At the most difficult time in recent memory for artists, musicians and theatre workers across the globe – with shows on Broadway, in London’s West End and at regional theatres everywhere shutting down overnight and left with very uncertain futures because of the current health pandemic – Joburg Theatre looks forward with great excitement to its annual tradition of the theatre’s Janice Honeyman written-and-directed pantomime opening for performances from October 30th this year.
“Although we are, of course, hoping to return to our regular programming at all our venues in the very near future,” says Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema, Chief Executive Officer of Joburg City Theatres, “it is both comforting and exciting to know that this most popular of all South African family shows will definitely be back on our boards in the festive season with the most acclaimed cast ever assembled for the panto.”
This year’s Cinderella features Desmond Dube (in his seventh Janice Honeyman panto) and Ben Voss as Cinderella’s two ugly stepsisters. Desmond and Ben were both nominated for Naledi Awards for their hilarious on-stage antics in 2018’s Snow White.
Best known for her long-running starring role as Mamokete Khuse in the etv soapie Rhythm City, famed South African actress Connie Chiume will make her panto debut this year as the Fairy Godmother. Hugely popular panto regular Bongi Mthombeni also returns to Cinderella, this time in the iconic role of Buttons.
Young and multi-talented Kiruna-Lind Devar gets to play the title role in the panto once again, following her personal triumph as Snow White two years ago and as her Prince Charming, the producers are thrilled to welcome SAMA and Ghoema Award-winning rock idol and stage heart-throb Kyle Grant, also making his panto debut. Multi-award winning film, TV and stage actor Graham Hopkins returns to pantoland to play the comedy role of Baron Horace Hard-Up.
“With its regular season of seventy-two performances, eighteen of which are sold-out each year to school learners having their very first experience of the magic of live theatre,” adds the show’s executive producer Bernard Jay, “we are all counting down the days to be back on the spectacular Nelson Mandela Theatre stage at Joburg Theatre and relishing in the enthusiastic screams from the kids in the audience.”
Janice Honeyman’s 2020 Cinderella will have an all-South African team of 21 performers, 5 musicians and over 30 technicians and stage crew. Musical direction is by Dale-Ray Scheepers, choreography by Nicol Sheraton, lighting design by Graham McLusky and sound design by Akhona Bozo. Once again, the over-the-top, jaw-dropping stage sets and special effects will be provided by Qdos, the world’s largest pantomime production company, together with the over-one-hundred stunningly beautiful costumes.
Tickets for Cinderella are on sale from R240 through www.joburgtheatre.com or by calling 0861 670 670. And the great news is, in these difficult and stressful times for the live entertainment industry in South Africa, over 20,000 tickets have already been sold!