Cate Theatre - Port Elizabeth

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Cate Theatre is the name of the College for Advanced Technical Education's 654-seater auditorium which is situated on their Summerstrand campus in Port Elizabeth.

Founding and early history

The theatre was opened on September 11, 1974, with the staging of Ruth and Augustus Goetz's drama, The Heiress. The drama is about an unattractive spinster who turns the tables on a money-hungry suitor and was directed by Dorothy Sutherland. The presentation of The Heiress was by Cate's hockey club as a fundraiser. Dorothy Sutherland was asked by the club to direct the play, which she did and invited the Port Elizabeth Shakespearean Festival to assist.

The theatre was equipped at a cost of R320 000.

The inaugural use of the auditorium was for a seminar of the Master Builders’ Association under the aegis of the college.

Aims and function

Current status

The college and campus of the College for Advanced Technical Education, (later the PE Technikon) were incorporated with the University of Port Elizabeth (UPE) and the Port Elizabeth campus of Vista University (Vista PE) on January 1, 2005, and renamed Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. On July 20, 2017, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University was officially renamed and is now known as Nelson Mandela University. The College for Advanced Technical Education campus is now referred to as the NMU North Campus.

Impact on SA theatre, film, media and/or performance


Eastern Province Herald newspaper clipping: "Attractive Cate theatre gears for first play," R R W Nixon, August 27, 1974.

Evening Post newspaper clipping August 27, 1974.

Original Theatre programme of The Heiress, 1974.

Go to the ESAT Bibliography

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