Dolphins by Starlight – uShaka
Written, Co-Directed and Choreographed by Durban Actors Studio
That’s Show Business - Seabrookes Theatre - November 2016
Written, Directed and Choreographed by Durban Actors Studio
The Monster Ball – uShaka - October 2016
Written, Directed and Choreographed by Durban Actors Studio
Macbeth – Playhouse - September 2016
Directed by Durban Actors Studio
Midsummer Nights Dream – Playhouse - September 2016
Directed by Durban Actors Studio
Merchant of Venice, Playhouse & Hilton Arts Festival
Our 2015 production is an abridged and modern performance of the Shakespeare play “Merchant of Venice”. The abridged version of the classic play was written by Tom Stoppard and has been enjoyed by our teenage cast. The play was staged at the Playhouse on 4th & 5th September and Hilton Arts Festival on the 19th September 2015.
Feedback from this production: –
Another awesome production and having two casts must have had some challenging moments. It was great to see familiar faces and to see how they have grown in their performances. The unfortunate lighting hitch on Saturday, proved how disciplined your students are. We could hear several comments in the audience about how it was going to “throw the cast”, but they kept their composure and energy for the opening scene. Cheryl Turner, Mother Chris Turner
No amount of words would ever be sufficient enough to THANK YOU both for your hard work, commitment, dedication, time, energy, passion, patience, and the list goes on. You have taken our kids and given them a platform to shine from. Mala Paul, Mother Jazlyn Paul
We are so impressed with the professionalism of your group, yourself and all involved in RSPA, was great pleasure working with you! Kseniya Filinova Bruton, Managing Director, Shakespeare Schools Festival.
International Performance – Glasgow, Scotland – Emily Spencer, personal report
I was in the ‘Forgotten group’ and we were the shipbuilders, an industry that helped to build Glasgow but now no longer exists. We were a group that was living in the 1940’s, and we had costumes, hair and makeup to match. Our motto was “Work hard, play hard.” We learnt a 1940’s dance routine called the Lindy Hop as well as a new dance designed by our choreographer, Dimitri. He made us work very hard every day but he was also a lot of fun.
The first 9 days consisted of intensive rehearsals. Each group had a director and assistant director, and the Scottish Youth Theatre’s wardrobe department took care of everybody’s wardrobe needs. It was great to be a part of the process of taking a group of strangers from different cultures and turning them into a theatre group in such a short space of time. Our first performance was for the Scottish First Minister who visited the theatre to meet the group. The next morning, we performed at the Queens Baton Relay and on the subsequent days we performed twice a day at various iconic locations along the Clyde River. On the evening of the opening of the Commonwealth Festival, there was a big concert and we had devised a flash mob which was performed amongst the crowd during the last song of the night. Everyone had lots of fun and we walked back home singing and laughing. On the last evening, we were at the stadium for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, which was an amazing spectacle. The Scottish First Minister had given us all free tickets to thank us for the performances.
I learnt so much on this trip, not just about theatre production and performance but about Glasgow’s history and culture, as well as the cultures of the various people who were my close companions for two weeks. It was a fascinating time to be in Scotland, particularly with the upcoming vote to decide whether Scotland will become its own country, separate from the United Kingdom. Glasgow was buzzing with energy and the people were really friendly and warm. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget.
International Performance – Glasgow, Scotland – Chris Turner, personal report
There was once a wide windswept place, home to Workers, Dreamers, Players, Traveller and the Forgotten…
Upon our arrival in Glasgow I was placed in the ‘Dreamers group’ – the group that dreamed of all that was possible for the future of Glasgow. We had an amazing time creating our performance with our director Renne MacGregor and assistant director Nathan Byrne. We started by doing various exercises that helped break down any cultural barriers between us and become comfortable performing in close contact. The creative process was crazy and intense, but together we devised five amazing pieces of theatre, which then needed to be linked, that’s where our choreographer Eilidh McRae came in. She choreographed four amazing movement pieces which helped connect and enhance our story into a spectacular performance. Throughout our two-week journey as a group we bonded and created lasting friendships.
