THE ANNUAL JOBURG THEATRE PANTOMIME:
A PLATFORM FOR UP-AND-COMING INDUSTRY PERFORMERS

For thirty-two years, acclaimed writer and director Janice Honeyman has brought her beloved tradition of festive season pantomimes to Joburg.

One of the many benefits that arise from such a popular tradition is that the pantomime production itself is able to offer lengthy (for South Africa) performance contracts to youngsters ready to take their first professional steps into a stage career.

“Each year I love watching the exchange of energies in the rehearsal room between the newcomers and the panto regulars,” says Janice Honeyman. “We all learn from each other and that’s very healthy for our industry”.

The six newcomers who a year ago signed contracts to appear in Jack and the Beanstalk are Dezlenne Ulster-Weale (Oakfields), Justin Swartz (Oakfields), Arno Meyer (Oakfields), James McPhail (Oakfields), Katlego Nche (Tshwane University of Technology) and Olivia Cloud (Stageworx).

Says Jackie Rens, HOD: Faculty of Dance and Musical Theatre at Oakfields College: “This year’s pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk boast no less than six Oakfields College musical theatre graduates in the cast, some of whom received their very first professional contracts through this production while they were still completing their final year of training. Having professional work lined up before even graduating is a big deal to these young performers who are on the cusp of launching their careers. Our sincere thanks to Janice Honeyman, her executive producer Bernard Jay and the rest of the panto team who have always been supportive of up-and-coming talents and eager to cast fresh, new faces.”

All three institutions from which the newcomers to panto have graduated are thrilled about the casting news. “There is nothing more exciting than to see the name of a TUT MT alumni appearing on the press release of the pantomime, creating the extraordinary opportunity for newcomers to shine and learn from top professionals in the industry,” remarks Dr Rostislava Pashkevitch, HOD of Performing Arts at Tshwane University of Technology.

Janice Honeyman’s Jack and the Beanstalk, which was last staged in 2012, tells the story of poor country boy Jack, the family cow, the good fairy, the magic beans, the enormous beanstalk, the unfriendly giant, his evil henchman and the enchanted hen that lays the golden eggs. Of course, as in all pantomimes, good triumphs over evil.

This year the popular ‘big names’ in the show include Casper de Vries (CasperRasperShow), Lelo Ramasimong (Shug Avery in The Color Purple, The Voice SA), Zolani Shangase (The Lion King in the West End), Germandt Geldenhuys (Louis in Binnelanders) and Neo Motaung (Sofia in The Color Purple, The Lion King in Europe).

And there will be an awesome surprise appearance on stage at each performance by The Revenger himself. Watch this space for his own personal announcement from his home in the USA!

The 2019 pantomime is written and directed by Janice Honeyman, with choreography by Nicol Sheraton, musical direction by Dale-Ray Scheepers, lighting design by Graham McLusky and sound design by Akhona Bozo. Once again, the show’s spectacular sets and costumes will be provided by the world’s leading pantomime producers, Qdos.

Jack and the Beanstalk is presented by Joburg Theatre and Bernard Jay, in association with MNET, 94.2 Jacaranda FM, Your Family magazine and the Mail & Guardian. It will be on The Mandela stage at Joburg Theatre from October 30th to December 22nd 2019. Tickets are now on sale from R225, with fantastic group discounts available. Call 0861 670 670 or visit www.joburgtheatre.com

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