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Monday, December 16, 2013


(Bryan Hill, General Manager of the Teatro in front of the theatre back in 2006 when it was being built just before it opened the following year)

Occasionally, artSMart is able to review productions at the splendid Teatro at Montecasino, encouraging KZN theatregoers to make the worthwhile journey to Johannesburg to enjoy a splendid experience of musical theatre.

Setting its standards ever higher, year after year since its opening in 2007, the Teatro has had an extraordinary 2013 and is looking forward to an even better year in 2014. The venue recently won the Leisure Options Best of Jozi Readers Choice Award for Best Theatre for the third year running.

Bryan Hill, General Manager of the Teatro, cut his “theatre teeth” at the Playhouse in Durban in his younger days, working as assistant director alongside musical theatre legend, Geoffrey Sutherland, in many productions, particularly the ground-breaking Trilogy and the smash-hit Queen at the Opera.

He is immensely proud of the Teatro, of what it is contributing to Montecasino as a whole, and of the strong and positive influence it is having on the theatrical production scene in South Africa.

“Over the years we have achieved an average 85 percent occupancy at the Teatro – which is extremely good and a figure we were pleased with – however, this year it has increased by at least five percent, which is immensely encouraging and suggests our choice of shows and their production is more than meeting audiences’ expectations,” says Hill.

“Six or seven years ago it didn’t seem feasible to many people that we could build an audience for a theatre in the suburbs of the city of Johannesburg – but Tsogo Sun saw a gap in the market, and after they invested over R100 million in building the Teatro at Montecasino, it has turned out to be an extremely wise move on their part, adding a whole new dimension to the vibrancy and experience of the complex as a whole.”

Among the shows in 2013 were the dynamic and highly successful Jersey Boys, the true life story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, followed by the St Petersburg Ballet’s full-length four act classic production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, John Cleese Live and Trevor Noah’s It’s My Culture, the latter seen by over 38,000 patrons.

From the Jersey Boys through to October this year, over 200,000 people have attended performances at the Teatro.

Hill points out that every production must be a hit as “you’re only as good as your last show” and word of mouth is one of the most powerful mediums attracting audiences to the Teatro. He adds that the Teatro team works hard to build relationships with producers and international companies to ensure that the Teatro is considered a viable venue when tours and productions are planned. “We are extremely proud of our strong partnerships with producers Pieter Toerien and Hazel Feldman, who are integral when it comes to the sourcing, planning and production of some of our best shows.”

One of the top shows next year will be the fast paced, dramatic and brilliant Cirque Éloize iD, which Hazel Feldman describes as “ a kind of Tap Dogs on steroids”. Earlier in the year is the evergreen Broadway musical, The Sound of Music, which will appeal to all members of the family.

“We have to constantly raise the bar higher to maintain the standards we have set for ourselves,” says Hill. “We love to bring events to South African audiences that they may have never seen before – but that also has a tremendous appeal. And so far, our recipe has been successful.”

Currently running at Montecasino in the Teatro is The Imperial Ice Stars' Sleeping Beauty on Ice and in the Pieter Toerien Theatre, there's Blood Brothers which is directed by David Kramer who adapted Willy Russell’s production for South African stages.

For full details on the Teatro at Montecasino, the upcoming shows and all the other entertainment options, visit, join on Facebook at, or follow on Twitter at @MontecasinoZA