Abraham clarifies the Fugard Theatre situation

The Isango Portobello company ended its run of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists at The Fugard Theatre in Cape Town last Saturday night.

Barring four members the entire cast were under contract until November 21st and all have been paid up to this date. As with the company’s previous production, Aesop’s Fables, the box office receipts for this show was approximately 20%. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists cost upwards of R600 000 to stage and secured an income of R143 000. No other productions featuring the company are scheduled to take place.

The action I took in securing The Fugard today was regrettable and a last resort following protracted and unsuccessful negotiations over many months with the director and head of the acting company Mr Mark Dornford-May. It was taken following the discovery of certain financial irregularities that have taken place and which are currently being investigated. Throughout this period I have paid all costs in respect of the company and the theatre.

To date I have been the sole under-writer of the Isango Portobello acting company over the last four years at a cost of more than R30m from my own personal resources. Furthermore I underwrote the building of The Fugard Theatre at a cost of approximately R20m. In addition I and my staff in London have over these years invested a considerable amount of time in producing and supporting the group.

I have never anticipated nor received a commercial return from the Isango Portobello company. It has been an act of cultural philanthropy in which I have sought to affirm and empower a group of black artists. The only return I sought was self-reliance and sustainability.

It is inaccurate and defamatory to assert that I have benefited in any way commercially from the activities of the Isango Portobello company. Our lawyers are examining certain statements that have been made to this effect and the unauthorised use of The Fugard database by certain employees.

The theatre remains open for future productions and is, as was always intended, for all.

Issued by Eric Abraham, London, 22 November.

Artslink.co.za Account:
Gilly Hemphill
The Famous Idea Trading Co.
021 886 4900
082 820 8584
Eric Abraham / The Fugard Theatre


Comments on: "Abraham clarifies the Fugard Theatre situation – 11/2010 – Artslink.co.za News" (2)

  1. Itala Vivan said:

    I am a university professor from Milano, Italy and a specialist in South African studies. I have seen Athol Fugard’s play The TRain Driver at the Hampstead Theatre in London and I found it extraordinarily powerful. I proposed it for the next season at the Piccolo Teatro in Milano — but it seems the organization finds it difficult to get in touch with the production. Could you please help me by putting me in touch with Eric Abraham? Tha nks
    Itala Vivan

    • About The Train Driver
      Dear Itala
      Please let me know if you find them with the info below. If not I will find out for you. Kind regards Laurika Steenkamp Cool Classic Kidz laurika@musicatwork.co.za

      Creative Team:
      Author and Director Athol Fugard
      Co-Director Ross Devenish
      Designer Saul Radomsky
      Lighting Designer Mannie Manim

      Roelf (Rudolf) Visagie Sean Taylor
      Simon (Andile) Hanabe Owen Sejake

      About the Fugard Theatre

      The Fugard Theatre opened on 12 February 2010 with a gala performance of Isango Portobello’s The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo. The Fugard provides a permanent home to the South African company Isango Portobello, formed and led by producer Eric Abraham, director Mark Dornford-May and co-music director and performer Pauline Malefane. The opening season of the Fugard sees Isango Portobello’s productions of The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo and The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso play in repertoire followed by the world première of Athol Fugard’s The Train Driver, directed by Fugard.

      Founding Producer Eric Abraham
      Artistic Director Mark Dornford-May
      Executive Director Mannie Manim
      General Manager Georgina Rae

      For more information visit http://www.thefugard.com or phone 021 461 4554.

      Artslink.co.za Account:
      Gilly Hemphill
      The Famous Idea Trading Co
      021 886 4900
      082 820 8584

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