ENTERTAINMENT

Apartheid Era Theatre Is Getting R15 Million Transformation Into A Community Centre

It's hoped it will encourage children into more creative careers.

31/08/2017 15:08 SAST | Updated 10/10/2017 13:00 SAST
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The famous Alhambra apartheid-era theatre in the heart of Johannesburg's inner city is getting a R15 million renovation after 20 years of abandonment, transforming it into a community and arts-training centre for the surrounding neighbourhood.

The iconic building, which was designed by Samuel Victor Mann (who also designed the similarly iconic Poswohl Synagogue in Mooi Street), was previously saved from being demolished by theatre entrepreneur Pieter Toerien. Toerien, HuffPost SA has discovered, will also be releasing a new book about the Alhambra in the coming weeks.

The 1920's Alhambra Theatre, located in Doornfontein, is now owned by property developer Affordable Housing Company (AFHCO) -- who are also refurbishing the Jeppe Street Post Office, also an important Johannesburg monument.

The group says that the reason behind the costly redevelopment of the building, which features three theatres and an office block, is to encourage children to pursue more creative careers.

"We intend engaging with high-school students, as well as teachers, to develop and experience the art, and to take the experience and lessons learnt to the educational fields," Afhco chief operating officer Renney Plit said.

The new Alhambra Theatre will, according to AFHCO: develop facilitators to work in the hubs and communities; expose pupils who are bussed in to take part in art and multicultural subjects, provide creativity and innovation workshops for high-school teachers; develop certification programmes for teachers wanting to teach art subjects; provide performance spaces; give support to community art centres; become a showcase for natural talent for opinion leaders, and be a showcase for the importance of cultural subjects in creating "whole-brain thinkers".

No date has been revealed for the launch of the new space, but construction is underway.