culture and heritage are central to people’s values and development,” he said.

To achieve the Opera House’s goal of elevating its surrounding area to an Arts Mecca, Ngonyama said street names around the area will be renamed after artists.

So far Chapel Street, White Street and Belmont Terrace have been identified for renaming. It’s been suggested that these three streets be renamed for the Tony Award winning actors, John Kani and Winston Ntshona and playwright Athol Fugard.

The Opera House production and cast of Inde Le Ndlela, which will be staged at this year’s National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, were also introduced. Inde Le Ndlela means This Road Is Long. An aging woman is at long last receiving an RDP House from the municipality. The municipality has taken a decision that the handing over of the keys to the elderly lady should be a glitzy media affair. Until the day of the official handover things seem okay. But on the day of the function the elderly woman, who lives in a shack, refuses to accept the RDP House. It becomes a tussle between the old lady and the City Mayor, the former standing firm on principles of freedom and the latter yearning for political mileage.

Inde Le Ndlela comprises a cast of 23 actors, dancers and musicians

The play was written by Monde Ngonyama and directed by Xabiso Zweni. The music is directed by Bongani Tulwana and the choreography was done by Makhosi Dingiswayo and Nicki-Anne Raypen.

Inde Le Ndlela can be seen in the Grahamstown City Hall on July 7 at 10:00, July 8 at 14:00 and 20:30 and on July 9 at 16:30

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