CAB Festival brings new musical theatre to Durban

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Durbanites can look forward to a stunning showcase of new musical theatre works which are being presented at Seabrooke’s Theatre from 15 – 24 October. Featuring 20 new songs, from 21 local theatre composers, the “Cabaret and Beyond” Festival is the culmination of a three month writing collective facilitated by Roland Perold, at the behest of the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Director of the CCA, Ismail Mahomed, saw this as the perfect venture that would allow the organisation to add a live music theatre event to its bouquet of festivals.

“By adding this new festival to our already successful bouquet of festivals we want to play a role in rekindling a cultural economy that has been seriously affected by the national lockdowns. Musical theatre straddles easily between entertainment and social commentary. It can be both playful and relevant” says Mr Mahomed.

The showcase is directed by respected Durban based theatre maker Steven Stead, of KickstArt fame, who is not unfamiliar with development of new works. “As a director, especially of musical theatre, it is very rare to get to work on material that is entirely new and original. It is tremendously exciting to be discovering and helping to develop new work and new South African composers! There is so much diversity of style in this programme, such range of expression. And some really fabulous music!”

A talented cast of four comprising Amanda Kunene, Sam Landers, Tshepo Ncokoane and Lyle Buxton will be guided through the new material by musical director & show pianist Wessel Odendaal, while design is in the talented hands of Karabo Legoabe Mtshali, recently recognised in the “Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans 2021” to watch out for.

Composers for this project hail from across South Africa with participants from Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Gqeberha where a partnership with the Mandela Bay Theatre Complex sees two full length one act musicals being premiered in that city in March 2022. At the showcase in October two composers (or writing teams) whose work show promise for future development will be identified and will receive grants to develop their ideas into a project that will be realised in conjunction with the CCA.

The audience is invited to what will be an exciting evening of original theatrical songs; each telling their own story. CAB Festival is an initiative that seeks to showcase excellence in new music theatre writing and provide a first outlet for these works. As the composers nurture their material the audience is encouraged to engage, reflect, laugh, cry and become part of the burgeoning landscape for development of the genre locally. More information about the composers can be found at: https://www.cabfestival.com/the-creatives/

The showcase will run from 15 – 24 October at Seabrooke’s Theatre on selected days, with evening performances at 19:00 and on Sundays at 11:00. All COVID 19 protocols will be observed. Tickets cost R100 with a two for one concession available to students. Preview night tickets (15 October) cost R70. Bookings can be made at: https://www.webtickets.co.za/v2/Event.aspx?itemid=1508544749  

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