A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

festivals
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

SPIER FESTIVAL (article first published : 2000-11-18)

This year's Spier Summer Festival in the Cape begins in December and continues through to March, 2001. As part of a R600,000 plan to upgrade the theatre, the entire amphitheatre stage - 45 tons of wooden floor, steel struts and curved roof - was raised 500mm in a unique seven and a half hour operation never before been attempted in South African theatre.

The whole process was achieved by means of 12 jacks strategically placed in the orchestra pit – much along the same principle as jacking up a wheel to remove a punctured tyre. In certain areas where the steel frames were underground, these were excavated to release them so that the whole massive structure could rise simultaneously in 20mm leaps.

Historically the theatre had no orchestra pit but about two and a half years, excavations were undertaken beneath the stage to create one.

"The stage was low which makes for intimacy - those sitting in the front row are almost on the same level as the players at the front of the stage,” adds Tom Darlington, Spier's architect,. “We felt that if it were possible to raise the stage half a metre we would not interfere with this intimacy but it would make a big difference to the musicians in the pit as well as allow the audience to see the conductor and the orchestra. "

Future improvements to the theatre included increasing the depth of the stage and the height between the stage platform and the superstructure to give more flight space. This would also make it possible for an interchange of productions with theatres overseas.. Also to be improved is the lighting control system and the theatre acoustics as well as the building of two new exits to speed up the exit and entrance of the audience during intervals.

The alterations to the stage have been made as part of a major development plan for the Spier Arts Trust. The plan includes building a studio theatre and rehearsal rooms to enable productions to be put together in-house and the creation of a Spier Festival orchestra. Auditions are currently being held for this body (see Music).

More details on the Spier Festival from Mark Dornford-May or John Davids on (021) 881-3190 or fax: (021) 881-3198.




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart