THE Windybrow Theatre in the heart of Johannesburg's Hillbrow has just undergone a physical makeover that is artistically tasteful.
And the changes that are currently sweeping through the theatre , whose architecture is an example of appealing aesthetics in building construction, is more than just physical.
Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana, who has just unveiled the theatre's new programme for 2010 and 2011, including its 2010 Fifa World Cup programme, declared the theatre a Pan African Centre for artistic excellence.
"What this means is that this place will now host shows from South African playwrights, those from the African continent and those in the diaspora.
"We want to see this place best known for its artistic excellence and Pan African character. It must represent the best of African art in the country as part of its new identity.
"And as a result of this new identity, what it means is that we are going soon to make changes to the Windybrow Theatre Council, by bringing in representatives of communities from the rest of the African continent, who are part of the Hillbrow community," said Xingwana.
The minister's department has handed over a handsome sum of money to the theatre in order for it to realise the objectives of its new programme and to achieve the vision of its new identity.
The funds, which are believed to run into millions of rands, is part of the R127 million the department of arts and culture has just given to individuals and organisations to develop 2010 projects.
The new exciting programme at Windybrow will see popular musicians perform at this venue, with prospects of attracting inner city residents to the centre, which in recent years failed dismally to attract audiences.
The programme also boasts theatre classics and for the first time in many years, the theatre will run a full artistic programme for 2010 and 2011.
The launch of this new programme saw many people from the arts community converge on this theatre last Wednesday.
And perhaps as a sign of the new good omen that envelops the place, guests including Xingwana danced to Thandiswa Mazwai and Tu Nokwe's energetic performances until midnight right in the heart of Hillbrow.
This in a way destroyed the myth that art lovers avoid Hillbrow because of their perception that crime infests the suburb.