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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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…

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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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Then and Now – The Athenaeum building

The Port Elizabeth Athenaeum Society of Port Elizabeth was founded in 1856 to promote the interests of science and literature among the members and general public.  In 1859 land was granted for the erection of the Town Hall and it stated that the building had to provide space for a library and athenaem as well.  In 1887 the athenaeum was dissolved and the Council took over it's assets, which included a museum, which was housed in the Town HallIn 1894…

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Open air theatre

St Georges Park has a stunning outdoor theatre venue called Mannville which (used to) host the annual Port Elizabeth Shakespearean Festival.  Unfortunately due to people who feel that they are entitled to other folks' property and those who purposefully go out and damage what is not theirs, the festival has been moved to indoor theatres the last two years.  The theatre was established in 1972 by Bruce and Helen Mann and if only these bad elements can be kept out of the park,…

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Rainbow seats

The upgrade of the Athenaeum Building in Central by the Mandela Bay Development Agency has just about been completed with the revamp of the old Little Theatre.  I got to get a peek inside the Little Theatre the other day and have to say that it looks very good right from the foyer right through to the theatre itself.  The one thing that really stands out is the theatre's seating, now covered in bright colours.

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Athenaeum

The Athenaeum in Port Elizabeth was founded in the 1850′s to promote cultural activities but sadly died out in the 1880′s.  In 1893 the Young Men’s Institute, the School of Art, the Naturalists’ Society and the Camera Club came together and re-assert the right of the Athenaeum to occupy a part of the City Hall.  The then Town Council offered to bear most of the cost to erect the present building which was opened in 1896.  In the early years of the 1900′s it…

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