How to get bums on seats
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