Theatre – Stable Theatre gets a Welcome boost

2010-11-13 10:50

Welcome Msomi – playwright, ­producer, director, author and ­choreographer – is this year’s winner of the arts category of the Johnnie Walker Celebrating Strides Awards.

In tribute to the late Kessie ­Govender, the mentor of his early days as an actor in Durban, Msomi named the Stable Theatre as the recipient of the money prize ­attached to his award.

Kessie Govender founded the theatre in 1975, operating from ­various venues until he discovered and occupied an abandoned ­electrical depot near the Warwick Triangle in 1990.

Holding out against attempts to move him, he claimed squatters’ rights and won his case.

With support from the ­KwaZulu-Natal arts and culture ­department and the Durban municipality, Stable Theatre is undergoing a rigorous revitalisation programme to reclaim its active role on the city’s arts scene.

Now a considerable force in the communications sector, Msomi returned to Durban recently to hand over the money and was palpably moved at his reunion with old connections and colleagues.

“Meeting Jayashree, Shan and Kovilen (Kessie’s widow, brother and son) was such a joy and fulfilment of a wish to recognise in a small way the contribution that Kessie made to the development of talent in KZN,” Msomi said.

“It has taken more than 40 years for this reunion; to honour Kessie ...”

Msomi and Kessie Govender first met as young actors at the Shah Theatre Academy which was started by Ronnie Govender and Muthal Naidoo.

Previously he belonged to the Durban Academy of Theatre Arts, which included people like Fathima Meer, Devi Bughwan, Dennis Bughwan among others.

Also joining the Shah Theatre Academy were Babs Pillay, Kessie Govender, Guru Pillay and Stanley Mnyandu.

Molière’s A School for Wives, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, Clifford Odets’ Golden Boy and Govender’s Beyond Calvary were part of the repertoire.

Msomi then formed the iZulu Dance Theatre and Music, producing plays in isiZulu, starting with Nomhlangano Mntanami in 1965, followed by Qondeni and uMabatha in 1970.

The “Zulu Macbeth”, uMabatha, brought him international acclaim. He then established the iZulu Dance Theatre in New York where he wrote and produced numerous productions.

“Kessie went on to start his own productions,” Msomi remembers. “Whenever I was back from my travels I would make time to see the work that he was doing ... such as Stable Expense and Working Class Hero.

With his ­passion and strength, he succeeded against all odds.

“When I got to participate in the Johnnie Walker Celebrating Strides competition, I had no doubt that if I won, which theatrical organisation needed to benefit from the award.

The Stable Theatre was at the top of my list.

People like Kessie need to be celebrated.”

Msomi hasn’t produced any plays in KZN since the last performance of uMabatha at The Playhouse in 1997.

“During my years abroad, most of my productions have been in distant countries,” he explains. “Sadly, South Africa is a hard environment in which to find financial support for the arts.

Even though it’s a challenge to create plays in our country, we must never stop pursuing our vision and dreams.

“I plan to revive uMabatha,” he continues, “not only as a stage production but also as a movie.

KZN is the only province that can offer me such superb talent. I would also like to identify young talent interested in writing and directing stories of a New South Africa.”

» The Christmas season production is Nkanyezi – The Star on from December 10 to 19. Call 031 309 2513 or visit www.stabletheatre.co.za

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.