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US$3 too little for Charles Austin Theatre – councillors

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US$3 too little for Charles Austin Theatre – councillors



Mirror Reporter

MASVINGO – Masvingo City councillors last week haggled over the appropriate membership fee for Charles Austin Theatre, one of the few remaining council theatres after independence.

Almost all urban councils had a magnificent arts theatre after independence but one by one they have become defunct with many turned into churches or storerooms.

Charles Austin remains standing thanks to the persistent efforts of one of its founding fathers, the late former Masvingo mayor Alderman Dougie Hill who passed on last year.

On Monday last week a full council chaired by Mayor Collen Maboke disagreed on what they should set as the membership fee for the theatre. Some councillors suggested US$3 which they argued would allow majority of residents to access the facility.

The meeting also proposed on an executive committee charged with theatre affairs and with its chairman being someone with an arts degree and experience of over 20 years. There was no agreement on this matter however.

Mayor Maboke dug in and argued that the fee was too little to cover the theatre’s recurrent expenses. He said the theatre’s carpets were so old they have become rugs, the ceiling was falling in and the furniture was broken down and such membership fee was a drop in the ocean.

Maboke insisted that membership fee should be above US$20

“Let us consider the standards that we need to set. This theatre had its prime time. Our resolution must see us either maintaining the standards or lowering them” said ward 10 councillor Sengerai Manyanga.

In last month’s meeting council had resolved to form a new committee responsible for running the theatre.

The person who is to become the chairman must have a degree in an Arts related subject and must have at least 20 years of experience.

“Will the US$3 be sufficient to renovate the carpets and the furniture which is now in bad state. Let us think twice before we make this decision lest we make ourselves laughing stalks of the nation,” Maboke said.https://masvingomirror.com/

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