I have many memorable experiences from this incredible opportunity, performing for the First Minister of Scotland, having an opportunity to pose a question to him, performing on the beautiful Tradeston Footbridge with 17 of the greatest people I’ve ever met (from Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, England and Wales) and finally attending the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. This has been the greatest experience of my life, the people I have met have had an immense impact on my life, and I have learnt new creative techniques and performed new styles of theatre. The entire experience has taught me to never stop dreaming…
Performances of conviction and passion from rising stars of tomorrow. Gill Brunings and her entire cast and crew from Durban Actors Studio deserve to be congratulated on a job well done. Richard Conlon’s ‘Hope Springs’ is a dark and complex play, but they carry it off with flair and confidence. Hope Springs is based on Tranquillity Bay in Jamaica, which was a behavioural modification facility run by an American company for 11 to 18 year-old children. Parents who were no longer able to control the behaviour of their children sent them to this, or one of the company’s other facilities, in the belief that they would be transformed into model citizens. Playwright Richard Conlon has added a student rebellion reminiscent of Animal Farm to this scenario to create a multifaceted and intense dramatic work. Subject matter as serious and significant as this could be quite a daunting task to present but the young performers from Durban Actors Studio prove themselves equal to the task. With performances of conviction and passion they are able to create characters both convincing and genuine. Gillian Brunings, the principal of Durban Actors Studio also directed Hope Springs. Credit is due to her not only for developing such a promising crop of young performers, but also for her innovative direction which added so much to the production. I particularly liked the technique of using torches, in an otherwise blacked-out theatre, to spotlight the faces of the actors who were either giving testimony or narrative during the production. It is chilling and very effective. Hope Springs asks a lot of questions about family relationships, child abuse and behavioural problems. It is thought-provoking theatre. It is also an opportunity to see the future stars of our stages in action – Keith Millar.
Being different offers a featherbed of chuckles – the Durban performing arts school, Durban Actors Studio , has produced its second show. It offers a much-valued opportunity to students and non-students to perform on a professional stage. Honk! Junior is based on Anthony Drewe and George Stiles’s musical, Honk! which became a worldwide stage sensation after it premiered in 1993 in Newbury, in the UK. Directed by Gillian Brunings Honk! Junior makes good use of the Seabrooke’s Theatre stage space with an attractive set and lighting changes. The script is full of delicious plays on words (“nest rules”; “eggcellent”; etc) and while the cast is in varying stages of acting experience and competence, the show holds together. This highly enjoyable production confirms the fact that being different offers a featherbed of chuckles – Caroline Smart.
School, exams, aliens, intergalactic rock-battles – who said the life of a teenager was boring? Rising Star Academy presented an original Youth Theatre SA Rock Musical that ran at Seabrooke’s Theatre 9th-12th November. Review by Caroline Smart – Durban Actors Studio presents energetic theatre production. Some 23 cast members, backstage crew and a number of hectic scene changes on the Seabrooke’s stage at DHS! That’s some challenge but one that has been handled with aplomb by Durban Actors Studio . With an amusing script written by Gillian Brunings, Galaxy Rock! is their first major production. It is set in Durban which is suddenly invaded by a group of space aliens. They have misinterpreted a call from a young girl band who are fanatic players of Band Hero, the console rock game. The aliens send out a challenge to compete in the ultimate “Rock Battle”, the winner to decide the fate of Earth.
Wonka’s Golden Ticket
“Condensing the wide screen extravaganza to the confines of a hall is no mean task and this has been achieved remarkably well with the musical sticking very closely to the original tale with good use of many areas of the hall, especially the proscenium, which also allows several delightful set changes behind the closed curtains. The characters are all superbly cast and make the most of their roles. Gillian Brunings is to be congratulated on her show as indeed are all the others involved.” Review submitted by Dr Maurice J Kort
“The play had a large cast giving everyone a chance to shine. There is much delightful humour and many throw-away lines in the well adapted script which kept the audience well entertained. The inclusion of a few songs was a clever touch and gave the cast an opportunity to show their talents. The opening number ‘Money, money, money’, set the scene beautifully and was well done. Presented as supper theatre, Scrooge’s Tale is a most entertaining show, all too short, and it is a pity it has only two performances, after all the hard work by all involved.” Review submitted by Dr Maurice J Kort
Broadway, Our Way
Students studied various musicals and developed their script taking songs, scenes and factual information from the musicals production. The children performed excerpts from well-known musicals such as the Lion King, Little Shoppe of Horrors and Annie, to name a few. The children excelled in their interpretation and presentation of these pieces to over 350 people per evening. The show took place over two nights at the Berea Primary school hall.
Twisted Fairy Tales
Students took well known fairy tales and ‘twisted’ them. We added characters, situations and modern themes which resulted in a funny, fresh take on a classic and perhaps, to today’s youth, ‘boring’ stories. The show was performed over three nights at the Westville Theatre Club, Westville.