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Thursday, April 25, 2019


(Charon Williams-Ros)

The newly-invigorated Young Performers Project is re-staging a reprise of its very first production, Curtain Up! at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on UKZN campus from May 15 until June 2, 2019.

Curtain Up! has been re-written and updated by multi-award-winning actress Charon Williams-Ros who wrote the original script for the first production in 2001.

The first Curtain Up! and many subsequent YPP productions were directed by the late Themi Venturas - an integral part of the YPP family over the years. This time, it will be directed by multi-award-winning, Johannesburg-based actor, producer/director and choreographer, Jaco van Rensburg, a newcomer to YPP.

As always, YPP boasts a fully professional production and creative team. This year, the two professional actors who will work together with the youthful cast will be Mthokozisi Zulu and Sbongiseni Shezi.

Curtain Up! will feature show-stopping musical theatre numbers woven into a script about a diverse group of talented young performers who take shelter from the rain in a derelict theatre where, to their delight, they discover the evocative remnants of past productions.

Inspired by the idea of bringing the old theatre back to life, the performers appeal to the new owner, Siyanda, to re-open as a community theatre, only to learn that the theatre is to be knocked down to make way for a casino. The passion with which the young performers fight to save the theatre leads Siyanda to the realization of where his true values lie.

Some of the featured songs include numbers from The Wiz; Little Shop of Horrors; Cats; Cabaret; Fiddler on the Roof; Oliver!; Rent; Les Misérables; Into the Woods and a medley of South African numbers.

In 2001, the Young Performers Project’s founder and current Production Manager, on behalf of the YPP trust, Linda van der Veen, had a dream to help talented youth get a taste of the world of musical theatre, and help them decide if this was a possible career choice for them. This project has been actively changing talented lives for over 18 years:

“The Young Performers Project’s goal is to groom talented high school youth in the art of musical theatre, under the guidance of professional directors, musical directors, vocal director and choreographers, whilst promoting cross cultural friendships, strong interpersonal skills and developing a talent pool of young performers for the future of arts and culture in South Africa. Only through a personal experience in a professional environment can talented youth learn about commitment, disciple and achievement that will carry them through to adulthood with a sense of pride and accomplishment,” said Van der Veen, MD of production company, Snazzi Solutions.

Curtain Up! will be staged at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on UKZN campus from May 15 to June. Booking is through Computicket outlets at Shoprite Checkers, by phone on 0861 915 8000 or online at