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LIFELINE FOR CATALINA THEATRE! (article first published : 2008-05-3; last edited : [an error occurred while processing this directive])

At the eleventh hour – literally as the contents of the Catalina Theatre were being packed away in boxes – Rainbow Chicken has agreed to resolve the financial predicament and to make the appropriate payments to landlord Ithala to keep the theatre open.

The 166-seater Catalina Theatre in Wilson’s Wharf faced closure at the end of this month.

Catalina Theatre boss Themi Venturas is “overwhelmed, delighted and thrilled” at the generosity of Miles Dally and Rainbow Chicken who have thrown a life-line to the beleaguered theatre to keep the doors open.

Rainbow Chicken has graciously agreed to make good on the theatre’s outstanding arrears rental, and are committed to resolve the theatre’s financial predicament by underwriting its monthly expenditure until such time as it becomes financially viable and sustainable.

What is particularly valuable is their offer to assist with creating an appropriate tailor-made financial model for the theatre which will ensure its long-term liquidity. Rainbow Chicken will work closely with the TheatreBIZ board to put appropriate business structures and systems in place to ensure a way forward for private / public partnerships.

“It would be a tragedy for The Catalina to close,” says Rainbow Chicken’s Miles Dally. “We are happy to assist and are committed to ensuring that they remain open. We are comfortable that the matter will be resolved with all the parties concerned.”

Rainbow Chicken’s pledge in the short term is to keep the Catalina’s doors open, but in the long term it is to develop a meaningful relationship with the theatre-makers working at both the Catalina and Kwasuka Theatres to ensure that the important work that they do can continue into the future.

Dally strongly supports the role the arts community plays in nation-building and creating a cohesive society in which we can all share our past histories and future aspirations. He urges fellow corporates to join him in supporting the arts and getting involved in keeping theatre structures and projects alive into the future.

Ethekwini Municipality’s Department of International and Governance Relations has also risen to the occasion by pledging funds to TheatreBIZ to stage events at the Catalina and Kwasuka theatres which supports local theatre practitioners. “This is in keeping with the municipality’s plan 6 of the IDP that encourages economic opportunities through arts, culture and heritage,” says Eric Apelgren, head of International and Governance Relations.

Themi Venturas is reassured that his vision for the Catalina and Kwasuka of staging quality work that speaks to a new South Africa and which focuses, in particular, on providing a platform for youth work and theatre initiatives from marginalised communities is shared by Rainbow Chicken.

TheatreBIZ commits itself to continue to look for strategic partnerships and business relationships to cement the sustainability of the venues into the future.

TheatreBIZ Board, headed by master storyteller Gcina Mhlope, wants to thank the media for their support in creating awareness around the plight of the theatre and wants to thank members of the theatre community, press, patrons, politicians and colleagues for their overwhelming support, empathy and encouragement during this difficult process.

…. And of course, an overwhelming standing ovation and round of applause to Rainbow Chicken!




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