CityLife Arts

Up Close and Personal with Thuli Hlaneke

Facilities Manager at Market Theatre Foundation

In Today’s edition of the series marking Women/s Month, focusing on women leaders at the Market Theatre Foundation, CITYLIFE/ARTS editor EDWARD TSUMELE (ET) speaks to THULI HLANEKE (TH)), Facilities Manager at the Market Theatre Foundation.

ET: People wanting to pursue a career in theatre are not aware that there are  other opportunities away from the stage, such as working as Facilities and Operations Manager for example. What is involved in what you do?

TH: Facilities Management has to do with looking after the infrastructure of the company. Everything that has to do with maintenance (planned and emergency). The Market Theatre Foundation has eight buildings, so the Facilities Manager is responsible for the department that looks after all these buildings.

I look after all cleaning, security, armed response etc.

I look after all health and safety matters for the Market Theatre Foundation.

Compliance Officer for COVID 19. I have to make sure we have all regulations from the Department of health and of the Department Labour in place.

ET .What are the challenges of being a Facilities Manager?

 TH: The Market Theatre has many buildings, so it is a lot to look after and a lot of work. I have a very great team that I work with. That helps me to be able to meet my deadlines and targets. The most challenging is managing the budget and making sure that we spend within budget. Right now the challenge of COVID 19 that we are all dealing with has brought about many unforeseen challenges and costs. I continuously have to make sure that I follow proper procedures for SCM (Supply Chain Management) and that is time consuming. Most companies are not tax complaint, and that means having a big pool of service providers so that we can always respond timeously.

ET: .You are currently writing a book about the experience of working as a married mother. Can you tell us briefly about the book?

 TH:  I have put the book on hold as I have small kids. They take a lot of time to look after, but it is so fulfilling. I wouldn’t change a single thing. The time with my son every morning before I come to work and listening to my daughter going on and on about this or the other, and mostly things that don’t make sense but the whole time pretending like I know what she is taking about. I love it, my kids are such a joy to me. The Market Theatre Foundation has many female managers and colleagues and they understand what it takes to be a working mother. So I always have sisters around me who are there to help, to share advice and to laugh with and cry with when it’s hard times.

Instead of writing my book I’ve decided on taking on reading a lot and I’ve loved it so much. I have changed so much and have gained so much knowledge and wisdom.

ET. So far how has been your experience of working at the Market Theatre?

TH: It’s been good, great, bad, sweet and hard. It’s been a mixture of good and bad but mostly good. The Foundation is a great company and most of all, it’s got many good people. Working in a creative space is like a holiday destination at times because creative people are such a joy and are so open it’s like a long beautiful journey. I love the performing arts and the Market Theatre breathes creativity all the time. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like work, it feels like I’m in an outing. There is so much to learn and I am always growing because the theatre is not stagnant. It’s always exciting.

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