Artscape, the management company of the Artscape Theatre Centre, today unveiled a R1.5 billion plan to transform the 41-year-old complex into an iconic cultural precinct. Dubbed Artscape Live Vision 20!20, the strategy comprises the development of 17,000sqm of vacant land to create one of the largest precincts in Africa dedicated to the performing arts.
“Compared to many famous arts districts and complexes, the Artscape is beset by problems that mark it as a child of both Apartheid spatial planning and of the global planning delusions of its time. It is hardly a venue ‘for the people’ in that only rather highbrow arts are really supported, and it is far from any existing entertainment or nightlife districts or residential neighbourhoods.” *
According to Artscape Chairman, Prof. Somadoda Fikeni, the required funding and approvals from local, provincial and national authorities were still needed to implement the project. However, already R180 million is being invested to reconfigure the Opera House auditorium with more seating, improving patron facilities and services, the addition of three floors to house rehearsal rooms and offices as well as the refurbishment of the old dressing rooms.
New renders indicate an expansive timber roof covering most of the forecourt space, currently a barren, wind-swept and unfriendly zone, which will in future act as a dramatic welcome area and outdoor performance space. The Arts Academy located towards the Foreshore Freeways, opens up onto Founders Garden, with initial site plans suggesting new apartment and a hotel adjacent to the Freeways. The new Concert Hall is expected to occupy the vacant land adjacent to the MyCiTi bus station, and will incorporate a flexible design to accommodate a variety of performing arts.
The future expansion plans include:
- An Arts Academy for about 300 students
- A world class Concert Hall
- Drama teaching studio
- Rigging studio for the Zip Zap circus school
- 4 double height seminar rooms (doubling up as rehearsal rooms)
- 3 dedicated dance rehearsal spaces
The Artscape complex forms a critical component of an “L-shaped” regeneration projects located between the CTICC and its expansion, the new Christiaan Barnaard Memorial Hospital, Founders Gardens, and the Civic Centre hub of the MyCiTi bus system. The aim is for the multi-cultural precinct to “link Cape Town’s business, political, artistic, media and conferencing communities into one major social hub”.
* According to a recent article: Artscape and the future