Pacofs was recently placed in the spotlight again when an unhappy theatre-goer complained on Facebook about the state of the theatre and the surrounding areas. In the same breath, she called on the community to help make a change.
Louise-Kelly Coetzee’s post read: “I spent some time this morning at the once jewel of the Free State, the Sand du Plessis Theatre. With a great shock I realised the deterioration of the place. I immediately started to inquire, walk around, look for someone to chat with and asked what is going on here… There are the most amazingly constructed flower beds, with nothing in them, just dust. I am willing to help, even though I am also involved in nine other projects. Is Mangaung willing to help me? Or Mangaung’s people? Let’s plant something in those abandoned empty flower beds. There are so many artists who want to use the Sand again. Let’s try.”
Coetzee told Bloemfontein Courant that after her rant on social media, she sent an email to Pacofs and she was pleasantly surprised by the friendly call she received that reassured her that with the change in management, the theatre grounds will soon get the much-needed attention. She also said she is excited to “adopt” a section of the garden and plant new flowers.
The publication spoke to the newly appointed senior marketing manager, Adri van Veijeren, to find out what plans have been put in place to give the building and the surrounding areas a facelift. “We received some funding from the national Department of Arts and Culture to erect a fence around Pacofs. That will probably happen around the end of the year. This will prevent people from coming in and it will also ensure that the garden is looked after,” said Van Veijeren.
She added that the plan is also to erect a new entrance in First Avenue and that they want to start hosting events on the outside of the building. “I also spoke to the lady and informed her that once the fence is erected, she and other members of the community are more than welcome to come and plant a few things in the garden.”
With regards to the inside of the building, Van Veijeren said that the plan is to appoint more cleaners for the general upkeep of the building. “We also allocated money in the budget of the next financial year to purchase new equipment for the stage.”