Originally the YMCA, the building at 44 on Long was erected in 1883 and extended in 1900. As it stands, it takes up a substantial corner of the city centre, on the corner of Long and Hout Streets.
The YMCA’s heritage is still reflected in small details such as the bolts spaced along the elegant wooden handrails of the stairs installed, as the story goes, to discourage the boys from sliding down the bannisters.
The theatre has its own history as the second instalment of the Space Theatre in the 1970s, which “established itself as a defiantly non-racial venue in a racially divided country” (Wikipedia). It became the home of a fistful of actors, directors and writers who would become theatre stars in South Africa and beyond, including Athol Fugard, Pieter-Dirk Uys, David Kramer, Winston Ntshona and John Kani.
44 on Long honours that history, not by rehashing it, but by aiming to disrupt the norm, demand new ways of thinking and become, once again, the birthplace of radical creative thinking.