“South End is my home, my family, my friends, the memories I have of my parents and their parents. All this will only be a distant memory.”
The Port Elizabeth Gilbert and Sullivan Society have a long and proud tradition of presenting the highest quality musical theatre productions to the Port Elizabeth community. In 2011 and 2012 GS staged the critically acclaimed Fiela’s Child the Musical, an original South African work written by renowned stage and television performer, Ian von Memerty. This year GS present another truly South African production, telling a story that will resonate deeply with Port Elizabeth residents who remember the thriving, cosmopolitan community that was South End before the forced removals and give younger audiences a glimpse into that troubled period in our history.
Sounds of South End is written by local writer, actor and director, Herbie Clayton. This stirring drama with popular music from the 60’s tells the story of the Dietrich family, who have been served with a notice to vacate their home in South End and move to the Northern Areas. Audiences will share their journey as they deal with the pain of leaving the only home they have ever known, the loss of their community, and the injustice of Apartheid laws regarding mixed marriage. In the midst of the heartache they find joy in their love for each other, their friends and an unshakeable faith in God’s plan for their future. The 30 strong cast depict the diversity of races, ages and attitudes that made South End so unique.
Harry Dietrich, the once strong family patriarch, played by Desmond Marks, swears he will never leave and as he falls into decline, his wife Helen becomes the family’s strength. Eviction is not the only challenge facing these parents. Daughter Patty (Joylene Groener) fights with her father over her love for her dark skinned boyfriend James, played by Jody Butler. Shirley, her headstrong, rebellious sister, risks prison to be with her white boyfriend Peter much to her family, the community and his mother’s disapproval. Shirley will be played alternately by Beverley-Ann Blignaut and Carmen Cairncross, with Peter played by Cuan Louw and his mother by Rose Cowpar. The cast also features Annelize Abdoll, Christina Fortuin, Valencia Stone, Gavin Harry, Henry Muller, Marlon Primo and Shanelle Stone.
Audiences will instantly recognise songs such as Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Diana, Don’t Forget to Remember Me, Theme for a Dream and The Lion Sleeps Tonight, all brought to life under the skilful musical direction of Richard Campbell.
Sounds of South End opens at the Savoy Theatre, Adcockvale on 29th May 2013 and runs until the 13th June. Tickets are just R80 and available from all Computicket outlets or patrons can purchase a discount voucher from any cast member for just R75. A special Family Matinee will be held on Saturday 8th June at 2.00pm when all tickets will be just R60. Group bookings of 20 or more can book at just R75 through Computicket. Schools and community groups should call 041 811 8572 to enquire about special school discounts. This production will also feature at the Northern Area Arts Festival in September.