BWW Interview: Q&A with Lamees Albertus of The Fugard Theatre
One month into her role as General Manager and Producer of The Fugard Theatre, Lamees Albertus has had to navigate her way around running a theatre under lockdown. Albertus does a quick Q&A with BroadwayWorld South Africa about lockdown and the arts, and how you can get your Fugard fix.
Q: What has been the impact of the lockdown and cancellation of shows at The Fugard Theatre?
A: We anticipated the lockdown and restrictions about a week prior to the President's announcement. This luckily allowed us a bit more time to plan. We made the call to suspend 3 productions and all our cinema screenings, which will see us to the end of May 2020. The lockdown and uncertainty with the virus and state of the nation, has left The Fugard in a vulnerable financial position.
While we are planning to reschedule these productions for later in the year, I feel for the performers, production staff, temp staff who are simply without work or salaries over this period of uncertainty. The hardest part is not knowing how long this will last.
Q: Do you anticipate you will be able to reschedule all of the cancelled shows?
A: We are hoping to reschedule the shows later this year, but it will be subject to the availability of performers and creatives, and also subject to when we are able to open our doors again.
Q: Some theatres internationally have been streaming their productions online - would this be an option here especially is lockdown is extended?
A: We were lucky to have filmed 'MASTER HAROLD'...AND THE BOYS in its final week before we needed to close the production. The team has been working remotely to get this ready as soon as possible. Today (Monday 6 April) we release this to the public at no charge. An exclusive free stream, for two weeks.
Q: Following this experience of lockdown, do you think people will appreciate the live theatre and performance experience more than ever?
A: I like to think so. I have been aware of the theatre competing with Netflix, cinema and streaming. It had become harder to get people out of their homes and to live theatre. A part of me is concerned that the easy access to streamed shows and non-stop television will encourage a culture of being entertained in the comfort of your home, which is not good for the theatre. At the same time however, people are already tired of being stuck at home, which will hopefully have them appreciate live theatre as an experience or outing once this is over. We don't know how we will come out of this, but we can only hope that it will be stronger than before.
Photo credit: Supplied
'MASTER HAROLD'... AND THE BOYS will be streamed for 14 days from Monday 6 April 2020. Please note: This production carries an age restriction of PG for language and prejudice and the recording contains a racial slur. The Fugard Theatre does not condone the use of the slur in any way.
View the stream here: https://thefugard.com/master-harold-stream/