The grand reopening of Little Theatre Club which once hosted American Jazz singer Louis Armstrong famously known for his hit song, "What a Wonderful World", has been postponed.
The trumpeter, composer, singer and occasional actor, who was one of the most influential figures in jazz, visited Kenya’s second largest theatre in 1960. His pictures are still kept at the monument in Mombasa.
The reopening was postponed due to changes in the renovation process and handing over of the multi-cultural repertory theatre.
“The club was to reopen on November 3, but it was rescheduled due to changes in the programs of the principal stakeholders involved in the renovation process and handing over of LTC,” players in the club led by its chairman Peter Odote said.
Thespians in the coastal city have suffered after the theatre was shut down for a major facelift that has revamped the dilapidated and oldest monument in Coast region. The government had pumped Sh50 million for the renovation of the neglected monument that once roared great productions and talent.
“We sincerely regret to announce the postponement of the grand re-opening fundraising dinner, which was slated for November 3. This also means that the club shall not reopen for use as earlier envisaged,” Mr Odote said.
The LTC is the only multi-cultural repertory theatre in the coastal region. For years, the club remained in a dilapidated state characterised by leaking roofs, dangerous asbestos, poor sewerage system and cracked walls.
But after a year’s closure, LTC has gotten a major overhaul with modern kitchenware, good sanitation facilities, a new roof and theatre lighting.
“The asbestos roof was removed due to its link to cancer. The roof was reinforced completely because it is a monument. Some features were left. The new lighting system for the auditorium and an advanced sound system which was benchmarked from Kenya National Theatre in Nairobi and new carpets have been installed,” the chairman told the Saturday Nation.
He asked LTC’s friends, members and well-wishers, to continue working towards a successful fundraising dinner.
“Continue selling and buying dinner tickets and sponsoring space or looking for sponsors for the magazine. Keep sending your direct donations,” Mr Odote said.
He urged the members to utilise the time to re-energise and strategise further in accomplishing a better, more cohesive program for the event and a sustainable future for the club.
Initially used by the British Royal Navy as a Fleet Club during the Second World War, the club officially launched in 1962 and has been a national monument.
In 2001 LTC became a national monument and was gazetted to protect it.