BY BILLY SUTER
DURBAN-BORN theatre personality Andrew Webster has been appointed to produce and direct new musical tribute shows at a new entertainment venue in Pretoria.
The Rockwood Theatre will replace the Barnyard Theatre at the Parkview shopping centre, on the corner of Garsfontein Road and Netcare Street, from June 1.
“We are excited to announce that The Barnyard Theatre in Pretoria will be changing its name to the Rockwood Theatre and producing its own shows from June 1, the first being A Beautiful Noise – a tribute to country, folk and Acoustic rock,” says Tom Muller, owner of the new venue with his wife, Ann.
The show, scheduled to run until July 30 and featuring hits by Dolly Parton, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Neil Diamond, Shania Twain and Kid Rock, among others, will feature The Voice South Africa contestant Vernon Barnard, as well as Kieran Renny, Nadine Sisam, Stephan Nel, Candice Kennedy and a band.
“The Barnyard Theatre concept introduced this type of entertainment and experience to Pretoria, for which we will always be grateful, but as with most businesses, we felt we needed to make some changes,” says Muller.
“After 15 years’ experience, we know what the Pretoria market enjoys in a show and we plan to incorporate this knowledge into the shows that the Rockwood Theatre stages.”
Muller says the focus will be on shows offering “a family experience, and outing where you feel comfortable to bring your children”.
Plans are to move the popular buy-one-get-one-free evening to a Thursday, although Sunday specials will remain.
“On Friday and Saturday evenings, the foyer area will transform into a dance area with its own DJ for all those who want the party to carry on.”
The plan was to also make the venue more versatile and flexible in its offerings outside of the normal shows, “ uch as staging outside artists and bands on a Wednesday evening, not the usual Monday evening”.
“Our new shows will be produced and directed by Andrew Webster, who brings a wealth of experience, spanning 25 years, from musical theatre to TV to film. He has also been part of a number of Barnyard Theatre shows over the past 15 years,” says Muller.
“Ann and I are extremely excited about Andrew joining our team and are convinced that with the Rockwood Theatre’s independence, new focus, show schedule, the new look and feel (we even have a VIP section), we can offer our loyal patrons the shows and service we know they will enjoy.”
Note that all bookings for Barnyard Theatre shows until May 28 will not be affected in any way. All bookings beyond May 28, for the Rockwood Theatre, will be on a new booking system.
“All loyalty points (Barnyard Bucks), credit notes and gift vouchers will also be carried over into our new system on June 1,” explains Muller.
From August 23 to October 1, The Rockwood Theatre will present Knowing Me, Knowing You, a tribute to power couples of rock, pop and folk – so expect hits associated with the likes of Abba, Mango Groove, Blondie, Thompson Twins, Fleetwood Mac, Ike and Tina Turner, and Mamas and the Papas, among others.
For more information about the Rockwood Theatre visit their website at www.rockwoodtheatre.co.za or phone (012) 368 1555.