A topic after my own heart!…Unfortunately we still have anxious “developers” who get hives when they see prime property like that got to “waste”! I would imagine that they think it’s a waste because we don’t put these centers to as much use as we should.
I visited Market Theater in Johannesburg South Africa (and met the late iconic George Menoe long after he had relocated back home from his home in Kenya!) and was so taken aback at the hive of activity that was this theater district! There were plays going on, rehearsals for next shows in other places, artists and patrons seated in various places including pavement / roadside pubs and eateries just debating / chatting about what they had just participated in or watched. It is also a star watchers spot where people go to mingle with their stage stars etc. There are also kiosks selling merchandise related to theater that I am sure serve as a side income generation for the theater…not just a bar and fish restaurant!
I ventured into the foyers of the theaters and saw plays advertised for as far ahead as 6…7…8 months. The box offices were busy selling tickets for the many, many functions booked to happen here. It is a center to which people gravitate all the time and not just during the one play that is showing as it is usually our case! The decor, ambiance and the history of theater depicted via murals on the walls was breathtaking!
Indeed, the Director and ministry officials should draw a plan with a caveat that puts all cultural centers and theaters around the country permanently out of the reach of cultural Philistines who never tire and seem to be born in every generation.Then it is also time to put in place people who can get stuff happening here all the time. By people who can…I am talking about ones with actual experience in running such cultural outfits and know how to put together programs that attract people and funding to keep the places going. The centers should be made visitor friendly and stop being hangouts for aspiring celebs and tailgaters!
And it does not have to be a play all the time but rather even workshops to encourage the development of the arts in every field.
Written in response to a story and headline by Kimani Wa Wanjiru @ http://kimaniwawanjiru.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/sports-culture-and-arts-secretary-and-nairobi-governor-save-the-kccknt-from-being-auctioned/
©njeriOsaak is a trained journalist, a Public Relations professional and a College Speech Communication teacher, currently based in the United States.