- The founder and benefactor, Eric Abraham, does not envisage the theatre opening in 2020
- The news comes after The Fugard opened its archive to allow patrons to stream productions from home
- As a result of their doors being closed for the better part of the year, the majority of their staff have had to be retrenched, leaving only a small care-taking team on their payroll.
Eric Abraham, founder and benefactor of The Fugard Theatre & Bioscope earlier today announced that both entities will remain closed until they are confident that staff, performers and audiences will not be at risk. “We do not envisage this to be until some point late next year (2021) at the earliest,” said Abraham.
This news comes after The Fugard launched its digital platform, The Fugard At Home on June 1. The platform offered patrons access to the theatre’s archive, allowing them to stream recorded titles such as The Road to Mecca, "Master Harold"...and the Boys, Emily Child free of charge. These services have also been discontinued.
The Fugard Theatre is based in District Six, Cape Town and seats 320 patrons. When it opened its doors in 2010, the not-for-profit theatre was named in honour of Athol Fugard, a veteran South African theatre practitioner who is celebrated for his contributions to theatre and film.
"If we’re building a theatre in the middle of Cape Town, the country cannot be on the edge of imploding. Whatever else the theatre is, it’s a place for intellectual pursuits. I’m convinced we’re on the right track," theatre director Mark Dornford-May told the Mail & Guardian at the theatre’s opening in 2010.
As a result of their doors being closed for the better part of the year, the majority of their staff have had to be retrenched, leaving only a small care-taking team on their payroll. The care-taking team will ensure that The Fugard is well maintained and ready for a time when it is both safe and financially feasible for them to open their doors again.
To close his statement Abraham says he would like to thank the staff, performers and patrons for their efforts in making The Fugard one of Africa’s leading theatres over the last decades.