Bailout keeps Opera House open

A bailout of R6.8-million from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is the only reason the doors of the Port Elizabeth Opera House are still open.

The money will sustain the facility for three years, starting from July last year.

The metro intervened last year to help the Opera House as it was on the verge of closing its doors.

Yesterday, theatre manager Monde Ngonyama presented a turnaround plan to the sports, recreation, arts and culture committee which, he said,would position the city as a production city.

It plans to develop arts appreciation, produce local stars to export to other countries as ambassadors and employ local artists.

Ngonyama said annual programmes in theatre, which include dramas, jazz-afro Sundays, festivals, poetry and performing arts Fridays, were part of the plans.

Ngonyama told councillors that while the Opera House had hosted successful events, it was not making money.

He said the bailout from the city would keep it afloat in the coming years. “We have staff and other operational issues.

“We had to come up with a turnaround plan, otherwise we would have to close it down if we operate on a R2-million [budget] a year.

“Independent producers will not come in numbers because it’s too expensive. It is only through them that we would be able to make money as this city.

“We have just seen the Russian ballet. People were willing to pay R300 to see the show.

“We have to think of those kinds of productions if we want to attract people who are able to pay for such events,” he said.

Ngonyama also said there was a need to develop local producers in order to have the Bay’s own events.

“When we want entertainment, we go to the Cape Town Jazz Festival or to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. We must ask ourselves are we a city capable of having our own?” Ngonyama said.

Councillors noted Ngonyama’s presentation and there was no discussion around it.

One thought on “Bailout keeps Opera House open

  • March 20, 2017 at 11:07 am
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    When we wanted to rent out the opera house for a function last year, we were told they are too busy with the Arts Festival. Why do the Arts and Culture department not sort this mess out? Poor service, no wonder!

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