The new revitalised Young Performers Production:
Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre: 16 May – 2 June 2019
The newly-invigorated Young Performers Project is re-staging a reprise of its very first production, Curtain Up! at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on UKZN campus from 15 May until 2 June.
Curtain Up! has been re-written and updated by multi-award-winning actress Charon Williams-Ros who wrote the original script for the first production in 2001. The first Curtain Up! and many subsequent YPP productions were directed by the late Themi Venturas – an integral part of the YPP family over the years. This time it will be directed by multi-award-winning, Johannesburg-based actor, producer/director and choreographer, Jaco van Rensburg, a newcomer to YPP.
As always, YPP boasts a fully professional production and creative team. This year the two professional actors who will work together with the youthful cast will be Mthokozisi Zulu and Sbongiseni Shezi.
Curtain Up! will feature show-stopping musical theatre numbers woven into a script about a diverse group of talented young performers who take shelter from the rain in a derelict theatre where, to their delight, they discover the evocative remnants of past productions. Inspired by the idea of bringing the old theatre back to life, the performers appeal to the new owner, Siyanda, to re-open as a community theatre, only to learn that the theatre is to be knocked down to make way for a casino. The passion with which the young performers fight to save the theatre leads Siyanda to the realization of where his true values lie.
Some of the featured songs include numbers from The Wiz; Little Shop of Horrors; Cats; Cabaret; Fiddler on the Roof; Oliver!; Rent; Les Mis; Into the Woods and a medley of South African numbers.
Previous YPP projects have been: Curtain Up; One Voice; Grease; Oliver; Fiddler on the Roof; The Wiz; Annie; School of Rock SA; Big River; Hairspray; Seussical; Legally Blonde; Can You Feel It Footloose; Soldiers in the City; Buddy Holly; and Footloose (reprise).
In 2001, the project’s founder and current Production Manager, on behalf of the YPP trust, Linda van der Veen, had a dream to help talented youth get a taste of the world of musical theatre, and help them decide if this was a possible career choice for them. This project has been actively changing talented lives for over 18 years: “The Young Performers Project’s goal is to groom talented high school youth in the art of musical theatre, under the guidance of professional directors, musical directors, vocal director and choreographers, whilst promoting cross cultural friendships, strong interpersonal skills and developing a talent pool of young performers for the future of arts and culture in South Africa. Only through a personal experience in a professional environment can talented youth learn about commitment, disciple and achievement that will carry them through to adulthood with a sense of pride and accomplishment,” said Van der Veen, MD of production company, Snazzi Solutions.
The Young Performers Project has also been re-branded and revitalised with one of the key focus areas being about collaboration and working closely with all local schools and singing, drama; dancing academies. The Young Performers Project has partnered with eThekwini Transport Authority through the launch of three Road Safety Musical Theatre Academies this year: “Movement through the Performing Arts is another form of active mobility and we are thrilled to be adding the Road Safety Musical Theatre Academy to our CSI portfolio, alongside the Go! Durban Cycle Academy.” says Thami Manyathi, Head of the eThekwini Transport Authority.
Open auditions were held on 2 March and a cast of talented youngsters were handpicked. Rigorous rehearsals take place after school hours – on weekends and during holidays. The production will be staged at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on UKZN campus from 15 May – 2 June. Booking is through Computicket outlets at Shoprite Checkers, by phone on 0861 915 8000 or online at