South Africa

State Theatre opens its doors to Black Labone after closure of African Beer Emporium

Black Labone State Theatre

Black Labone will host weekly events at the theatre until the end of November.

After the closure of Pretoria entertainment venue African Beer Emporium (ABE) two weeks ago, the South African State Theatre (SAST) has opened its doors to weekly the event, Black Labone.

ABE is at the epicentre of music and lifestyle revolution of the capital city and the home of Tshwanefontein, The Breakfast Club, Trancemicsoul Sessions and Black Labone. The latter hosted its weekly event at ABE every Thursday for five years.

“We have given them a home through a partnership. Our approach is that artists will always have a home and place to hone their talents and Black Labone offers that platform,” SAST Artist Director, Aubrey Sekhabi told The Citizen.

Sekhabi confirmed to The Citizen that they signed a contract with the organisers of Black Labone, to host the weekly event until the end of November at the theatre.

“It is an established art movement with markets and opportunities for young people to showcase their skills and talents. It has been popular due to the role that it plays in the young people’s approach to the arts in the Capital city,” said Sekhabi on Black Labone.

ALSO READ: Iconic Pretoria venue, African Beer Emporium, to close its doors after 8 memorable years

New home, but same vibes

Last month, one of the directors at ABE, Willie van der Schyf, told The Citizen they had been looking for a suitable buyer for the business for a few months now.

“After eight years of operating the business we feel that it is time for someone else to breathe new energy into the venture,” said Van der Schyf.

‘It was a bit abrupt, but we do understand,” one of the Black Labone founders, Izah told The Citizen about the sudden decision to close down ABE.

“It’s part of the ever-changing landscape of events. We’re glad we had a good relationship with the organisers,” said Izah.

“We’re glad that the State Theatre has given us a warm welcome. We’ve been offered a space that used to be called Genesis, which has access to both the outdoor an indoor.”

According to Sekhabi, the organisers of the weekly event approached them for a venue.

“The organisers approached us. [However], it should be known that the SAST and Black Labone organisers have always had a relationship in that various artists who have performed at SAST have also performed at Black Labone and vice versa.”

Black Labone celebrated its sixth anniversary in August in a big way, attracting throngs of young people to the ABE. The event managed to attract hundreds of patrons to the venue every Thursday and moving it to the State Theatre could benefit theatre that has struggled to attract big numbers in recent years.

But Sekhabi was a bit cautious about the possibilities of the new relationship, opting to give it more time.

“It’s early days since this partnership came into effect with yesterday’s being the first. It’s early days to comment – let’s give it time to stabilise. We had a great opening yesterday, with a good turnout,” said the Artistic Director on Friday.

NOW READ: Black Labone: Pretoria’s abode for artists celebrates six years