Welcome facelift for Guild

After years of public appeal and fundraising campaigns, the Guild Theatre in East London is at last getting its much-needed facelift, and just in time for the new year too.

BRIGHTER PROSPECTS: Zane Flanagan, front, and Andre Donaldson of East London’s Guild Theatre show off the new LED stage lights bought with funds given by the National Lotteries this year Picture: ALAN EASON

After receiving generous funding of R4.5-million from the National Lotteries Commission earlier this year, East London’s biggest playhouse has already begun revamping its equipment and facilities, with bigger plans still in the pipeline.

Speaking to the Daily Dispatch, theatre manager Zane Flanagan thanked the National Commission and said East Londoners would experience drastic improvements in areas such as lighting and air-conditioning.

“We are truly grateful for this grant. This money has enabled us to plan and implement our long-awaited project of revamping the theatre.”

Flanagan said so far the theatre had purchased new stage curtains, installed modern LED lighting, upgraded the sound system, and the air-conditioning units in the theatre foyer, changing rooms and offices.

“We’re in the process of spending all the money on renovations, but what we’ve done so far is already so vital for the functioning of the theatre.

“Changes such as an upgrade to more technologically efficient lighting, and air-cons, may seem small but when the theatre is a full-house, with big casts and an even bigger audience, it becomes humid and uncomfortable.

“With the advanced lights, the power consumption is far less, aiding in the need to become a greener environment.”

He said the upgrades would keep the theatre, which has been around since 1962, on par with the best in the country.

“We want our theatre to be counted in the top theatres around the country, and this requires us to keep up with trends.”

Flanagan said renovation plans for the new year included fencing around the theatre, more sound equipment, and a generator, which he said would help during load-shedding.

“The show must always go on,” he said. “These upgrades are wonderful for the people of East London and beyond. We’re the only major theatre here, so we need to keep it going.”

He said he hoped the theatre would continue attracting funding for more renovations and upgrades to take place, such as new seating and carpeting, and perhaps even the extension of the theatre. — nonsindisoq@dispatch.co.za

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