The Arts is Alive at the George Arts Theatre!
A funny thing happened on the way to the Printers…
No, it’s not the name of a hit musical by Stephen Sondheim, but something that happened this month at the Theatre. We took out an ad in a local publication and their marketing department thought that the slogan for our theatre should be “Celebrate the Cultural Heritage of George”. Now, although it may seem catchy, it didn’t sit well with me. Firstly, the slogan was superimposed over an external pic of our lovely theatre which made the slogan seem “museumy” in nature and secondly, although we have a huge amount of Cultural heritage in George, our theatre is more than just a celebration of the town’s cultural heritage.
You may not know this, but our theatre is one of very few in South Africa which is owned by an Arts Society. An Arts Society which is run by members of the community who volunteer their time freely to keep this theatre alive. Other societies have to rent theatres and Town Halls to host their shows.
Our theatre attracts both local and international artists from time to time, Artists who love the ambience of our little theatre where EVERY seat in the house is a good one.
The George Society of Arts stages amateur shows every year which is the mainstay of its funding. These shows are staged with local directors, writers and actors who do this without any form of payment and for the love of The Arts. The people of George love seeing their local “celebrities” in the malls and around town and support our shows with gusto.
Our theatre is now in demand as a multi-purpose venue from Weddings to Business meetings. We host the annual Eisteddfod and dance shows by local dance teachers and our nursery schools love using the venue for their year-end prize giving.
The theatre is parent to one of the most successful Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWP) of its kind in the Western Cape. We have four interns currently learning about Theatre Craft and are growing in leaps and bounds.
We receive funding from the Department of Sports Art and Culture to encourage local Arts initiatives in schools in the area through an outreach programme. Our outreach programme is not limited to underprivileged schools, and we now have a movie day for pensioners. We offer special ticket pricing for our stage productions to schools to spark an interest in children in The Arts.
All of this is done with two full time staff members running the theatre on a day to day basis; they manage the interns and several volunteers who give of their time to assist in areas of need such as the wardrobe. We appreciate Heather and Jolien immensely and value all the time they put into making the theatre the vibrant place that it is.
When you look at what The George Arts Theatre is doing, there is no way that one can see the building at 125 York Street as a museum. With that in mind, the slogan on the publication has been change to “The Arts are Alive in George”. This slogan demonstrates to the community in George that this building is a place where all are welcome and where we come to be entertained and uplifted.
Please encourage your friends to become members of The George Society of Arts. Once they have done this, they will receive member’s only discounts both on ticket prices of our shows, but also for refreshments at the Backstage Lounge.
Wayne Strydom – Chairman GSA