Prince Albert’s iconic Art Deco-inspired theatre – The Showroom – has officially reopened.
Gifted via an anonymous donor, with the generous help of the Maluti/Groenvlei Trust, to the Prince Albert Community Trust (PACT), The Showroom, is set for an energetic comeback that will establish the historic Western Cape town as a cultural destination.
Over the last decade, PACT has been at the forefront of addressing youth skills training and unemployment in Prince Albert and its neighbouring communities. The organisation continually runs multiple projects aimed at equipping young people with valuable skills. In 2023, PACT introduced the ‘Journey to Jazz’ (J2J) programme, which represents the practical application of the various skill development initiatives.
J2J made its debut in 2023, with an A-List artist programme, and earning accolades as a "charming" festival and one to watch; 86 talented youth from Prince Albert, Leeuw Gamka, and nearby towns, received extensive training over the course of ten months, enabling them to effectively manage and deliver the event.
The 2024 Journey to Jazz festival, scheduled for May 1-5, will now also include performances at The Showroom. The acoustics the theatre delivers is ideal for several of the planned musical experiences expected to entertain festivalgoers next year.
The Showroom also staged a special screening of the 2023 Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for the Best Production winner, Like & Times of Michael K, based on JM Coetzee’s novel of the same name. Adapted for stage by Lara Foot, in collaboration with Handspring Puppet Company, the screen version is scheduled, like its internationally acclaimed theatre counterpart, to tour the world.
Commenting on the donation and the impact this venue will have on PACT and the town, Ingrid Wolfaard, Founder of the Prince Albert Community Trust, said, "The reopening of The Showroom is not just a cultural renaissance for Prince Albert, but a significant step towards extending the skills our youth have acquired into real income opportunities. Through this expansion, we aim to further enrich the lives of the local community while contributing to the broader economic growth of the town. This is a social enterprise initiative of PACT creating a pipeline of opportunity for local youth.”
Expanding PACT’s community engagement, The Showroom Theatre will also become the epicentre for professional performances encompassing all performing arts, showcasing art films and documentaries, and hosting informative talks, designed to attract locals but also to specifically attract visitors to the town. Ticket sales will be conducted through The Showroom’s own new e-commerce website, that will also have a variety of merchandise on offer.
Additionally, PACT's coffee bar situated at PACT’s community centre in Noord Einde, Prince Albert, will be extended to The Showroom. This expansion will provide a welcoming space for both locals and travellers to drop in and enjoy refreshments, including freshly baked treats crafted by local artisans.