Creating a booming theatre culture


It has been an exceptional first decade for Montecasino’s Teatro with more than 3.8 million people attending shows ranging from concerts, ballets, musicals, operas, and international jazz to ice shows, to comedy shows, revues and more since it first opened its doors in June 2007.

The very first production was the highly-acclaimed production of Disney’s The Lion King. This iconic show ran for nine months and is still the longest running show in South African theatre history.

Bryan Hill, who has been at the helm of the Teatro as its general manager since the beginning said, “The Lion King was the perfect show to kick-start the theatre and I believe it contributed to the Teatro’s ongoing success.” He added that the Teatro is all about entertainment. “It’s not about heavy art. It’s about taking our minds off everyday worries and walking out of this theatre smiling.”

The decade has seen the Teatro play host to 145 productions, totalling 2 666 shows watched by 3 856 624 people, always staying steadfastly true to its original strategic decision to be a family entertainment venue with broad-based appeal. It has been part of the evolution of the theatre industry in South Africa, giving rise to new and undiscovered performing arts talent and providing a catalyst for growth in the industry.

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Hill noted that over the years three shows that always guaranteed full houses have been South Africa’s own Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela, and The Parlotones.

“One of the best things the Teatro has achieved over the years is that we have increased the size of the South African theatre-going audience,” said Hill.

“At many of our shows, we have had first-time theatre visitors who have often then come back again and again to subsequent shows. With the ongoing careful selection of our short-running and long-running productions, we will continue to draw people into the theatre – not just to the Teatro, but as they become comfortable with their theatre experience, to other theatres around the country.”


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Marnelle Greyling

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