SA theatre professionals in positive mode
Thursday, 17 March 2022
alistairopeningaddressGearhouse Splitbeam managing director Alistair Kilbee opens proceedings
South Africa - On 28 February, Gearhouse Splitbeam gathered the leading technical theatre talent in South Africa at the Market Theatre complex in Johannesburg to present a panel discussion about all things technical theatre.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in theatres across the country being forced to close their doors in compliance with ongoing lockdown restrictions. While this situation is not unique to South Africa, the country’s limited capacity to offer relief measures has resulted in thousands of production professionals not being able to work or support their families for just over two years.
“While there has been an easing of restrictions and theatres are opening their doors again, the current limitations on indoor gatherings means that theatres are only able to operate at 50% capacity,” explains Gearhouse Splitbeam managing director, Alistair Kilbee. “It is simply not financially viable to put on a big show under these restrictions.”
However, in line with the ever-resilient spirit of the theatre, technical theatre professionals continue to hope and dream of the day that the lights will come up and the music will play for audiences hungry for the irreplaceable experience of live theatre, once more.
“Nobody can deny that it has been an incredibly tough two years for the technical theatre industry in South Africa, and all over the world,” says Kilbee. “However, we as an industry define ourselves by our ability to keep the show going, no matter what. It is this indomitable spirit that we hope to reignite by presenting the programme Passion for Theatre from a Technical Perspective.”
The day-long presentation took the form of two panel discussions with guests that represented the who’s-who of technical theatre in South Africa.
Hosted by sound engineer Remember Chaitezvi, the panel included stage manager Thabo Pule, lighting designer Denis Hutchinson, technical director Alistair Kilbee, award-winning scenic designer Nadine Minnaar, production stage manager Leigh-Ann Nanguia, and sound designer Akhona Bozo.
A second panel comprising r costume and scenic designer Noluthando Lobese, lighting designer Wilhelm Disbergen, costume designer Lethabo Bereng, lighting and scenic designers Oliver Hauser and Mandla Mtshali, and sound designer and Prosound technical Director Mark Malherbe, presented the afternoon session.
“The idea behind this programme was to get everybody out to the Market Theatre Complex and come together to remind each other why we love what we do, and why it is worth fighting for,” remarks Alistair.
“When Alistair reached out to us with a request for support on this program, we jumped at the opportunity to pitch in to help,” says Malherbe. “The past two years have been extremely hard for all of our friends and colleagues in the industry, and any opportunity to support technical theatre in South Africa and across the continent is something we would get behind.
“The day was a great success and a wonderful opportunity to connect with and inspire fellow technical theatre practitioners and enthusiasts. A big thank you to Alistair and the Splitbeam team for putting this event together at a time when we needed it most,” he concludes.

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