Founded in 200*? by Dorothy-Ann Gould, who is also the Artistic Director. It aims at honing the skills of both professional and new young actors and initiating theatre outreach programmes.
The Actors Centre (also spelled Actors' Centre at times) has filled a vital and unique role in the acting world for seven years but is sadly taking its final curtain call.
The Centre has been funded mainly through donations and sponsorships from various arts bodies and corporates but now the finances are so low that it is no longer possible to offer the services and the vision it set out with.
Founded by acclaimed director and actress Dorothy Ann Gould in 2001, and under her guidance as Artistic Director, the Centre has created bridges between developing artists and professionals; what is meant to be learned and applying that learning in the market place. The Centre created a platform for new and developing work, a place where writers, directors, actors and other arts practioners could experiment in a safe environment, showcasing their work for audiences and gaining feedback, all geared towards education and an enhancing of skills.
The work done at the Actors Centre and its rewards, benefits and importance for the industry is difficult to articulate. Some of the professionals who have graced our stage over the years are: Dale Cutts, Sylvaine Strike, Clare Stopford, Graham Hopkins, Sandra Prinsloo, Tobie Cronje, Lindelani Buthelezi, Bill Flynn, James Ngcobo, Mark Graham, Megan Willson, Jennifer Steyn, David Dennis and rising star Omphile Molusi to mention but a few. Some of the productions and staged reading highlights (again, to mention but a few) were A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Macbeth, Waiting for Godot, Hello and Goodbye and Romeo and Juliet.
Steven Feinstein, who took over as Artistic Director in March 2007, said earlier this week ”We have worked hard maintaining the standard of classes that were historically on offer (at affordable rates), kept the platform for new work open to those wanting a stage to experiment their works upon, staged readings, worked with community theatre groups and met the needs of individuals searching for a creative home that they could call their own and feel informed by, as well as offering and coordinating special projects in order to reach an ever growing and important number of artists (not to mention their audiences).
“We have witnessed and played a hand in immeasurable success stories and it is with a very heavy heart that we are forced to close. The battle to gain funding is constant, relentless and unforgiving and has been an area of primary concern since the Actors Centre first opened its doors. It seems to me that it would be an injustice to simply categorise this as ‘the end of an era’. The industry has lost a limb, a limb that was so much more than a school or training organisation.”
Bernard Jay, CEO of the Civic Theatre, said this week: “It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to the Actors Centre. Actors are the very soul of any theatre building and the existence of The Actors Centre located off our foyer has provided a constant source of joy and gratification over the years. We have admired the concept, the progress, the passion and the success of the Centre in so many ways and there is no doubt in my mind that our theatre has benefited strongly from it.”
Free classes in August will be taught to the members to offer a sense of closure.
The Actors Centre will close its doors at the end of August after a final run of its last production Doctor Faustus directed by Steven Feinstein with Nick Boraine in the title role, showcasing the talent of many of the members who have belonged to the Centre. The run will take place from the 1st to the 13th of September and all bookings will be through Computicket.
Article based on an "obituary" in LitNet called "The Actors Centre takes a bow" (2008-08-08). Found at http://www.litnet.co.za/cgi-bin/giga.cgi?cmd=cause_dir_news_item&cause_id=1270&news_id=50372&cat_id=244
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