Modelled on Prince Charles’ cinema in Clarence House, London, the Theatre ensures absolute viewing pleasure, whether for business or recreational purposes and provides: Full Satellite Bouquet; DVD player;Seating for 14 guests, auditorium style; Blue Ray and High Definition technology and THX Dolby Surround SoundDimensions: 8m x 5m
The Home of the Savoy Theatre and Conference Centre in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. A multi-function venue for hire with a fully operational stage for musical theatre, coffee lounge, full bar area and more, The New Online Forum for Theatre in P.E.
The PEMADS Little Theatre is housed in the Athenauem Complex, located on the corner of Castle Hill and Belmont Terrace, Central and was built in the 1850’s. The building is one of few examples of the classical style of architecture in the city and was declared a national monument in 1980. The PEMADS Little Theatre is home to the Port Elizabeth Music and Drama Society who occasionally stage small productions and modern musicals.
The colourful Little Theatre – including its very modern, pop art foyer – with its 250 multi-coloured seats (hence the nickname, ‘Smartie Theatre’) and unique raked stage is a vibrant, but intimate space for just about any theatre performance. It’s the gem of the building – and quickly becoming an icon for functional inner city revitalization.
The Little Theatre is one of the most sought after spaces for hire in the Athenæum – a stage for almost any conceivable creative industry pursuit: theatre productions, shows, live concerts, film screenings and now conferences, debates and book launches. This charming Little Theatre has been around since 1946 when PEMADS enlarged the Loubser Hall in the Athenæum.
The flamboyant foyer area also has two theatre stage areas and can be used for smaller more cosy functions of up to 100 people. The entire theatre complex is supported by a fully serviced bar.
The creative industries in Nelson Mandela Bay have a home in the renovated Athenæum building complex – upgraded specifically to nurture and transform arts, culture and heritage in the city. Located in the historic suburb of Central, Port Elizabeth, within walking distance of all major city wide transport routes, the building serves as a nexus for creative thinking and pursuits, linking various public art and creative industry sectors.
The Athenæum, a multipurpose creative space, has been restored to its former glory as part of the Mandela Bay Development Agency’s (MBDA) inner city precinct upgrade on behalf of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) with the financial support of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF).
The building is Nelson Mandela Bay’s renewed creative hub for showcasing Nelson Mandela Bay and the Eastern Cape’s art, culture, creativity and heritage offering. It offers a variety of spaces for performances, exhibitions, events, conferences, meetings, launches, shows, theatre and workshops, as well as studio and office space. The building has been guided by a collective association.
The vision for the Athenæum Council is to be a vibrant and progressive association of organisations that promotes, develops and nurtures heritage, culture and the arts for all the people of Nelson Mandela Bay.
The Athenæum Council pursues this vision by leveraging off partnerships with the MBDA, the Arts Journey, National Arts Festival, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, to position the Athenæum building complex as the hub of the creative industry – the effective home of the Nelson Mandela Bay ‘creative collective’.
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The company is registered as Port Elizabeth Opera House and trades as The Opera House. We claim “The” to denote reverence and the fact that this is THE Original Opera House in the Southern Hemisphere.
The institution was built in 1892 through efforts of the creative collective of the time and individuals who held the existence of an intimate space for theatrical space dear to life. The oldest theatre in the Southern Hemisphere and the only of its kind still operating in Africa. In 1986 The Opera House became part of CAPAB (Cape Performing Arts Board) together with Nico Malan Theatre and East London Guild Theatre. In 1996 the Arts, Culture and Heritage White Paper led to the dissolution of such institutions as CAPAB with the 1997 the Cultural Institutions Act permitting for the establishment of new companies. By Dr John Kani’s admission, the establishment of new companies ignored the realities that were to be faced by new ill capacitated provinces like the Eastern Cape. The PE Opera House was not declared as a performing arts cultural institution.
This was a grave mistake on the part of policy advisors to the national Department of Arts and Culture, short of calling it a deliberate act of sabotaging history. The Eastern Cape has had a long history of struggle against apartheid, protracted battles for land through Frontier Wars, maiden colonial encounters in Southern Africa, first railway station, first newspaper, first university that has produced throngs of leaders across Africa, first bank in South Africa, maiden religious conflicts, lengthy workers struggle that fed liberation machinery. Who was to tell these stories? Was someone cautious enough to block this? The denial of the Eastern Cape a declared performing arts institution was and is still a treason against history of human kind.
This institution is now registered as Section 21 / Non Profit Company dependent on constant fundraising with limited income streams to ensure self-sustainability in a desired manner.
Mounting support for appropriate resources for The Opera House and the successful implementation and impact of its programmes shall bear plausible Value for Money for both the cultural industry and the granting agent.
As the Port Elizabeth Opera House we see ourselves : (championing) Coherent development and growth of performing arts excellence.
Our mission as a performing arts institution is :
- Responsible and accountable institutional management;
- Partnering with local, provincial, national and international individuals and institutions;
- Stimulating creation of decent jobs for the performing arts sector;
- Producing qualitative artistic works;
- Holistic nurturing of talent for excellence.