Hillbrow Theatre back on track

The Hillbrow Theatre, abuzz with school children on 5 September attending the annual Inner City High Schools Drama Festival.


Hillbrow Theatre has reopened its doors to art and drama fanatics after it was closed for two weeks following a shooting incident which claimed one life and left seven people with serious injuries.

In an exclusive interview with North Eastern Tribune Hillbrow Theatre director Gerard Bester said all is back on track and various shows are lined up for the month of September.

Read: UPDATE: Hillbrow Theatre’s shooter currently in Tembisa Hospital – Police

The theatre was closed two weeks ago after a 33-year-old man opened fire in the main gallery while demanding his missing cellphone.

The suspect, who was arrested during a robbery that took place in Greenstone Shopping Centre in Edenvale the following day has been hospitalised at the Thembisa Hospital and is expected to appear in court soon.

He faces murder, attempted murder and robbery charges, said Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini.

After he allegedly shot eight people, killing one, the theatre was forced to shut its doors to allow the police and their forensic unit to investigate.

Bester said during the shutdown, the theatre suffered a huge loss because many of their musical shows were cancelled.

Read: Hillbrow police yet to charge Hillbrow theatre shooter

“However, things are somehow back in order even though this incident has created fear among our patrons,” said Bester.

“We are now trying to find a balance between moving on and to be still. We are also trying to reflect on what has happened to reignite our theatre.”

The director said their funders have organised counselling for their staff who were at the theatre when the incident took place including the security personnel.

He said they have also beefed up security and they are constantly meeting with the Hillbrow police to find ways to prevent similar incidents in future.

Bester said they received an enormous outpouring of support from the arts fraternity including the drama therapists from Wits University’s Drama for Life students who provided counselling to their staff.

Read: Man shot twice in the head in Hillbrow

“This was a moment of reflection for us and the only thing that is left now, is to restore trust from the community and ensure their safety at all times,” said Bester.

Currently, the theatre is hosting the Inner City High Schools Drama Festival which started on 1 September and will run until 9 September and Bester said everyone is welcome to attend.

Details: Hillbrow Theatre 011 720 7011.

Do you think the strong presence of the police and security at the Hillbrow Theatre will help prevent similar incidents in future? Tell us on the North Eastern Tribune Facebook page


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