Labia theatre: the little cinema that could

Mail & Guardian | Debbie Loots:


Embracing the future has allowed the Labia Theatre to retain its independence and honour its rich past.

South Africa’s longest running independent cinema, the Labia Theatre in Cape Town, may be showing its age, but it is keeping up with the digital times. 


Harold Dirneik has owned the coffee and sweet shop at the Labia for 23 years. (Lien Botha)

A little like an old lounge singer from The Triplets of Belleville, the cinema seems slightly bedraggled, its outside edges less polished than in its heyday. But it doesn’t matter. Because at 65, the Labia’s unassuming charm is as endearing as ever. Combined with its recent digital conversion – think superior sound and picture quality – as well as a crowdfunding drive that will help to upgrade the interior, the Labia is clearly here to stay…


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