National Theatre under New Management

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK AN education officer of Planning and Regional Museum Development in the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, has been appointed as general manager of the National Theatre of Namibia. Werner Thaniseb will take over from the outgoing general manager, Ernst Herma, who will stay on for three weeks to assist Thaniseb. Thaniseb’s appointment to the post that had been advertised twice, was yesterday exclusively confirmed by the chairman of the Board of the National Theatre of Namibia, Nico Hoebeb. Herma resigned as NTN general manager in March this year, but was requested by the board to stay on until a replacement was found. “Two of the first round applicants had also been encouraged for a second time to apply for the position. Unfortunately, they didn’t show any further interest in the job. However, we are happy with Thaniseb, whose business plan caters for greater cooperation between the Government and the private sector in transforming the NTN into a sustainable entity,” said Hoebeb. The incoming general manager’s present job entails project management, need assessment, planning and regional museum development programmes. “I was impressed with the broad development vision the new general manager put on the table. It provides for a seemingly workable comprehensive development plan primarily aimed to bring the Government and private sector closer in a venture that will eventually benefit the nation,” said Hoebeb The NTN as a section 21 private company is subsidized by the Government to the tune of N$2,5 million per year. “The company’s dilemma had been that this amount per year did not keep track with inflation with the result that NTN basically receives only 50% of the money in real terms since 1992. Furthermore, the private sector had always been under the wrong impression that the NTN is a state-owned enterprise resulting in a hesitancy for sponsorship from the local business fraternity. However, we are confident that Thaniseb will be able to turn the situation around through collective bargaining efforts,” the chairperson said. Thaniseb is also responsible for education development and marketing programmes as well as liaison with national and international heritage institutions. “These are elements needed to do a proper job at the NTN to enable the company to become self-sustainable within the next five years with both the help of Government and the private sector. Should this plan not materialize, NTN will have no other option but to become a fully fledged government institution,” Hoebed warned. According to him, Thaniseb will serve a probation period of six months before being considered for permanent appointment. “We expect the new general manager to focus and concentrate primarily on fundraising and the promotion of the company on a national and international level. We have asked the outgoing general manager to assist his replacement for at least three more weeks until the beginning of February next year. We also expect him to have an open-minded and collective management approach to the affairs of the company,” Hoebeb maintained. Thaniseb, who holds various academic qualifications from Unam, the University of the Western Cape and Warsaw University in Poland, has been involved in the NTN’s Theatre Zone theatre venture for a few years now. Other news at NTN is that the former stage manager, Basil de Waal, has resigned to pursue a career as a farmer.