……BY BILLY SUTER.…..
THE Sibaya Casino near Umhlanga is soon to reopen its two theatres – the former Rockwood Theatre, now to be known as Sibaya Theatre, and the larger, kraal-shaped iZulu Theatre.
The casino announced today that the venues will now be managed by Dingalings Production Company, the team responsible over the years for many Durban screwball stage comedies. It comprises theatre practitioners Koobeshen Naidoo, Yugan Naidoo, Kumseela Naidoo and Henry Ramkissoon.
Henry, Koobeshen and Yugan were university pals and have gone on to produce more than 30 fringe productions on stage, radio and screen.
The Dingalings, featuring Kumseela as head of public relations and marketing, recently successfully participated in a public tender from the casino to manage the iZulu Theatre and Sibaya Theatre.
“The vision of the team is to ensure these venues become the entertainment venue of choice for all those in the province looking to be entertained,” said a Casino spokesman.
“Beyond entertainment, the group will shortly announce plans for the creation of ‘edutainment’ venues, where Durban’s corporates can be entertained and empowered by combining traditional corporate programmes with a dash of theatre to entertain, educate and empower.”
Kumseela Naidoo said that the award of the tender “was a reward to the group for the many years of giving back to the community”.
“The Dingalings are a much-loved brand and now, being the other side (of the stage), will demonstrate the group’s collective power and popularity, as they bring a wonderful mix of skills in arts, education and commerce. We believe these capabilities are the foundation for a successful future,” she added.
While the Dingalings will spend much time behind the scenes, the team will also continue to perform their comedy shows.
Koobeshen Naidoo said he was looking forward to transforming the space with a “livelier and more energising atmosphere”. He added: “With the decimating impact of Covid on many artists, I hope the venues will allow artists an opportunity to present their work and recoup from the years of having no work.”
The company is now consolidating an ensemble of performers, so actors, dancers and singers are being invited to create a one-minute video and send it, with a resume, to firstname.lastname@example.org
“Interested artists can email the same address to request an Expression of Interest form for application for use of the venue.
“The space is also ideal for corporates and teams, offering unique team-building interventions. Corporate conferencing packages are also available, with accommodation at the Sibaya Lodge and host of eateries providing a one-stop shop for all corporate needs.”