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Tuesday, May 17, 2022


Lovers of theatre are in for a treat as The Playhouse Company announces the programme for its annual New Stages Season which will run in the landmark city centre arts complex from May 11 to 28, 2022.

After a lockdown-induced dearth of regular quality live performance in Durban, the New Stages programme is a welcome fix for the city’s culturally deprived theatre lovers

“The New Stages Festival typically presents South African music, dance and drama productions that are creative, original and thought-provoking as well as providing exciting performance opportunities for the wide range of artists who get appear on our stages while contributing to the sustainability of the arts as an industry,” says Linda Bukhosini, Chief Executive Officer, and Artistic Director.

“In curating the festival each year, we are mindful of the brief we hold as an agency of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, to uphold our obligation with regard to contributing towards a healthy nation building ethic, and to follow principles that encourage social cohesion through the shows we present to our public.”

Shaka Zulu: The Gaping Wound
 The Playhouse Company in Association with The South African State Theatre present the flagship musical Shaka Zulu: The Gaping Wound, written by the late revered playwright Bongani Linda. Award-winning and renowned stage, film, and television Actor and Director Meshack Mavuso-Magabane is directing the epic theatre musical Shaka Zulu: The Gaping Wound, starring Thembinkosi Chagwe (as Shaka Zulu), Nkanyiso Bhengu (Dingane), Mduduzi Mabaso (Mshongweni) and many more.

 Shaka Zulu: The Gaping Wound tells the story of the world-renowned warrior king, uShaka ka Senzangakhona who was a visionary, a patriot, a prophet, a diplomat, a military strategist, a nationalist, and a nation-builder who wanted to establish one strong and inclusive nation in southern Africa. The story is told through the eyes of a praise singer, taking audiences on a journey of historical imagination to the glorious past and leading them back through exhilarating song, praise poetry and energetic Zulu dancing to a proudly and unapologetically Pan-African future that the ancestors envisaged. 

The thrilling musical production comprises a 40 star-studded cast, which is backed by an eight-piece band, in which award-winning musicians Simphiwe Skhakhane and Zakhele Mabena are musical directors. 

Shaka Zulu: The Gaping Wound will be on stage in the Playhouse Opera from May 25 to 28. Opening Night festivities will include a themed dress code of Traditional attires. Tickets will be at only R120. 

The Ugly Noo Noo
Two drama productions on show are: The Ugly Noo Noo, the fabulous socio-political comic satire, written and first performed by Andrew Buckland. It has been staged regularly for 35 years and is as topical and popular now as when it premiered in 1988.

This staging features Durban actor, Mpilo Straw Nzimande as the ambitious Parktown Prawn with political aspirations and is directed by Peter Mitchell. The Ugly Noo Noo is solo physical theatre at its most powerful, looking at the mythology of fear and how that fear compounds itself by robbing us of our ability to empathise and communicate. 

The Ugly Noo Noo will be staged in The Loft from May 11 to 15, tickets at R90 

Brutal Legacy 
The second drama production is Brutal Legacy – inspired by former television anchor and radio personality Tracy Going's memoir detailing how she grew up witnessing her mother suffer abuse at the hands of her violent, alcoholic father and later – in the glare of the national news spotlight – abuse she later experienced at the hands of a romantic partner. 

Searing, heart-breaking, triumphant, Brutal Legacy is for anyone who's survived through trauma and found the strength to stand up again. It is directed by award winning Lesedi Job, who heard Going being interviewed, bought a copy of her book, and teamed up with actress Natasha Sutherland, who wrote the script, to adapt it for the stage. 

Sutherland plays contemporary Tracy, alongside Jessica Wolhuter, playing the younger Tracy as she relives her story. Charlie Bougenon plays her boyfriend who evolves from being charming and flirtatious, to becoming a terrifying and vicious abuser. It combines succinctly in 75 min, the life story of the television and radio broadcaster. 

Brutal Legacy will be staged in The Playhouse Loft from May 19 to 22. 

Two dance-focused productions are on the bill: Musa Hlatshwayo's Udodana premiered at the 2018 National Arts Festival's main dance programme where Hlatshwayo was the Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner for Dance for 2018. Exploring issues of black masculinities, the work features Hlatshwayo himself and his company of 10 all-male multi-skilled ensemble who operate under the name Mhayise Productions. 

Udodana will be staged in the Grand Foyer from May 25 to 28, tickets at R90.

The second dance and puppetry focused production is Origins which tells the story of a young girl, Ezileh and her relationship with her father Monwabisi. The work follows the child’s development and her responses to the shifting and increasingly difficult relationship with her father.

In 2019, Origins was showcased in Moscow and reviews were exceptional. Directed by Janni Young and Choreographed by Nkanyiso Kunene. Origins will be staged from May 19 to 21 in the Drama Theatre, tickets at R90.

Gender Based Violence community conversation
The Playhouse is responding to the global focus on Gender Based Violence (GBV), with a community conversation taking place on May 25 at 12 noon. Featuring Gil Harper, a GBV Activist holds sessions on how to deal with the effects and trauma caused by Gender Based Violence. Clinical Psychologist Rumbidzai Chidzonga, Musawenkosi Tshabalala director of Silencing the Screams will be taking audiences on a journey of how the young leaners reacted to the production that toured KZN Schools earlier this year.

Friday Sundowner concerts 
Honouring Africa Month during the festival, there will be two free Friday Sundowner concerts in the Cellar. On Friday May 13 there will be an Afro-soul / jazz fusion blend with music by Acoustiq Assassins and Mazwakhe Gumede. On Friday May 20, there will be pure jazz in the spotlight with music by Milkway Galaxy Band and Nonzwakazi and Band. MC for both Sundowners will be Page Ngwenya. RSVP’s by Wednesday 16h00 of the week of the show.

Test Driving the Arts sessions 
There will also be two separate Test Driving the Arts sessions: on May 17 and 24. On May 17 will be maskandi group Amajalimane coupled with indlamu group, Kangaroo, presented by Milton Gcwensa. On May 24, there will be a dance-focused programme. Ofeleba performing in the ingoma yezinsizwa nezintombi tradition, accompanied by singers, typically a rite of passage Ikusasa Elihle presented by Bheki Mbili. RSVPs by Friday 16h00 before the week of the show. 

For further productions information, booking details and performance times about all New Stages Productions, visit or follow social media pages Facebook @The Playhouse Company Instagram @durbanplayhouse Twitter @durbanplayhouse Tickets for all productions, available at or call The Playhouse Company Box Office (031) 369 9540 (office hours).