Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Fugard Theatre Cape Town RSA

Thursday 5th April 2012,
While in Cape Town I made an appointment to see The Fugard Theatre on Caledon Street (corner of Buitenkant)  District 6, Cape Town. 
The Fugard Theatre http://thefugard.com/ is entered through an old renovated and converted church on Caledon street in District 6, Capetown, RSA. http://www.districtsix.co.za/
The cluster also accommodates the Fugard (Sigrid Rausing) Studio which is for smaller performances, experimental and developmental work. The theatre cluster also has two rehearsal spaces in a top floor annex and ground floor annex.
I came across the Fugard on my way to visit the District 6 Museum and could not resist going in to see what was going on. It was during the Cape Town Jazz Festival and the venue was running a series of workshops for musicians, performers, etc. I sat in on a presentation by Graham Gilfillian on performing artist’s protecting their creative rights. http://www.capetownjazzfest.com/WorkshopDetail.aspx?ID=93
He was critical of Music Schools that offer courses with no modules on how musicians/artists can protect their creative rights. He also expressed the view that artists should think through, why do they need a Manager? They should manage themselves but what they do need is an “Operator” a person who knows how the system works and how to protect the artist from signing away their creative rights.
It raises for discussion the question; do Scenographers (Set Designers) protect their creative rights? If they do, how do they do so? 
Mr Gilfillian made an interesting observation on creativity in the music business as seen by Europe, the USA and the Rest of the World. In Europe, creativity is at the centre of the music business followed by business and money. In the USA, money is at the centre followed by business and creativity. In the rest of the world it is equally divided between, business/money and creativity. The workshop was sponsored by the Western Cape Government, Dept of Cultural Affairs & Sport. http://www.westerncape.gov.za/your_gov/74834

I phoned Ms Ronel Botha, Events Assistant and followed up with an email outlining my background and interest in seeing the theatre and having a technical tour of the stage and theatre. This was arranged, and on arrival at the box office/reception I was met by Ms Ingrid Stemmert who called Mr Benjamine Du Plessis the Technical Stage Manager who showed me around. Benjamine (Ben) is a graduate of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University http://www.maties.com/under-graduate-prospectus/arts-and-social-sciences/specialised-programmes/b-of-drama-and-theatre-studies-bdram.html

When not presenting a production of its own, the Fugard theatre is a facilitated venue for hire.

There is a grid to hang scenic elements from but no facility for flying scenery, wing space is also restricted, as is the size of the scene dock door. Access from the loading area is through the stage left off-stage wing space where a domestic sized door ope has been extended in height to facilitate the bringing of scenic pieces to the stage.  
There are ample black drapes, masking wing legs and borders. I need to check if there is a good cyclorama cloth. The theatre is well provide with lamps most of which appear to be Power Cans, T Spots and but I could be corrected on this!
An interesting and useful feature of the stage is the option of putting the main acting area of it at a rake of three optional levels of pitch. Not only that but the raked stage is in three sections, each one hinged at the front, up-stage of the stage apron and can be raised independently of each other. The three options on the angle of the rake are governed by hanging brackets at the back of the stage where the back end height of the rake can be fixed. At the very back of the stage there is a fixed two tier choir/chorus platform traversing the width of the stage. The upper height of the rake can be fixed to the lower of the two tiers

The stage also accommodates two trap doors, one as a storage hatch to under stage storage and the other as a scenic or performance attribute.

During my visit the crew were setting the stage and lamps for their next production Kat the King a Musical about a former resident of District 6.
Directed by David Kramer, Design by Graham? Lighting by Daniel Galloway (General Manager).
Thanks to Ben for his time and knowledge in showing me the facilities at this interesting theatre venue and to the Fugard for facilitating my visit and the photos I took to add to the www.stagebrace.com web site.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Theatre on the Bay, Cape Town, RSA


Wednesday 4th April 2012
On a recent visit to Cape Town, RSA, I paid a visit to The Theatre on the Bay, 1a Link Street, Camps Bay, Cape Town and saw a Pieter Toerien presentation of “Quartet” a touring London production written by Sir Ronald Harwood, Directed by Richard Digby Day
Cast; Gary Raymond, Delena Kidd, John Fraser and Wanda Ventham
Design by?

Lighting by?
The Theatre on the Bay at Camps Bay, Cape Town http://www.theatreonthebay.co.za/  
Said to be Cape Town’s most beautiful theatre located at the fashionable Camps Bay on the Atlantic seaboard. The exterior of the refurbished old derelict Alvin Cinema has a distinctive theatrical fa├žade, the foyer is spacious with box office to the right and a stylish stairway access the balcony and to the “Sidedish Restaurant” to the left.
We had arrived early to avail of a combination ticket which allows one to dine at the restaurant before seeing the show and for me to avail of a previously arranged technical stage tour.


The restaurant and its environs have their theatrical ambiance enhanced with theatrical memorabilia including interesting retrospective posters on the wall of the corridor leading to the balcony. Set and Lighting designers credited on the old posters include Andrew Botha,
http://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/events/event/335 and Rex Garner.

 I met with Mr Progress Mphande Technical Stage Manager who was generous of his time and knowledge in showing me on stage, back stage and the auditorium of this neat cosy theatre.

There is a grid to hang scenic elements from but no facility for flying scenery, wing space is also restricted, as is the storage of scenery in the wings and off stage. There are ample black drapes, wings, legs and borders there is also a good cyclorama cloth. The theatre is well provide with lamps most of which appear to be Power Cans, T Spots but I could be corrected on this!