The Artscape Theatre Centre, which belongs to the provincial administration, was opened on 19 May 1971 as the Nico Malan Theatre Centre. In line with the new South African political dispensation and the concurrent changes the complex was renamed to Artscape in March 2001.
Historically the Cape Performing Arts Board (CAPAB) was instituted in the early sixties of the twentieth century. The aim was to promote the performing arts. The arts councils received sufficient government subsidies to fund various art forms as well as the operational requirements of the theatre facilities.
CAPAB programmed and managed the Nico Malan Theatre Centre as a production house with four arts companies – orchestra, opera, ballet and drama. These companies had full-time artistes, technical and administrative staff.
Since 1994 government policy changed dramatically. All performing arts boards were transformed to playhouses and the various arts companies had to become independent. Artscape was launched on 27 March 1999 to replace CAPAB. Today it manages the theatre venues and provides essential technical and specialised services on a semi-commercial basis. The emphasis is on sustainable theatre practice, education and development.
One-Stop-Shop of Creative Excellence
BETWEEN Table Mountain and Table Bay, the City of Cape Town boasts a cosmopolitan mix of historic and modern landmarks. One of these is the Artscape Theatre Centre on the Foreshore, home to the Artscape performing arts company.
Originally established 40 years ago as the official performing arts council for the Western Cape, Artscape has today developed into a vibrant, multi-functional creative arts centre, offering exceptional venue facilities and specialist theatrical services.
With its close proximity to Cape Town's central business district, the new International Convention Centre and the V & A Waterfront, Artscape is ideally situated to serve the Cape's performing arts, film, tourism, entertainment, conference and exhibition industries.
Covering an area of some 14 000 square meters, the Artscape complex consists of a fully equipped Opera House, seating 1 487, a theatre seating 540, a smaller theatre seating 140, a piazza, gardens, rehearsal rooms and ample parking.
The Centre offers a full range of technical services, including a vast array of lighting and sound equipment and operators, stage and production managers to ensure a seamless support service to users of the venues.
Through the years, Artscape has developed a top notch team of wardrobe experts consisting of designers, seamstresses, milliner, wig maker and costume artist. Its costume hiring department is the best in South Africa, with a choice of no less than 30 000 items of period and contemporary garments on offer.
Artscape also has a décor studio located at a separate warehousing facility of some 12 000 square meters. The manufacturing services team consists of highly experienced set and scenic designers, carpenters, welders, painters and prop makers.