The entertainment industry has been pummeled by the COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged lockdown. As a result, Cape Town City Ballet has had to retrench some of its dancers.

While their dance studios have been open since June 5 to allow dancers to attend classes under strict COVID-19 protocols and keep their fitness and form, all of their Artscape performances have been cancelled until 2021. This has placed severe financial strain on the company.

“Our entire planned programme for 2020 has been cancelled, having a significant financial impact on the organisation,” says Suzette Raymond, Chairperson of the Board of Cape Town City Ballet.

“We have managed to sustain the full company for five months of lockdown, without our usual box office income stream. We have explored various alternatives to create additional income streams. We have engaged with employees and taken into consideration their suggestions to the best of our capabilities.We have implemented across the board pay cuts, from our admin staff, to our dancers.”

“Unfortunately, like many companies nationally and internationally,  we were left with no other option than to make the difficult decision to enter into a comprehensive consultative process to retrench some of our dancers. The dancers are immensely talented artists and we hope to be able to welcome them back at some point in the future. These are incredibly challenging times for arts and culture companies around the world,” says Raymond.

Debbie Turner, CEO of Cape Town City Ballet explains they are working on projects for digital streaming and are exploring the possibility of presenting small performances at their studios in the near future.

“As soon as we are safely able to do so, we will return to the stage. All performances at Artscape have been cancelled until 2021 and so our entire 2020 programme will not happen. We have been exploring other projects in the meantime such as work for digital streaming. These include a short dance film with Norval Foundation, inspired by the sculpture of William Kentridge, which can be viewed for R50 at

Raymond is appealing to the public to support the arts, and donate to help keep them afloat.

“We urge anyone who is in a position to do so, to invest in the future of Cape Town City Ballet. There are a number of ways to do this and every amount, no matter how small, makes a difference. Sign up to become a VIP Friend, make a once-off or recurring donation, invest in our long-term endowment fund, make a bequest or nominate Cape Town City Ballet as a beneficiary on your My School card.”

For information about how to invest in Cape Town City Ballet contact [email protected]

For more information about Cape Town City Ballet, visit:

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