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Student Blog: Farewell Fugard

My heart has a hole that will never be filled.

Student Blog: Farewell Fugard

After years of entertainment, one of South Africa's most beloved theatres has closed its doors, for good.

The Fugard Theatre was home and producer of endless amounts of internationally acclaimed musicals while being the creator and host to some of the most incredible plays. Thanks to the Fugard Theatre, South Africa was blessed with musicals such as Funny Girl, Kinky Boots and West Side Story.

The Fugard has a special place in my heart. Not only did The Fugard produce some of my favourite productions, like West Side Story and Shakespeare in Love, The Fugard opened their workspace up to me for my job shadowing task. I learnt so much about working behind the scenes and I thought I knew so much already.

Student Blog: Farewell Fugard
Fugard's Kinky Boots with Emile Doubell.

I got to see all the new equipment that is getting used by everyone around the world. I had the privilege to observe the tech weekend and final dress rehearsal of Shakespeare in Love and I would never trade that experience for anything. I may have just watched and never did anything but being able to just observe professionals do their thing was honestly a highlight in my theatre nerd 'career'.

The Fugard produced West Side Story back in 2018 and I was in awe!

The production, the acting, the choreography, the singing!

Student Blog: Farewell Fugard
Fugard's 2nd Production of
Shakespeare in Love with Armand Aucamp

I was fortunate enough to meet some of the incredible talents from that show including South African favourites, Stephen Jubber, Micheal Fullard and Logan Timbre. I had the honour of meeting the replacement of South African icon, Jonthan Roxmouth. Roxmouth was replaced in the 2018 production by American actor of stage, Kevin Hack.

Kevin is not a star of Broadway, yet but when his moment arrives everyone will understand what I mean when I say, I wept. The pipes on this man are angelic. I have never heard anyone sing Maria as emotional and eloquently as Kevin Hack did. So, watch out Broadway because Kevin Hack is on his way. Also, sweetest man ever, he helped me with my one project for school, anyways.

Student Blog: Farewell Fugard
Fugard's West Side Story with Kevin Hack

The Fugard produces a lot of South African productions in addition to the internationally acclaimed productions.

One of the greatest plays that I have ever seen was called Kunene and the King, starring the legends that are John Kani and Antony Sher. That play was emotional, comedic, and real. It was so beautiful.

Another great production, one of my first productions I watched at The Fugard. King Kong.

This incredible musical that tells the story of a 50s heavyweight boxing champion, Ezekiel Dlamini. Emotional and a vibe. I remember watching that production. It was honestly the most fun I had ever had in a theatre for the longest time.

Student Blog: Farewell Fugard
Fugard's West Side Story with Stephen Jubber.

The Fugard created a family atmosphere and everyone who worked there was genuinely so kind and welcoming. Although the ushers keeping eyes out for phones were terrifying, one knows the main issue with the distracting phone light. So, we can empathise.

It is so unreal that The Fugard's doors are going to be closed forever. I have always seen The Fugard as the heart of South African theatre so to think that it will no longer be operating breaks my heart.

To think that all of the incredible staff at The Fugard, no longer can return to the place they once called home. Just this Christmas there was a special filmed in the theatre. I think because of the special and the continuous success of The Fugard and their productions, this closure came as a huge shockwave.

But unfortunately, The Fugard has been claimed as another casualty of COVID. This loss has impacted our theatre community immensely but now we can only look back on all the fond memories we have shared in that beautiful and historic building. The spirit lives on through the continuing art development within South Africa and maybe one day, The Fugard will find its feet once again and be ushered back in to a new era of theatre.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Caiti Ho