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Saturday, March 25, 2023


(Above: Andrew Botha’s stage design for “Cinderella”)

William Charlton-Perkins writes a regular feature for the media titled Classical Notes.

This one is titled: Andrew Botha - SA theatre maker extraordinaire


Making one’s way through life, some friendships, forged in one’s twenties or thirties, resurface as vibrant and alive as ever - despite being untended for stretches of time. Others simply evaporate.

I first met Andrew Botha in the mid-1980s when I started work as a theatre publicist. Although some years his senior, I entered the industry a decade after Andrew made his professional debut. The latter event followed his entry into the world of Ballet as a teenager at the Johannesburg School of Music, Ballet & Art. There he was engaged by South African ballet doyenne, Bernice Lloyd, then a teacher at the institution, to design the décor for one of her school productions.

(Right: Andrew Botha)

The 23-year-old Andrew began professional life with the legendary Brickhill-Burke company on their production of Hello Dolly at His Majesties Theatre in Johannesburg. And so, the man entered the portals of big league South African theatre.

Today Andrew Botha is one of our most prolific theatre-makers. The multi award-winning creative’s work has brought distinction to countless performing arts institutions, both at home and abroad. He is driven by an insatiable desire to explore new horizons, leading him to direct, as well as design, major projects such as Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte in Russia and Holland.

Specializing in large scale production, Botha’s artistic spectrum embraces Opera, Ballet, Musicals, Plays, Television Specials, Cruise Entertainments, Events, Animation, and Projection/Video Designs. These credentials have made the ‘Botha Brand’ a by-word in South African theatre circles, attracting commissions from virtually every production house in this country, as well as engagements in France, Greece, South Korea, Australia, China, The Philippines, Malaysia - as well Russia and Holland, as noted above.

My shared experiences include unforgettable productions of Puccini’s Tosca, Bellini’s I Puritani, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, two Playhouse productions of Lerner & Louwe’s My Fair Lady - and the launch of the legendary Queen at The Opera in Durban. Andrew Botha’s irreverence and zest add spice, both to his personal relationships, and to his incomparable standard of work. These traits have won the affection and admiration of generations of peers. And the gratitude of theatregoers in their thousands, who have been transported by his creative flights.

Andrew Botha’s latest collaboration is with Mzansi Ballet, for The Gold Rhino of Mapungubwe. According to a spokesperson for the production, the ballet’s stagecraft promises to captivate audiences as it highlights the connection of the mythical world, the ancient world and modern society. The World Première takes place on 26 April, 2023, at the State Theatre in Pretoria. The production runs from 26 to 30 April 2023. Tickets are available from Webtickets. – William Charlton-Perkins


*On a personal note, Andrew has an extensive range of colour transparencies. He would like to have these converted into digital format, with a view to starting a resource archive for future generations to access. Any sponsors who may be interested in engaging with Andrew in carrying out this project are asked to Facebook message him. Or contact him at +27829037651 /