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ETC helps Cape Town theater invest in the future

Fugard Theatre lighting staff

Following their recent appointment as a reseller by local ETC distributor Prosound, Electrosonic SA has negotiated the sale of ETC Eos Ti® and Gio® control desks to Cape Town's Fugard Theatre. Technical Manager Benjamin Du Plessis took delivery of the consoles for the opening of the second season of David Kramer's new musical Orpheus in Africa in August.

Robbi Nassi, Electrosonic's technical sales and support manager, explains: "Regional Manager for Southern Africa Jeremy Roberts, visited and demonstrated the consoles' outstanding new color-mixing system. This proved to be enough for them to decide on an Eos Ti for their Main Theatre, and a Gio for their Studio Theatre, which is currently being used as a backup console for Orpheus on an ETC network. DMX Gateways and all the necessary channel assignments were purchased as part of a complete package."

After the theater took delivery of the desks in August 2015, Prosound's Jannie de Jager gave comprehensive training to Benjamin. "Jannie's extensive knowledge on the Eos family was well received by Ben, with the desk quickly programmed and running the show," says Robbi.

Opened in 2010, the Fugard Theatre is located within the historic Sacks Futeran building in Cape Town's District Six, with the renovated Congregational Church Hall in Caledon Street as its entrance. Construction of the Fugard Theatre was underwritten by its founding producer Eric Abraham, who continues to underwrite the operational costs.

ETC Gio Color Picker

For over 50 years, Athol Fugard - South Africa's most significant and internationally acclaimed playwright - has written soul-searing plays with roles for South Africans across the racial spectrum, moving audiences to laughter and tears as they reflected the racism, barbarity and inhumanity of apartheid. Working with John Kani, the late Zakes Moke, and others, he created iconic black characters whose narratives profoundly changed the way millions of people viewed apartheid. 

The theater's executive director, Daniel Galloway, who joined just after it opened, is hugely passionate about producing quality shows, not only for Cape Town, but also for the country.

"It's always exciting for us to present musical theater," says Daniel. "But to be able to nurture and produce a new South African work is the most rewarding challenge of all. Unlike other shows that have been tried and tested on stages overseas, an original work like Orpheus in Africa had no predictable outcome. So we were especially thrilled at the overwhelming critical and box office response to its first 'tryout, work-in-progress' season in February."

Orpheus in Africa  is based on the little known story of Orpheus McAdoo and the Virginia Jubilee Singers' tour of Queen Victoria's colonies in the last decade of the 19th Century. Orpheus McAdoo was a freeborn son of a slave and a graduate from The Hampton Institute in Virginia. He was the first African American impresario to perform in the British colony of South Africa where he and his group achieved unprecedented success. At the same time, the musical charts the evolution of African American music from spirituals (Jubilee songs) to jazz and includes several original songs by David Kramer.

Electrosonic SA thanks The Fugard for their continued support and they, says Robbi, "are privileged to be a part of their growing success."