In its heyday, the SA State Theatre was the go-to venue for classical ballet, opera and dramas. While it faced massive decline in the 2000s, it has since reinvented itself to become the home of Afro-centric theatre in Pretoria. Producing award-winning musicals reflecting the everyday stories of the people, the SA State Theatre holds a special place in the hearts of many theatre lovers.
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the SA State Theatre (like performing arts venues across the globe) has faced many obstacles. Without revenue from ticket sales, they have been unable to support the artists and craftspeople that have worked tirelessly to ready their productions for the stage. In a bid to assist these artists, and bring you world-class entertainment at home, the State Theatre has turned to digital streaming solutions. Again, like theatres around the world, this step into the virtual world is both necessary and intimidating. It presents a massive shift in the way we consume, critique and enjoy our art, as well as how artists present their work to us.
SA State Theatre Artist Director, Aubrey Sekhabi explained, "Since 2014, we have been experimenting with bringing theatre online and on television. This led to my presentation at the African Union in Addis Ababa, where I intended to invite artists in the continent to be part of this initiative. With the lockdown, we are presented with an opportunity to experiment on this format. We are ready to launch, whilst providing relief for our artists to earn income. We also intend to solidify the online platform as an alternative or secondary platform for our artistic offering."
Since Sunday, 24 May 2020, the SAST Online Theatre has been up and running via the theatre’s YouTube channel. Their second online season opens on Monday, 15 June 2020 with new content posted daily for your at-home enjoyment.
The SA State Theatre online presented their first virtual season from 24 May 2020 - 13 June 2020. Now, in honour of Youth Month, the theatre will debut a brand-new season, filled with a variety of world-class content for you to enjoy at home. Here's a sneak peek at what's on offer:
The Fall is one of the most vital pieces of workshop theatre to emerge in recent years. The production took South African audiences by storm when it debuted at the State Theatre. This stellar showcase sheds light on the experiences of seven UCT students who were part of the 2015 and 2016 #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall movements. It explores a multitude of student voices, offering perspectives from all walks of life. This is a definite must-watch.
Dates: The show debuts at 10:00 on 16 June 2020 and will be available online until 30 June 2020.
Freedom tells the story of Phindile (Zimkitha Kumbaca), a Tshwane University of Technology student and leader of the Fees Must Fall movement. With the odds stacked against her, Phindile must fight against all forms of injustice to win her freedom and the freedom of the students who fall under her leadership. But her life takes a sharp turn after the student protest at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Freedom is another shining example of the world-class youth theatre produced by the SA State Theatre and is the perfect entertainment to commemorate Youth Month at home.
Dates: The show debuts at 15:00 on 16 June 2020 and will be available online until 05 July 2020.
This is something a little different - a virtual art exhibition presented by Elpee Nkanyuza, honouring his journey as a self-taught artist. Artdiction explores the artist's transition from pencil to paint, rural boy to city dweller and his addiction to creating messages through his art.
Dates: The exhibition opens online at 18:00 on 15 June 2020 and will be available until 28 June 2020.
Poetry and music is the stuff that souls are made of. Help your soul grow this Youth Month by joining the SA State Theatre Online for this extraordinary spoken word performance. Supported by a live band, the poet's voice soars to share his life-time experiences. The production is described as an emotional journey of awareness, so prepare to get in touch with your inner self.
Dates: The show debuts at 18:00 on 16 June 2020 and will be available online until 05 July 2020.