Music and Entertainment

ID #1562

Apollo Theatre, Victoria West, Karoo, Northern Cape.

Visit the theatre in the wilderness and get closer to the people. South Africa’s last remaining art-deco cinema, and South Africa’s only community-operated cinema.

A local café owner, Andrew Aristedes Bassil, who built the Apollo Theatre in the late 1920’s, lies buried in Victoria West Cemetery.   In 1956, plans were drawn up to revamp the theatre into what exists today – an art-deco auditorium with a 1950’s feel.  It closed in 1981 because of depopulation of the platteland (rural areas) and the advent of television. After hibernating for nearly two decades, national monuments personnel described the Apollo as “unique” and the “only surviving cinema of its type in South Africa”.  A non-profit community-based organisation, the Apollo Development Association was established in 1998 to conserve the theatre and use it for cultural enrichment and economic development through tourism.  The Apollo’s “Youth Involvement Project” began in June 1998.  Online booking was initiated in November 1999 when the Apollo was linked to Ticketweb. Partnerships were developed with a number of companies and organisations. Developments now taking place include a new foyer with catering facilities, as well as a cinema and photography museum.  The Apollo’s second Summer Youth Festival was held in December 1999 with a season of Shakespeare films for senior school learners, followed by a season of blockbusters.  The cinema opened for regular fortnightly showings of new-release films at the beginning of 2000.  Attractions include:

•    Old films assembled for screenings to tourist groups
•    A National Film Festival will be held each September to coincide with the blooming of flowers in Namaqualand.

Victoria West is on the N12 northeast of Three Sisters, which is at the intersection of the N1 with the N12. BGApollo

Contct:            Box 235 Victoria West 7070
+27 (53) 621 1185+27 (53) 621 1185 telephone
+27 (11) 837 7651 fax

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Last update: 2014-02-15 13:53
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.3

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