Soweto gets its own professional theatre

Monday, February 9, 2009

Johannesburg - Residents in Soweto, Johannesburg will soon be able to enjoy professional local and international drama productions right on their doorstep as construction on Soweto's first fully fledges theatre begins on Tuesday.

The theatre will be located in Jabulani, the traditional heartland of Soweto, situated on the vacant site between the Jabulani Mall and the Jabulani Amphitheatre. It will comprise of three performing venues, seating 420, 180 and 90 people respectively.

The design of the theatre references various international theatres, including the Northern Stage in Newcastle and Young Vic Theatre in the United Kingdom.

One of the key design elements was flexibility so that a wide variety of artistic product could be accommodated at the venue.

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Dr Pallo Jordan and Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Amos Masondo will officially turn the soil at a ceremony in Jabulani, Soweto, to mark the commencement of construction of the theatre.

According to the Department of Art and Culture the theatre will provide equitable access to arts and culture facilities for the residents of Soweto and surrounding areas, to ensure access to arts and culture services to the citizens of Johannesburg.

The theatre will also be fully accessible for people with disabilities. The three stages will be wheelchair accessible from the foyer and there will be a number of wheelchair spaces in the auditorium.

According to the City of Johannesburg, Soweto has long been in need of a theatre and the Jabulani theatre is expected to encourage more cultural opportunities for the community.

"Besides providing various job opportunities and an arena for talented individuals to showcase their talent, the theatre will also attract patrons from the greater Johannesburg area, as Soweto is fast on its way to becoming a sought after local and tourist destination," said the city.