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Saturday, August 12, 2023



(Above Natasha Sutherland as Shirley Valentine) 

The Playhouse Company celebrates Women’s Month with their South African Women’s Arts Festival (SAWAF). This “…curation of stage productions showcases established female arts practitioners in the fields of drama, music and dance, also giving a platform to their new generation peers.”

One such production is the one woman play Shirley Valentine directed by Gina Shmukler and performed by Natasha Sutherland in The Playhouse Drama Theatre.

Natasha Sutherland is able to keep her audience engaged through two acts, not only through her wonderful performance but because every woman can, in some way, relate to Shirley Valentine’s journey. Sutherland gifts her audience with an honest and emotional performance that tells the story of women everywhere who feel less deserving because they have lived ordinary lives and lost themselves along the way. Shirley Valentine shows us that we don’t have to do achieve extraordinary feats to be fabulous women and that we too can find our own “Christopher Columbus”.

Gina Shmukler’s direction, the minimalist set, and sound and lighting design are a perfect accompaniment. They are striking and memorable but never detract from the heart of the story which is in fact a … conversation with us, the audience who are seamlessly integrated into the set as the “wall” to whom Shirley chats with and shares her story.

I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to womanhood than theatre directed and played by women, and a tale that celebrates the unique journey of women finding their voice, even if they use it to chat with walls and rocks.

This initiative of The Playhouse Company must be commended for bringing women together to celebrate each other and our contributions to the arts and society. There is still one more performance of Shirley Valentine left (today August 12 at 14h30) as well as a host of other performances of poetry, music, and dance that will continue throughout August.

Tickets R120 booked through Webtickets.

Shirley Valentine takes place in the Playhouse Drama at the Playhouse Company, 231 Smith Street, Durban Central, Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal.

The South African Women’s Arts Festival is not to be missed! – Gemma Schumann