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Saturday, May 22, 2021


(This photograph by Val Adamson was taken on the opening night of Kickstart’s “Cinderella”, 2008, which Steven Stead had adapted from John Moss’ original script. “John had died that year,” says Greg, “so we dedicated the show to his memory, and invited Jill Fenson (his wife) back to South Africa for the premiere, and staged a brief reunion of ex-Playhouse friends and colleagues.” Greg and Steven are sitting in the centre of the front row and Mike Jackson is standing in the second row in a light blue shirt above Steven’s head.)

Well-known Durban director and props maker Greg King pays tribute to the late Mike Jackson:

I met Mike Jackson in 1994, when he was the Workshop Manager of NAPAC (now the Playhouse Company) towards the end of its glory days, and I was a young, wide-eyed wannabe actor, hungry to learn, and desperate to be a part of a fast-fading era.

Mike had previously been Head of the Props Department, and knew the workshop thoroughly, with all its fascinating stories, theatrical secrets and treasures. What a joy it was to walk about that cave of wonders at every opportunity, with Mike as my personal tour guide. Always willing to share his wealth of knowledge about all things theatrical, and me with an insatiable curiosity and passion for it all, we became good friends.

Retirement certainly didn’t slow Mike down, and he continued to create sets, props, theatre curtains and more for every school and ballet studio in and around KZN. By the time I started our own theatre company, KickstArt, Mike was the “go-to guy” for anything we required, from deadly real-looking machine guns to plush velvet theatre tabs which could swish open with a flourish! And whatever show we put on in the last 20 years, Mike and his dear wife Julie were always among the first to book their tickets.

A talented and generous man of the theatre, Mike will be greatly missed and fondly remembered as a master craftsman, a great supporter of the performing Arts, and for me, an invaluable conduit to a by-gone era from whom I have learned so very much about my work and greatest passion, the theatre. - Greg King