GETTING into a festive mood at the Playhouse are, from left, Charl van der Merwe, Georgina Mabbett-Kelly, Melvin Peters, Baby Cele, Belinda Henwood and Tshepo Ntswelengwe. Picture: Val Adamson
GETTING into a festive mood at the Playhouse are, from left, Charl van der Merwe, Georgina Mabbett-Kelly, Melvin Peters, Baby Cele, Belinda Henwood and Tshepo Ntswelengwe. Picture: Val Adamson

Stage lights lit for Christmas line-up

By Tanya Waterworth Time of article published Nov 27, 2021

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IT’S going to be a feast of fun for theatregoers this festive season as a bumper line-up of productions at The Playhouse Theatre promises an outing for everyone.

There is isiZulu comedy Bigly Yuge which will see audiences taken along for a jolly mash-up of life in the large lane; The Nutcracker, Joburg Ballet’s beautiful stage production with live accompaniment by the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, and of course, the ever popular panto ‒ this year, Kickstart’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

The Playhouse Company CEO Linda Bukhosini told the Independent on Saturday that the organisation was also producing Days of Culture Without Borders, a special concert for Russian online streaming TV, which was filmed in front of a live theatre audience.

“With this production we will be exporting our traditional dance and music. We have our own version of Tchaikovsky and Baryshnikov,” said Bukhosini.

“We have produced a range of glorious productions reflecting our rich and diverse cultural heritage to celebrate a well-earned Christmas holiday.

“Audiences can expect a soul-nourishing, affirming upbeat artistic line-up of productions,” she said.

With stages around the globe sweeping off the dust, turning the spotlights back on and the sound of music once again filling auditoriums, Bukhosini said there had already been an “enormous uptake” as audiences were keen to get back into theatres to watch live performances.

“The live performing arts have that human touch, the nuances of the hand clap or a sigh from the audience in response to the performer. It’s a part of human experience and it’s palpable,” she said.

Kicking this off on December 3 and 4 at the Loft Theatre will be Bigly Yuge with some good, bad, but largely hilarious stories on what life is like at the heavier end of the scale. Featuring Baby Cele, Bongani Mbatha, Mduduzi Nombela, Xolani “XD Black” Dlamini and Bhekani Shabalala, it is mostly in isiZulu and combines comedy, drama, song and dance.

Then on December 18 and 19, Joburg Ballet will present The Nutcracker, one of the world’s most beloved fairy tales transformed into a Christmas ballet accompanied by the KZN Philharmonic, under the baton of Lykele Temmingh.

Also starting on December 18 and running until December 30 is Kickstart’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, filled with “magic colour and laughter with some gorgeous sets and costumes”. It’s all about a lovely princess and her adventures with seven dwarfs, while her evil stepmother plots and plans.

THE Playhouse Company CEO Linda Bukhosini says there’s nothing like the energy between performers and their audiences. Picture: Val Adamson

Bukhosini said the Playhouse Theatre has also been busy with “community conversations” ‒ going out to communities to address challenges faced, such as social cohesion, bullying in schools and gender-based violence.

“We’ve had some of our actors sit in on community conversations and listen to real-life experiences, some of which have never been spoken about before, and this platform was a safe space for community members to speak,” she said, adding that actors would absorb these stories and tour schools next year to address challenges which had been raised in an age-appropriate manner.

“We have not been able to go to schools because of the pandemic and we are hoping that, with herd immunity and the vaccination programme, this will change in the coming year,” said Bukhosini.

She also emphasised that strict Covid protocols would apply to each production at the Playhouse Theatre over the holiday season, which will also be hosting free Sundowner Concerts and poetry sessions.

For more information, go to playhousecompany.com

For tickets for all productions, go to www.webtickets.co.za

The Independent on Saturday

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