GEORGE NEWS - The building, the Grand Dame that houses the Oakhurst Insurance George Arts Theatre, has a rich and dramatic history. She has played many roles in her varied career, reinventing herself for the requirements of each role, until finally she got the role of a lifetime, the one she's always been destined to play.
Her opening night was back in 1905, when she played the role of "The Boarding House" alongside Miss Jordan. Her noteworthy performance was the talk of the town, and she was soon styling the designs of well-known Oudtshoorn architect Charles Bullock, in her role as a "world-class finishing school", which she played alongside Miss Christine van Niekerk. "The Finishing School" ran non-stop until 1921.
For two years after that she had a small supporting role as "The House of the Overflow Standard 6 Classes", where the main performer, Outeniqua High School, took centre stage.
But, by the 1950s, the accomplished thespian was an out-of-work actress. Roles dried up and her agent stopped calling. She only managed to land a small cameo role as a bioscope; some critics noting the savoir faire she brought to the role.
But in 1968 her stars aligned and destiny opened the door, offering her the role of a lifetime. She was to take the lead as "The George Arts Theatre" under the management of the reputable agent Felix Harris of the George Society of Arts, who bought the derelict dame, gave her a face-lift, and transformed her into a 218-seat theatre - the only fully operational, privately-owned theatre in the then Cape Province.
Her curtains opened on 26 April 1969 to a production of The Sleeping Prince, and the revitalised queen of her craft hasn't looked back since.
In 2014, romance was on the cards, when rumours of her courtship with dashing neighbour Oakhurst Insurance hit the press. Oakhurst cemented their romance with a sponsorship proposal, which she accepted, taking on her beau's name to become the Oakhurst Insurance George Arts Theatre.
Her high-flying, A-list celebratory status means that she is often collaborating with some of the nation's finest talents. She was given the rights to produce the theatre version of the animated feature film Khumba. It has also been confirmed that Peter Dirk-Uys and Ian Von Memerty will be gracing her stage in 2019. Her remarkable versatility will also be put on display this year as she forms part of the cast of Little Shop of Horrors.
It seems that no role is too big for this accomplished star in South Africa's theatre world. This dancing queen - the Oakhurst Insurance George Arts Theatre - is having the time of her life.
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