Armchair Theatre is Closing Down

Jonathan, Music, Project Mayhem Add comments

I had lots of good times at the Independent Armchair Theatre, whether it was challenging my friends to the only sport I ever play (foosball), watching Ferris Beuller’s Day Off with pizza and beer, or rocking out to the likes of All Star Funk Four. I’m quite saddened to have read the following press release, sent to Facebook today:

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been avoiding this press release for about a month now. To cut straight to it, after little more than eight years of existence and an eternity of good times The Armchair has closed.

So that there is no confusion on the matter, this is what has happened:

I bought The Independent Armchair Theatre in March 2005. At the time the business was heavily in debt and about to close. Since then we have fought tooth and nail to not only keep The Armchair going but to make it the best venue for live music that we could offer. But three years later with my debts and stress levels reaching dangerous proportions, and some expensive renovations required in order to meet the city’s noise pollution requirements, I had to take the decision, like my predecessor, to sell the business. However the sale has not gone as planned and so - with The Armchair not able to reopen without the requisite soundproofing and no money to pay for the rental - the time has come to close.

That’s the story. I hope you understand. The Independent Armchair Theatre is one of the finest things to have existed in this city. It embodied loves and dreams. It was place to belong to and that belonged to you. In all the time I owned The Armchair, I never felt that it was really mine. It belonged to everyone. To the fans, the musicians, the promoters, the staff. I was simply the guy at the back holding the rudder. It was our home.

And it was all about the music. When The Armchair started it had quite a mixed line up of film, music, comedy and drama but as the years went on it grew into a venue whose purpose of the soul was to provide for the music of Cape Town and it’s many lovers. In the end it might have been out downfall, but the music was all we have ever cared about and I take comfort in knowing that we never made a decision that didn’t have the music at heart. I would start listing all the sublime moments I had in the place, the bands I saw, the musicians that changed my life, but the list would be too long and I wouldn’t want to leave anyone or anything out. The Armchair was nothing if not a sum of its parts. Plus I’d cry lot.

That’s it. I could write all night but that would just be avoiding the inevitable. And I don’t have enough tissues, toilet paper and sleeves in this place.

Before I go though, some very important thank you’s:

To my parents, who have gone far beyond any reasonable expectations in supporting me and The Armchair. To Jen and Alison – for being totally fucking cool, for weathering the storms and for understanding more than most. Thembi, Angela, Nick, Alex, Timmy and Stuart and to everyone else who worked at The Armchair since it opened - you know who you are and I’m not going to list names because I don’t want to leave anyone out. One huge thanks to Ian James Watson whose value and talent can never be underestimated – if you ever meet this man please buy him as many drinks as possible. And of course Carl, Jess and Chris for coming up with the idea in the first place.

And finally, to anyone who ever set foot in the Armchair. Who made the times and enjoyed the times. The place was there for and because of you.

Till next time.


I’ve sent Gil a message to ask whether the sound-proofing is the biggest barrier to getting the place up and running again, and what it would cost to get it up to standard. I’m sure if it’s not too much money, that the fans of Armchair would be willing to raise some money for it. It does seem that it’s too late for that though, I wish I had the money to buy the place over and take care of it.

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