The Mandela Bay Theatre complex, formerly known as the Opera House, has been officially declared a cultural institution for performing arts in Gqeberha on Monday.

This is one of the oldest theatres in Africa which was built in 1892 and is still the main venue for drama productions and other shows in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa officially declared the building in terms of the Cultural Institution Act 119 of 1998 as a cultural institution.

Theatre practitioner, Xabiso Zweni, says the long-awaited support from government is welcomed.

“What is happening today (Monday)  is a momentous event, that we have been waiting for the past 27 years as artists of Nelson Mandela bay of Gqeberha and as the Eastern Cape as a whole. It is very big and we are hoping it will bear fruit for the future. So that we don’t face the same problems that artists are facing today.”