A modern theatre for Soweto

Soweto broke ground yesterday on a R110million theatre complex in the heart of the township.

Soweto broke ground yesterday on a R110million theatre complex in the heart of the township.

The Soweto Theatre, next to the Jabulani Amphitheatre, will comprise three stages with combined seating for 690 people. Each auditorium will be housed in red, blue and yellow cubes.

Johannesburg executive mayor Amos Masondo and Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan presided over the ground-breaking. Construction is set to begin next month. The project is expected to be completed in April 2010 - just before the Fifa World Cup.

"We are trying to change Soweto to be a place where people can go for entertainment," Masondo said.

About 40percent of Johannesburg's estimated 3,8million people are believed to live in Soweto.

Over the last two years a spate of high-profile investments began changing Soweto's profile, as glitzy shopping malls, restaurants and bars hope to tap the new wealth of the small but growing black middle class.

The complex sits at a busy intersection across from a new shopping mall, in an open field that the city of Johannesburg plans to transform into a retail, business and residential business complex, Masondo added.

The project combines public and private investment through the city's property development arm. - Sapa-AFP

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