It’s show time at the Rhumbelow

Theatre owner Roland Stansell wears the branded masks, caps and visors for his Rhumbelow Theatre. Picture: Supplied

Theatre owner Roland Stansell wears the branded masks, caps and visors for his Rhumbelow Theatre. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 29, 2020


Durban - The city’s Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo is re-opening next weekend.

Shows will be limited to 50 patrons and, to reassure people of their safety, a special sanitising machine has been bought to deep clean the theatre before and after each performance.

The opening show, from September 4 to 6, will be Durban singer, pianist and keyboard artist Calli Thomson in a one-woman review titled Kitten on the Keys.

The weekend of September  11-13 features Johannesburg-based magician Brendon Peel, while from September 18-20 you can catch perennial Durban favourites The Gee Jays in Unlocked.

Grant Bell, Marion Loudon and John Didlick star in a show that will allow you to break the shackles and have some fun after 150 days of lockdown, running out of booze and ciggies, missing friends and family, dealing with fake news, corruption, and coming to terms with the “new normal”. The group is known for its song parodies, tongue in cheek humour and tight harmonies.

The Friday and Saturday shows will now start at 7pm so people can get home before the curfew, while Sunday shows remain at 2pm. The Rhumbelow bar will be open as normal and the theatre will still be open 90 minutes before to allow patrons to bring their own picnic.

Theatre owner Roland Stansell said all shows have to be booked in advance.

“We are still limited to 50 patrons (normal capacity 150) and will obviously seat co-habiting partners together,” he said. “All Covid-19 protocols will be followed. There will be a few forms that you will need to complete when attending a show, but this will not impact your enjoyment,” he said.

Stansell said they were keeping ticket prices the same as they were before lockdown. “But we do ask that if you are in a position to donate a larger amount, it will help us keep the theatre afloat with all the Covid-19 protocols that we have implemented.”

The theatre is also offering branded masks, caps and visors to help ensure the show goes on. The sets retail for R200 and come in different sizes.

Stansell will work on opening the other Rhumbelow Theatre venues at Northlands, Pietermaritzburg, and the Grand Exotic in Salt Rock once the Umbilo operation is up and running. However, the venue at Tina’s in Kloof is not suitable for social distancing and will only reopen once restrictions have been lifted.

The Rhumbelow LOSS Series (lockdown online streaming shows) which helped keep the theatre alive during lockdown is still operational with more than 100 shows available.

To book, contact Stansell on 082 499 8636, or [email protected] or see

Durban’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre is still closed, as is the Barnyard Theatre at Suncoast and the Izulu theatre at Sibaya.

The Playhouse Company, while still closed, is offering a series of pre-recorded shows including I Dream a River starring Gina Mhlophe and Izintombi Zetheku. See for details.

The Independent on Saturday