The Covid-19 axe continues to fall on businesses in the arts and culture industry, with the Fugard Theatre its latest victim.
On Tuesday, the theatre’s founder and benefactor Eric Abraham announced the permanent closure of the popular playhouse “with immediate effect”.
This comes a year after the theatre was forced to suspend productions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
SAD NEWS 😥👇
"16th March 2021
Dear Friends of The Fugard Theatre,
After a year of Covid closure it is with great regret and sadness that I have to confirm that The Fugard Theatre will close permanently with immediate effect…"
— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) March 16, 2021
“We are not persuaded it will be Covid-19 safe or financially viable to reopen as a theatre in the foreseeable future.
“The theatre will be handed back to the owner of the freehold of the building – the board of the District 6 Museum – as a working theatre and we hope they will be able to use it for the benefit of the museum and the District 6 community,” Abraham said in a statement on the theatre’s website.
Abraham ended the statement by thanking the theatre’s “extraordinary staff for all their hard work and you, our patrons, for your support over the last 10 years”.
The Fugard Theatre opened its doors in 2010 and was named after celebrated playwright Athol Fugard.
The 320-seater located in Cape Town’s District Six area has hosted iconic plays, including West Side Story, Cabaret, Shakespeare In Love and Kunene and the King.
Many fans of the theatre have taken to social media to express their shock and sadness about the closure of the theatre, including celebrated musician Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, actress Masasa Mbangeni and radio personality Eusebius McKaiser.