How to get bums on seats

CityPress - - Trending - GAR­RETH VAN NIEK­ERK gar­reth­van­niek­erk@city­press.co.za

No, South African the­atre didn’t die in 2015 – de­spite the usual prophecies. If any­thing, things are look­ing up for 2016 as the­atres strate­gise to get bums on seats.

A lot is ex­pected from the new team at the State The­atre in Pre­to­ria, which just signed Dr Si­bongiseni Mkhize as CEO. Mkhize is a for­mer di­rec­tor of cul­tural af­fairs at the Gaut­eng depart­ment of sport, arts, cul­ture and recre­ation, and CEO of the Robben Is­land Mu­seum. He is joined by for­mer CEO of The Joburg The­atre Com­plex Bernard Jay, who is widely cred­ited with turn­ing around the for­merly fi­nan­cially trou­bled institution.

Ex­pect big ti­tles such as Burn the Floor, Satur­day Night Fever, Mem­phis, The Great­est Love of All – The Whit­ney Hous­ton Show and The Color Pur­ple.

Artscape in Cape Town has made history by ap­point­ing its first black chair­per­son in 45 years – Mar­lene le Roux.

Mean­while, Warona Seane has, in a sur­pris­ing move, left her po­si­tion as artis­tic di­rec­tor of the Soweto The­atre with­out ex­pla­na­tion, so we’ll be watch­ing to see who’ll re­place her.

The Teatro at Mon­te­casino will open the year with a six-week run of big-bud­get mu­si­cal Singing in the Rain.

The Mar­ket the­atre will show Neil Cop­pen’s allfe­male An­i­mal Farm in the mid­dle of the year – one of our favourite pro­duc­tions of 2015.

Reg­u­lars such as the Johannesburg In­ter­na­tional Mozart Fes­ti­val and Dance Um­brella have re­cently re­leased their pro­grammes, which look great.

Un­for­tu­nately, things at Joburg Bal­let look like they’ll re­main rud­der­less un­til man­age­ment makes a de­ci­sion about its fu­ture af­ter CEO Dirk Baden­horst walked out un­der a cloud. The com­pany will be open­ing the year with Giselle.

POWER PLAY The all-fe­male cast of Neil Cop­pen’s An­i­mal Farm will be back to de­light au­di­ences this year

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