The South African State Theatre has issued a statement that it will close its doors, effective immediately, until further notice.
The statement reads: "As a state institution, we have to heed the call that was made on Sunday, 15th March 2020 by the President of the Republic, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa.
"Following on the WHO (World Health Organization) declaration of COVID 19 as a global pandemic, the President of the Republic, in his address to the nation, declared the Covid-19 a national disaster and has put forward measures to deal with this pandemic.
"Among other measures, the president prohibited:
- Gatherings of more than 100 people
- Large scale celebrations of national days
- Limit contact groups of Excessive physical contact
- Practice social distancing by maintaining at least 1-meter distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
"Our theatres’ capacity is between 120 – 1 300, which doesn’t adhere to the instructions prescribed by the President. As a result, we have decided to postpone Songs & Rhythms that was scheduled to take place in the first quarter of 2020/2021.
"While the prohibition refers to 100 people, we are still concerned about gatherings of any size because it does not necessarily take 100 people for the virus to spread.
"A gathering of any number still poses a serious health risk. Furthermore, it does not make business and artistic sense to continue operating a massive theatre infrastructure, which is designed to accommodate 2700 people, while restricting the number of patrons to a number below 100.
"The theatre will be re-engineering its artistic programme to ensure that projects are re-scheduled in the 2020/2021 financial year.
The productions that are immediately cancelled are:
- Lekgoba (04-22 March 2020)
- The Boy (11-29 March 2020)
The productions that are suspended and will be rescheduled are:
- Nguvu yaMbengu-Entabelanga (14 April-03 May 2020)
- Kucheza Afrika Festival (02-12 April 2020)
- Love Language-Mashata Comedy (27 March 2020)
- My Children My Africa (14-30 April 2020)
- Kgosi Sekhukhune The Musical (30-31 March 2020)
- Shaka Zulu (24 May-07 June 2020)
- Koekeloer (14 April-03 May 2020)
- Rebecca Malope The Musical (28 March 2020)
- Encore Homecoming (03 April 2020)
- Ubhuku Lwamanqe (11-16 May 2020)
- Denver College (20 March 2020)
- NEHAWU (17 March 2020)
- Bitcoin (11 April 2020)
- Mmino wa Ma Sione (02 May 2020)
- Absolute Dance (04-09 May 2020)
- Tshwane Heat Comedy (02 May 2020)
- Puo Media (09 May 2020)
- Nkosi Khona (7-8 May 2020)
- The O Experience (09 May 2020)
"We advise patrons that have already purchased tickets to contact Webtickets for refund arrangements.
"The management and staff of the SAST would like to thank you in advance for your understanding during this difficult period as we all endeavor to do our best within our areas of operation to be cautious and compassionate in our fight against this pandemic.
"We are fully cognisant of the sad but unavoidable reality that some of the cancellations and suspensions will most probably deal a catastrophic blow to some of the entities and practitioners in the arts, culture and heritage sector."