The Market Theatre offers creators a platform to make money
The Market Theatre in Johannesburg’s cultural hub of Newtown is an iconic building and a bastion of struggle theatre, but is also a long-standing SAMRO licensee, providing music creators with the opportunity to earn royalties.
The Market Theatre was established in 1976 by theatre pioneers Mannie Manim and the late Barney Simon, occupying the shell of the old Indian Fruit Market, which was built in 1913. This means that 2013 marks the centenary of the Market Theatre building, which is now a protected heritage site.
The theatre quickly established an outstanding reputation locally and globally as a platform for daring, cutting-edge plays that challenged the oppressive apartheid status quo.
Today the complex remains as vibrant as ever, staging award-winning plays and keeping its founding fathers’ flame of courageous theatre-making burning brightly. It recently underwent an extensive multi-million-rand upgrade, thanks to funding from the Department of Arts and Culture.
As with similar entertainment complexes, the building houses a number of venues where music is performed live or where recorded music is played, in addition to the dramatic performances that take place. Music greats such as Sibongile Khumalo and Hugh Masekela have performed there. As a SAMRO licensee, the theatre continues to provide a revenue stream for South African musicians who either perform there or whose music is used inside the venues in a multitude of ways.
The Market Theatre’s Motlalepule Makhate explains that the complex holds SAMRO licenses to use copyrighted music for the following purposes: music that is played to callers on hold, venue music and curtain music (music played before and after performances, and between acts). The licenses are renewed every year.
But the theatre’s responsibility does not end there. “When we have live performances, the managers of the artists have to submit live performance returns to SAMRO, since most of the musicians who perform at the Market are SAMRO members,” explains Makhate. “We supply them with the relevant SAMRO forms, which they fill in, listing the songs performed, and submit them to SAMRO.”
This information enables SAMRO to calculate the Performing Rights royalties owing to the creators of the music performed in public at the theatre.
Visit www.markettheatre.co.za to find out more about the theatre’s line-up.