City of Cape Town invests in Artscape

CEO of Artscape Theatre, Marlene le Roux, and Mayco member JP Smith with some of the staff and interns at the Artscape Theatre last week.

The R2 million grant-in-aid funding investment into the Artscape Theatre will benefit the arts community in Cape Town and help build social cohesion.

This was the key message at the announcement of a partnership between the City of Cape Town and the Artscape Theatre.

The City’s Mayco member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith, said the arts was an important part of building social cohesion in the city. The funding will be used to support specific programmes which focus on the youth, gender, vulnerable groups, heritage and culture, and the resource centre. The City is supporting projects that seek to bring access to the arts to audiences who would not otherwise have the opportunity.

On Tuesday November 7, a signing ceremony took place as well as a walk through of the theatre.

Mr Smith said: “There is no doubt that the arts strengthen the economy and spark creativity and innovation.

“The arts also have a social impact, exposing communities to a variety of genres and skills. This helps to preserve our culture and heritage and is an investment that the City of Cape Town is honoured to make.”

Mr Smith also said institutions like the Artscape brought people from across the city together.

“David Rubenstein said that the world is a complicated place and that there is a lot of division between people, but the performing arts tend to unify people in a way that nothing else can. The investments made by the City’s social services directorate helps to remind us that we all have a common interest and love for our city.

“Whether it is developing social and soft skills of young people through awareness plays at schools, sport and recreation programmes in communities to develop social cohesion, workshops at libraries, sponsoring street art, or the minstrel street parade and other events, the City hopes to create unity and enable progress,” said Mr Smith.

He added that if the City’s investment helped expose a few more people to the theatre as well as arts then the investment would be worthwhile.

Also at the announcement and signing ceremony last week was Artscape CEO, Marlene le Roux.

“I think it is social cohesion in action. It is about bringing our communities together and also to identify where there is a need. It is about young people that we would like to look at. We that can make a difference, should make a meaningful difference. That is what this partnership is about.”

She thanked the City of Cape Town for the partnership and promised to work together. Part of the important work that the Artscape Theatre does, she says, is give training to young people.

She added that it was important for them to work together with the City as well as with provincial government. “It must be a space where the gogo of Gugulethu, the gogo of Constantia and the gogo of Manenberg all feel this is the space where they can breathe. The space where they can just be whoever they want to be and meet someone else there. We are not taking this lightly, we are extremely humble.”

Two of the students already benefiting from the Artscape Theatre’s technical training programme were Marie Roux and Kim Keating, both from Brackenfell.

Ms Keating said she found out about it online. She said that working with sound was her passion.

Ms Roux added: “We are learning about every aspect of sound, lighting and wardrobe. We are learning everything about the theatre and that way you find out where you want to go and specialise.” They both said it was good to be involved in the many aspects of theatre.