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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

LETTER FROM STEVE SMIT (article first published : 2004-09-16)

Let me start off by saying that I miss Durban Theatre more than the beach, the sunshine, the laid-back atmosphere or the Golden (still dirty, dingy and dangerous) Mile.

I had the privilege of producing only one show in Durban under my company banner (Orange Events). The show, Crazed, teamed up two of the best performers in the country, in my opinion, Anthony Stonier and Stephan Marneweck. After seeing their previous show, Double Take, a gazillion times I did not hesitate when Stephan approached me to produce his solo show, with Anthony on piano.

The show had great reviews (in the week that the review appeared in the daily newspapers it got 8/10 - a very proud moment indeed) and I believe that Stephan got a great deal of mileage out of it having just returned from the UK. It was an absolute pleasure working with such professionals. What amazed me even more was the support that they had from their local theatre peers. Heather Barcklay-Whiffen is always a treat to have around, and her support was amazing - to mention but one of the familiar faces I saw at the Blue Zoo during the show's two week run.

But, I digress! The real reason for my writing is to say a big THANK YOU to everyone involved in theatre in Durban. I now live in Johannesburg and will eventually (hopefully) get back in touch with theatre here. I still believe that you have the best playwrites, actors, producers, promotors, publicists and entertainers in the country.

For fear of singling anyone out, I am going to! Thank you to Anthony Stonier, Sue Clarence, Peter Court, Greg King, Heather Barclay-Whiffen, Karen Van Pletsen, Evan Roberts, Melanie Roberts, Garth Anderson, David Gouldie, Mark Wilkens, Themi Venturas, Dean Roberts, Stephan Marneweck (we have him up here in Gauteng now for a while...), Thomie Holtshauzen, Claire Mortimer, Steven Stead, Roland Stansell, Donaugh Roberts (watch her... she is going to outshine!), the entire cast of Joseph (a production I was part of many years ago, as Joseph), Clinton Marius, Linda Vargas, Carol Trench, Lisa Bobbert, Aaron McIlroy, Karen Campell-Gillies (a favourite of mine), Kerry & Jan, and everyone else involved in the spirit of Durban Theatre.

A special thanks, however, must go to Anthony Stonier for his professionalism, advice and friendship along the way.

In Durban one does not have to rely on newspaper critics to rate a show - they are all good! In Johannesburg one has to plan the evening so well in advance and take note of what everyone has to say about the production. Long live Durban Theatre!

Love to all in Durban, Steve Smit. (Orange Events, e-mail: stevesmit@postmaster.co.uk)




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