Performing and Creative Arts

Little TheatreRefurbishment of the Little Theatre

Located in central Cape Town on the University of Cape Town’s Hiddingh Campus, the Little Theatre is an interdisciplinary unit run in association with UCT’s Drama Department.

In addition to providing theatre spaces and facilities for theatre research for departments within UCT, the Little Theatre also provides production opportunities for theatre, film and television companies and community groups. As a production house, the Little Theatre co-ordinates a dynamic programme of classical, contemporary and experimental student productions throughout the academic year.

At times the Little Theatre has also worked in partnership with the SA Museum, the SA National Gallery and many of the professional theatres and clubs in the city. Aside from the student works staged there, the theatre is hired out to professional companies and amateur dramatic societies. International theatre companies are also invited to perform on the campus.

Little Theatre facilities include a scenery workshop, a costume wardrobe, and furniture and properties stores. In addition to staging productions, the Little Theatre serves as an informal resource for past students and members of the public needing theatre information.

To ensure its sustainability, the Little Theatre project needs to raise up to R6 million for refurbishments of the space. There may be recognition of donors in the foyer of the theatre.

UCT Opera School is one of the most dynamic centers of training for young operatic performers in the world today. Its  most recent graduates have gone on to sing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Bayrischer Staatsoper in Munich, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London, the Zurich Opera House, the Salzburg Festspiele… Many of them are currently or pursuing degrees or have recently graduated from institutions such as the Juilliard School, the RAM and Royal Northern Academy as well as the Guildhall School in the UK, and as the prestigious Opera School at the Techniska Hogskolan in Stockholm, Sweden, with whom we are currently involved in a multi year exchange through a Linnaeus -Palme Grant. Another partner is the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. At these schools we have regular exchanges of faculty and residences- Director Kamal Khan will be doing his second of the 2011-2012 season in Michigan next month- and the Opera School is working towards student exchanges varying in length from three months to a year.

Major funding needs are served by a generous and deeply appreciated grant from the Mellon Foundation, and this funding is divided in three ways- scholarships (8 post-graduate and 4 undergraduate students are fully subsidized), staffing (our principal coach and other musical preparation needs related specifically to operas are not paid for by the university), and production (two full productions with orchestra, each repeated 5-6 times, with fully professional sets and costumes from Cape Town Opera as part of the Opera School’s ongoing collaboration with South Africa’s only full-time professional opera company).

Since Driector Kamal Khan’s arrival in 2009, the Opera School has presented the first performances in Africa of IL VIAGGIO A REIMS(Rossini),THE RAKE’S PROGRESS (Stravinsky), THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN (Janacek) and the world premiere of OPERAS 5:20 MADE IN AFRICA- five 20 minute operas written by South Africa’s leading composers on national subjects. The standard repertoire has been seen to with productions of L’ELISIR D’AMORE and DIE ENTFUHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL, with piano accompanied performances of LA BOHEME and LE NOZZE DI FIGARO offered as well. The production of FIGARO, directed by Professor Emeritus Angelo Gobbato, met with such success that we were invited to bring it to Rhode Island’s Brown University where the Opera School played to two wildly enthusiastic houses- UCT Opera
School’s first international engagement since the 1950′s. All of these productions are presented in the original language with multiple casts.

This coming season six UCT Opera School students have been invited to sing with the prestigious Glimmerglass Opera in the USA for their entire three month season, and we are producing LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN and COSI FAN TUTTE as our large-scale works. In addition scenes programs concentrating on the undergraduates will be presented, one of which will be prepared by our visiting faculty from Sweden, while Director Kamal Khan is in Sweden doing the same with their students.

A full scholarship can cost up to $13,000 for a year depending on the course of study in which the student is enrolled (academic fees can range from $3000-$5000, and housing costs approximately $5000 per student, then food, books and transportation must all be added in), and production and staffing costs rise every year as well. Just keeping the currently funded projects going costs about $280,000 per year, and all the international partners (Michigan, Sweden, Glimmerglass) are thus far shouldering almost all the burden of transportation and accomodation that create the possibilities of cross cultural enrichment which are central to our ever-expanding presence on the international opera scene. Please join us in making the dreams of our spectacularly gifted young people come true, while enriching the lives of their hearers both at home and abroad.




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