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

ARTSCAPE RE-OPENS (article first published : 2004-09-8)

The Artscape Theatre in Cape Town is scheduled to reopen at the end of September after an overheated stage lamp caused a fire on the Theatre stage on July 26. According to the official fire report, which has just been released, the radiated heat from the light caused the stage velvet curtain to catch fire. The fire was contained to the stage area by the immediate closure of the iron "fire curtain" which separates and seals the stage from the auditorium.

"It is clear from these reports that it was an unforeseen accident. Fortunately nobody was injured and the fire was rapidly extinguished," says Michael Maas, CEO of Artscape.

The damage report covers all the areas affected by the fire. These include the basements and adjoining areas which were flooded during the extinguishing of the fire. Work to replace the 70 fire protection sprinkler heads on the stage has started. Repairs to the stage include the checking and testing of all electrical cabling and motors, special inspections of all steel hoisting cables as well as examination of the hoist bars and machinery.

Since the fire incident, all shows in the Theatre have either been relocated to alternative venues, rescheduled for new dates or in some cases, cancelled. All scheduled performances in the Opera House, Arena and On the Side are unaffected by the temporary closure of the theatre and will continue as usual.

"My team and I want to thank everybody for the fantastic support Artscape has received over the past two weeks," Maas said. For more information contact Artscape on 021 410 9921.




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