School of Arts

UKZN’s Cabaret and Beyond Festival Brings New Musical Theatre to Durban

The Cabaret and Beyond Festival cast (from left) Amanda Kunene, Lyle Buxton, Sam Landers and Tshepo Kcokoane.
The Cabaret and Beyond Festival cast (from left) Amanda Kunene, Lyle Buxton, Sam Landers and Tshepo Kcokoane.

A stunning showcase of new musical theatre works is being presented at Durban’s Seabrooke Theatre from 15 – 24 October.

Featuring 20 new songs from 21 local composers, the Cabaret and Beyond (CAB) Festival is the culmination of a three-month writing collective facilitated by UKZN music lecturer Dr Roland Perold at the behest of the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) in the College of Humanities.

CCA Director Dr Ismail Mahomed says CAB adds live music theatre to its line-up of festivals. ‘By adding this 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,’ said Mahomed.

The showcase is directed by respected Durban-based director Steven Stead of KickstArt fame. ‘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,’ said Stead.

A talented cast of four – Amanda Kunene, Sam Landers, Tshepo Kcokoane and Lyle Buxton – will be guided through the new material by musical director and show pianist Wessel Odendaal. Design is entrusted to the talented Karabo Legoabe Mtshali, recently recognised in the Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans 2021 to watch out for.

Composers hail from across South Africa with participants from Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) where a partnership with the Mandela Bay Theatre Complex sees two full-length one-act musicals being premiered in that city in March next year.

During the CAB Festival, two composers (or writing teams) whose work shows promise for future development, will be identified and receive grants to develop their ideas into a project to be created in conjunction with the CCA.

CAB 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 will be 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 is available at:

Evening performances start at 7pm and on Sundays at 11am. COVID 19 protocols will be observed.

Tickets cost R100 with a two-for-one concession available for students. (Preview night tickets -15 October – cost R70).

Bookings can be made through:

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