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Latoya Newman

THEY’VE become renowned for bringing some of the best of Broadway and West End productions to the Durban stage as well as their annual festive family shows, including this year’s family panto, Jack and the Beanstalk, which has just wrapped up in Durban. Last year was a greatly successful one for KickstArt Theatre Productions – including touring more of their productions across the country. Tonight caught up with executive director Steven Stead (pictured) to find out about their reflections on the year that’s gone and highlights of what’s to come this year.

Stead said some of the absolute highlights of the year included their successful tours to Joburg and Cape Town.

“Definitely seeing our production of the smouldering Venus in Fur doing so well and getting such great reviews in Joburg and Cape Town… Also, the great ensemble acting and experience of producing the South African premiere of The Ladykillers.

“It was a fun, satisfying, joyful experience with a group of fabulous people.”

Looking ahead to this year, Stead said further tours were already on the cards.

Ladykillers is set to tour to Joburg and Cape Town in February with a completely new Gauteng cast, and we are hopefully presenting Spamalot in Durban, then in Joburg and Cape Town later in the year. We are also busy negotiating a short tour of Jack and the Beanstalk to Abu Dhabi just after closing it here in Durban.

“What I love most about touring our productions is seeing our Durban artists impressing the sophisticated and theatre literate audiences of bigger, more cosmopolitan cities,” he said.

We asked Stead about plans to tour their popular family pantomimes and musicals to other parts of the country.

“Joburg already has a very strong pantomime tradition established by Janice Honeyman at the Joburg Civic Theatre, but we are currently beginning negotiations with the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town to produce our more compact pantos like Snow White, Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk there over the July holidays in years to come.”

Commenting on what they have in store for Durban this year, Stead said they had their hands full.

“We are producing the fabulous feel-good musical Annie in May/June, and the hilarious Monty Python musical Spamalot in August.

“And for Christmas we are doing a revamped, redesigned production of Aladdin, starring exciting newcomer, Nathan Kruger.”

According to their website, the KickstArt company was formed in 2000 by artistic director Greg King, who was joined by Steven Stead as executive director in 2003.

Together they successfully ran the intimate Kwasuka Theatre for three years, and have moved on to collaborations with larger theatres such as the Playhouse, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town, and the Auto & General Theatre on the Square in Johannesburg.

KickstArt won three Fleur du Cap Awards in Cape Town in March last year for its production of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s Broadway hit, Cabaret. The awards they won included two by Durban actors Charon Williams-Ros and Peter Court for their performances in the show.

l You can keep tabs on what KickstArt is up to at