Perception---you have that power.

There is purpose in design. There is information in a setting. There is truth in your environment. Fake or real, it's there.

All images are copyrighted by Heidi Hoffer unless otherwise indicated. Your courtesy in using my photographs must include crediting me as the photographer. You must tell me when and where you've used them and send the link to me showing your use of them.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Construction Site - Jabulani Performing Arts Complex in Soweto

Construction Zone:  Jabulani – Soweto’s New Theatre Complex
These aluminum studs are cut-offs from the construction of walls within the theatre complex. The complex is due to open soon.
Since these images are of the theatre venues, offices and shops still under construction, it makes sense to apply a little imagination to see the full impact of the spaces. The photos were taken with only existing light,and  are somewhat artistic in and of themselves.

Here’s a link to the website where you can see the artist’s original image of what the complex will look like. The order of the colours has changed, but the cubic collection is prominent and exciting to see on the landscape.

Looking from the West at the side of the Theatre. You can see each theatre space seems to have its own cube.
     Theatre consultant Denis Hutchinson invited me to take a look at the new theatre being constructed in the Jabulani area of Soweto, Johannesburg. As Theatre Consultant, he worked with the architects to get the most valuable theatre environment for the community, audience, actor and technicians. The new theatre has three performing arts venues seating 420, 180 and 90 people respectively.
     The theatre is a forward-looking reaction to the 2010 Soccer World Cup, promoting a lasting legacy for South Africans. One goal is to evolve Soweto from a bedroom community into a normalized city on its own merits. Executive Mayor, Amos Masondo said that the theatre would not just provide jobs during the construction phase but also provide on-going employment for cast and crew members such as actors, musicians, dancers, directors and singers. It is designated as a World Class Theatre Venue.
The Jabulani Theatre under construction in July, 2010. This is a view looking nearly East. This side is going to have the large words “Jabulani Theatre” on it.

This view from the audience seating level on the main floor is an interesting composition of curved and diagonal lines. You can see the proscenium arch walkway above on the right.

The complex features a 420-seater main proscenium venue fully fitted with wings, orchestra pit, fly tower and buttress.
The proscenium opening shows the curved pit fitted in steel, and the scaffolding in place to work the rigging points for the fly system.

This tall view of the proscenium theatre from the backstage door looking stage right shows the temporary plywood surface covering the steel girders in place for the soon - to - arrive stage floor.

What is really interesting is the view from the very top of the proscenium arch. This is going to be a hallway. This view of the consultant discussing the location of the ceiling is from on top of the proscenium arch looking toward the audience seating.

This view of the proscenium venue is from the back of the balcony. Soon there will be carpeting, seats, and aisle lights.

This view from the audience seating level on the main floor is an interesting composition of curved and diagonal lines. You can see the proscenium arch walkway above on the right.

The complex also includes two smaller "black box" venues of 180 and 90 seats, respectively.

This is what the black box looked like a few days ago. Work lights and ceiling are in. Image is supplied by Denis Hutchinson, the Theatre Consultant.

This is the smaller of the two black box theatres. The catwalk system and surrounding balcony are similar in both theatres.
The footprints are a reminder for me to add that other amenities, such as bathrooms, offices, food preparation areas, library and workrooms are also being built. We traveled across some very dusty and very new surfaces to find the costume shop, wardrobe, make-up rooms, offices and loading doors to the scene shop and storage areas.

This work-dusty stairwell will lead from the second floor proscenium arch area down to the hallways leading to the main foyer.

The plasterers are masters at throwing “mud” on vertical surfaces. The curved walls of the foyer blend into the hallways upstairs.

As with all construction sites, entrepreneurs find a shady spot to set up food service.

Through the construction scaffolding of the theatre complex you can see the famous Jabulani Amphitheatre where in 1985 Zindzi Mandela read her father’s letter to President P. W. Botha regarding the ”… preconditions for his release and the ultimate negotiations with the ANC.”  (Kgolane,  Alfred Rudolph. Celebrating and Commemorating Twenty-Years of the Harare Declaration. Web accessed 10/9/2011. ).
And so you see that even with the creation of a new entertainment complex progress in South Africa mingles with history as well as makes history in its own right.


  1. Yes I agree this is great one I expose the instruction impress to read the posting thank By Regards webløsninger

  2. Tak. Jeg er glad for du kunne lide at skrive og fotografier.
    Thank you. I am happy you enjoyed the writing and photographs.

  3. hi Heidi you should do a follow up on the Soweto Theater since it is now finished. its a great piece of architecture visit the architects web page to see photos thanks

  4. Dear Anonymous,
    Thanks so very much for the afritects website! I will be glad to add that in a wrap-up. I wonder if Denis or anyone has other photos to share.