PE Opera House stained glass window

The Port Elizabeth Opera House, now called the Nelson Mandela Bay Theatre Complex, was opened in December 1892 and is the oldest-running Victorian era opera house in Africa and the southern hemisphere. Significant upgrades and additions were done in 1926, 1934, 1985 and lately in 2016. As part of the latest revamp the framed mirror on the steps in the foyer were replaced with a stunning feature stained glass window by David Manning portraying the only three Africans on the continent…

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Theater icon street names

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality recently (yeh ok, some months ago already) renamed three of the streets around the PE Opera House to celebrate three of Port Elizabeth's theatre legends.  John Kani, Athol Fugard and Winston Ntshona are truly three world icons and worked together on Sizwe Banzi is Dead in 1972 and The Island in 1973. Ntshona and Kani went on to win Tony awards for best actor for both plays while the names of all three have become…

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Opera House contemplation

While on a tour of the Opera House a week or two (jeez, it could be three already) ago, I caught my friend - and fellow tourism peep - Seekoei taking in the view of the main auditorium from the stage while in deep contemplation.  Wonder if there was a bit of a "wouldn't it be great to be on stage in front of a packed house" moment going though his head. Probably not, but still made a great picture.

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The new Opera House stained glass feature

One of the new additions to the newly revamped Port Elizabeth Opera House is a stained glass window featuring the only three Africans on the continent to win the prestigious Tony Award – John Kani, Winston Ntshona and Athol Fugard.  And best of all, they're all from our city. Forty years ago, the trio were nominated for the best play Tony Award, for their co-written play The Island.  Kani and Ntshona both walked away with best actor awards for The Island and…

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Inside the Port Elizabeth Opera House

When last have you attended a performance at the Opera House?  Do you even know what it looks like in the main theatre?  I am ashamed to say that I haven't been there for many many years, but I got to see it while on a tour of the facility last week.  The curtain isn't the main stage curtain but the fire curtain, which they demonstrated to us.

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The new Opera House extension and renovations

Yesterday's post was a Then and Now post featuring the Port Elizabeth Opera House.  As the photo was taken from the street corner, the latest addition to the building wasn't really that visible so I decided to post a second photo.  The wine coloured section is is the part that was built on to the original building in 1985 and was part of the extensive renovations that took place over the last year and was painted this was as part…


Then and Now – The Port Elizabeth Opera House

The first meeting to discuss a new theatre for Port Elizabeth took place in 1890 after which a company was formed, shares sold and a site was agreed upon with the Town Council.  The building was designed by G.W. Smith and opened on 1 December 1892.  The first lessees of the building was B and F Wheeler who also presented the opening performance of JM Barrie's "Walker, London".  By 1916 the theatre was taken over by African Consolidated Theatres and…

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