Rn news eoan




Caption 1: The Eoan Group School of Performing Arts’s dance principal, Abeedah
Medell and director, Shafiek Rajap, are seen here in front of a collage of some
of its pioneers.


Caption 2: The Joseph Stone Auditorium, in Athlone, is the home of the
Eoan Group.


The Eoan Group School of Performing Arts is proud to be an 83-year-old
institution that is still unselfishly serving and is rooted in the heart of the

So said managing director, Shafiek Rajap, adding that the organisation
has always strived to do the best they can, to bring quality productions to

Mr Rajap took over the reigns at the Eoan Group 15 years ago, and over
the years he has seen the mutually beneficial relationship between his
organisation and the Athlone News.

“You have given us a lot of exposure over the years, like when our young
people go overseas, and even when our children do their ballet examinations.
More children come to us, because they read about others in the paper. The
Athlone News has helped changed the lives of our children. I have seen the
growth of the Eoan Group and the growth of the Athlone News, and I believe it’s
because of this informal partnership the two entities have.

“What I also like of the Athlone News, is that you are reachable. You
are not just people out there, you are people who are connected to the
community. You helped us grow by getting our productions and events published. We
don’t have a marketing budget, and yet we registered 500 students this year,”
Mr Rajap said.

Principal of the dance school, Abeedah Medell, added that the Athlone
News “tells the stories that need to be told”.

“Before any other paper arrived, it has always been the Athlone News. I
love the variety of stories and always find myself starting out on the front
page, before I go to the entertainment page, then the housing section, and then
sport. I also love that it runs ‘feel-good stories’. We must tell the good also,
not just the bad. Even the community notices are important. It’s an accessible
newspaper, especially for the youth. For many young people in our community,
who do not have money for data costs, the Athlone News is their social link. I would
like to call the Athlone News the community’s Facebook. It’s a cultured
newspaper for everybody,” Ms Medell said.

The pair congratulated the Athlone News on its 30th anniversary,
and said they wished for it to exist for as long as the Eoan Group has.

Blurb: The Eoan Group was founded by Helen Southern-Holt in 1933 in
District Six, as a cultural and welfare organisation. During its early years,
the their activities focussed on elocution, drama, physical education and
ballet. In 1943, Ms Southern-Holt invited Joseph Manca, an accountant from
Italian descent with a passion for opera, to conduct the groups’small coir, and
in the next 13 years, Mr Manca developed the choir into an amateur opera
company. In March 1956, the Eoan Group performed a full-scale opera in Italian,
called La Traviata.  Over the next 20
years that followed this successful production, the Eoan Group’s name became
synonymous with opera productions. In 1977, Mr Manca resigned from the Eoan
Group,  and it signalled the end of an
era for the group.

After the forced removals and destruction of
District Six, the Eoan Group moved to their new premises in Athlone, known as
the Joseph Stone Theatre. It was named after its benefactor who donated R100
000 towards the building of the theatre. The group moved into the Joseph Stone
Theatre in 1969.