The Playhouse Company presents a full and fantastic festive season with a fabulous selection of frothy theatrical treats to be staged over the year-end holidays.
Traditionally the festive season is a time of families and whimsy, laughter and fun, pantos and ballet, song and dance. The Playhouse, an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture and the province’s premier theatre complex, has produced a carefully-curated programme of old school nostalgia, with a contemporary twist.
“Christmas is always an important time for us at the Playhouse and we are beyond delighted with our festive season programme this year,” enthuses Playhouse CEO Linda Bukhosini. “We have produced a range of glorious productions reflecting our rich and diverse cultural heritage to celebrate a well-earned festive season. We really wanted to stage a glorious, affirming upbeat programme for our Durban audiences and visitors to our city.”
Umang: A Celebration of Bollywood Song and Dance, on 19 and 20 November in the Drama Theatre, sees the Durban studios of Nateshwar Dance Company pay homage to the wonderful tradition of the Indian Cinema Industry. The production features 18 dancers in elaborate costumes performing to live music – a live on-stage six-piece band led by Tansen Nepaul and guest vocalists, and anchored by popular radio presenter and Bollywood aficionado, Varshan Sookhun.
Joburg Ballet brings to sparkling life one of the most popular and beloved Christmas classical ballets in the world with an enchanting new production of The Nutcracker on 18 and 19 December in the Opera Theatre with live accompaniment by the mighty KZN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Lykele Temmingh.
The Nutcracker transports audiences into a Christmas fairy tale where toys come to life, mice wage war, snowflakes delight, sweets dance and Clara meets her Nutcracker Prince.
The Nutcracker was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa with a score by Tchaikovsky; this new version is produced and choreographed by artistic director Iain MacDonald, assisted by ballet mistress Lauren Slade, with additional choreography by Nicole Ferreira-Dill, Bruno Miranda and Thabang Mabaso and with Shannon Glover taking principal rehearsals.
What would a Christmas be without a family panto? The Playhouse is delighted to be producing for the first time, the annual KickstArt pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Directed by Steven Stead and designed by Greg King, KickstArt’s 17th family pantomime promises to be a riot of magic, colour and laughter. Based on the famous fairytale of the fair princess and her adventures involving seven dwarfs… and a particularly evil stepmother, this adaptation has been written and directed by Stead with gorgeous sets, puppets and costumes by King. This production is perfect holiday fare for the entire family which comes to the Drama Theatre from 18 – 30 December..
Ask any plus-size person what life is like at the heavier end of the scale. You’ll hear some good, some bad and some very funny stories. These highs and lows are brought to the stage in Bigly Yuge, a jolly mash-up of life in the large lane combining comedy, drama, song and dance – mostly in isiZulu.
Bigly Yuge features some very familiar faces – directed by Tony Kgoroge, with Baby Cele, Bongani Mbatha, Mduduzi Nombela, Xolani ‘XD Black’ Dlamini and Bhekani Shabalala. Based on a script by the late Clinton Marius, there are performances on 3 and 4 December in the Loft Theatre.
Days of Culture Without Borders is a special concert produced for Russian online streaming TV, being performed to a live invited theatre audience on November 20. A collaboration between The Playhouse Company and the Department of Arts Culture, it is a celebration of local talent, directed by Aubrey Sekhabi and featuring Makhadzi, Sivuyile, Nonzame Traditional Dancers, Thee Legacy, the KZN Philharmonic and Mbuso Khoza
In between the signature productions, will be a programme of after work Sundowner Concerts and poetry interspersed with the ongoing Test Driving the Arts programmes which takes place weekly throughout the festive season. Sundowner performers include Martin Sigamoney; Melvin Peters; Afro Gong; Ha!Man; Lungani Gumede; Elias Sdumo Ngidi; George Mari; Malini; Afro Soul and some brilliant poets; and a geographically far reaching and extensive Community Arts Festival.
The Playhouse is fastidious about Covid protocols, and great thought and care has gone into ensuring all protocols are being observed. Obviously masks have to be worn at all times – in public foyers and for the duration of all performances. There is ample social distancing in all theatre auditoria with alternate rows remaining empty and seat allocations carefully spaced out. To minimise gathering of people, regrettably bars and coffee bars will not be operational.
“Every precaution has been taken to ensure that our Playhouse audiences to feel safe and comfortable at all times,” re-iterated Bukhosini.
“Our Christmas gift to you is to be reminded of the sheer beauty and joy of live theatre. We warmly invite you to come and spend your Christmas with us!” she said.
For more information, visit: https://playhousecompany.com/
Tickets for all productions, available at https://www.webtickets.co.za/