1 August 2022


CAB Festival enters its second year as call for musical theatre creatives is announced

The Cabaret and Beyond Festival (CAB), organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in partnership with Mandela Bay Theatre Complex, recognises a top-heavy musical theatre industry in South Africa. The initiative surpassed all expectations highlighting nearly 20 local musical theatre composers’ original songs during its inaugural year, and once again calls for creatives to apply for a three-month writing collective and mentorship. After the three months programme, the CCA will select some of the works for the CAB Festival Showcase held in 2023.

Applications for the second CAB Festival are accessible via this: Online Form The application deadline is 14 August 2022, and participants will be announced on 22 August.

During the previous programme, two composers were chosen to receive grants for further development with dramaturgical support from Janice Honeyman. Their subsequent chamber musicals received a professional staging in Durban & Gqebera in March 2022, an opportunity never before afforded local emerging musical theatre writers.

“Positive audience reaction and excellent attendance bode well for the future of new writing in the genre,” says Roland Perold, CAB Festival project manager and proponent of original musical theatre development. “There’s real momentum with this project which sparked rumblings across the country with its high-quality intimate productions. Audiences have taken notice.”

The CAB Festival is a support mechanism for creatives who need room to test their skills and grow together. “The arts need support and guidance, but ultimately we also want to create avenues that help writers and composers to work in a self-sustaining way and add to the theatrical landscape by telling their own stories,” says Ismail Mahomed, director of the CCA.

Applicants must provide reference materials demonstrating their ability to write/compose for musical theatre, meaning they understand songwriting within a dramatic framework.

Those chosen will need to attend bi-monthly Zoom sessions on Sunday mornings at 10:00 am and be prepared to share their songs in development during these sessions. There will be peer feedback as well as professional insights from the panel. Sessions begin on 4 September through 11 December 2022. All dates are available within the online application form.

Selected participants will participate in a three-month writing collective that runs online and is facilitated by Perold. This year writers will need to write two songs; one of which must be an up-tempo number from a piece of musical theatre they wish to develop or are developing. This can be the beginning of a book musical or a collection of works linked to a strong theme or central idea.

This year, specialised guidance will be provided by Johannesburg-based director Lesedi Job and Cape Town-based producer and composer Jaco Griessel. During the online mentoring sessions, Job will provide dramaturgical insights as the participants share their works in development. Job is a respected theatre maker with a keen interest in musical theatre and winner of the Naledi award for her direction of “When Swallows Cry”. Griessel was a Mandela-Rhodes scholar for composition and is actively involved in promoting chamber musicals in South Africa. Griessel devised and implemented a tertiary-level musical theatre writing course for LAMTA Academy in Camps Bay, the first of its kind in South Africa.

Participants selected for the CAB Festival will receive a stipend of R3 500 for writing two songs that the CCA has the option of staging during the 2023 CAB Festival Showcase. Composers may write for up to a maximum of four voices. The showcase will be performed by two men, two women and a live pianist. An independent panel will adjudicate the songs presented at the showcase, and a 2023 winner will be announced.

Those wanting to participate should complete the online form or email project manager Roland Perold if they have specific questions: rperold@gmail.com