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Tuesday, October 5, 2021


(Above: Amanda Kunene, Lyle Buxton, Sam Landers & Tshepo Ncokoane)

CAB Festival brings new musical theatre to Durban

Durbanites can look forward to a stunning showcase of new musical theatre works which will be presented at Seabrooke’s Theatre from October 15 to 24, 2021.

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, Dr 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 Mahomed.

The showcase is directed by respected Durban-based theatre-maker Steven Stead, of KickstArt fame, who is not unfamiliar with the development of new works. He says: "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 and 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 shows 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 the 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 the development of the genre locally.

More information about the composers can be found at:

The showcase will run from October 15 to 24, 2021, at Seabrooke’s Theatre on selected days, with evening performances at 19h00 and on Sundays at 11h00. All COVID 19 protocols will be observed.

Tickets R100 with a two-for-one concession available to students. Preview night tickets (October 15 cost R70). Bookings can be made at: