BY BILLY SUTER
GOOD news for Barnyard Theatre fans still lamenting last year’s sad loss of the popular Gateway venue in Umhlanga – a new theatre with a similar concept is to open at Sibaya Casino, near Umhlanga, next month.
The old Krakatoa nightclub venue at the casino complex is being refurbished and given a facelift to become a 300-seater supper theatre called The Rockwood Theatre.
It will be owned and managed by Tom and Ann Muller, who also owned the Barnyard Theatre at Park View, Pretoria, which they recently relaunched as The Rockwood Theatre. They have employed Durban-born singer-musician Andrew Webster to devise and direct musical tribute shows.
Webster, seasoned star of musicals and many Barnyard Theatre touring productions, will also produce and direct shows for The Rockwood Theatre’s Durban branch, where the venue will operate Thursdays to Saturdays, with a Sunday matinee.
Tom Muller said in an interview that tickets will cost R150 on Friday and Saturday nights, with a special of two-seats-for-R200 every Thursday. Sunday matinee tickets will cost R120 a head, with pensioners paying half price and under-12s getting in free.
He added that light meals, including pizzas and platters, would be on sale at the new venue.
Good news is that the first show is a fun salute to power couples of rock, pop and folk. It’s titled Knowing Me, Knowing You and, having recently played to good houses in Pretoria, will feature a 10-member cast in Durban that will include popular locals Calli Thomson and Kirsty Madgin, says Tom.
The show will open on Friday, November 17.
“It will run until January 28 and we plan a special New Year’s Eve show,” adds Tom, whose Menlyn Park-based Barnyard Theatre was the second to open in the country, 15 years ago, before it moved to Park View in 2012.
Discussing the new casino venue, Tom says he is doing all he can to “de-Krakatoa it, for wont of a better way of putting it”.
He adds: “The Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya Casino will be more intimate, a supper theatre with its own feel and look. The venue is smaller than our theatre in Pretoria but the shows, with casts of 10 singers and musicians, will work just as well in a more streamlined space.”
Seating, he says, will be at counters and, on two other levels, around tables seating six, eight or 10 patrons.
“The venue is also available for corporate events and we are happy to assist schools, charities and organisations with fundraising – they buy tickets from us at a set price and sell them at a profit to raise finds.”
Booking for shows is by phoning 031 1610000. More information about the venue is available by visiting the website at www.rockwoodtheatre.co.za