Famed as the location that played host to the first public speech of Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison, Cape Town’s City Hall has been undergoing a major renewal since December 2017. While many are familiar with its unique and prominent exterior, the City of Cape Town has endeavoured to improve the interior.
The city issued an update on the revamp, explaining that the auditorium, once called the Grand Hall, is in the throws of “extensive interior redecoration and and modernisation with new flooring, seating, full air-conditioning and a rebuilt stage, among other changes, planned for the classical space”.
Built in 1905, and declared too small just two years later, the stage will be a focal part of the renewed auditorium. The stage was extended many times throughout its lifespan with negative consequences for seating space.
The new stage will be lowered slightly which is expected to improve lines of sight and enhance acoustics. It will also see a return to traditional straight seating rows within the teak-panelled auditorium, says the city.
Councillor Stuart Diamond, City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Assets and Facilities Management, referring to the revamp states, “The City Hall is a building of civic pride that is used by communities from across the city. It is home to the Cape Choirs and the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. I am certain that once the new stage is completed, together with the revamp of all the other elements, this grand dame will reclaim her place as an ideal musical events venue”.
With much of the work already completed, if all goes according to plan, major reconstruction works are set to be completed by the end of June 2018.