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

UPDATE ON SNEDDON FIRE (article first published : 2002-08-8)

Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre manager Jackie Cunniffe gives an update on yesterday’s fire at the popular venue on the University of Natal Durban campus:

“Luckily the fire at the Sneddon was not as bad as it seemed – largely due to the quick-thinking and brave actions of Julian August and Sue Roberts. They were both on stage at the time that the curtains caught on fire (not the main tabs - the prompt side legs and some of the pros arch border).

“Julian and Sue immediately tackled the fire with extinguishers and hoses - Julian from the catwalk and Sue from the stage floor, and they also had the presence of mind to rip the curtains at certain points to prevent the fire from the spreading. By the time the fire department arrived, they had managed to put it out.

“The only major damage was to the legs/borders which will now be replaced with fire-proofed material, and parts of the stage floor were damaged.

“The smoke has cleared, the auditorium walls and seats have been thoroughly cleaned, and we are on track for Defending the Fireman, sorry, Caveman tonight...!”

Congratulations to Julian and Sue for their quick-thinking actions – had they not been there and acted so efficiently, the story could have had a very unhappy ending.

There have been hordes of workers over the past 24 hours washing down the walls as well as vacuum cleaning the seating and the carpets.

Tim Plewman's show went up tonight as scheduled. Apart from the musty smell, the loss of two "legs" (the black curtains that hide the wings) and a slight dent in a small section of the stage floor, it's business as usual.

Tim Plewman's Defending the Caveman is indestructible. As is the Sneddon, hopefully!




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