District Six-The Musical (1987)
The destruction of a community by the apartheid regime
October 2002 saw the opening of Kramer and Petersen's District Six, at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town. This musical first exploded onto South Africa's stages in the late eighties and attracted audiences from all walks of life in their hundreds of thousands to the theatre.
David Kramer and Taliep Petersen spent much of 2001 and 2002 reworking the script and musical arrangements.
This staging of District Six is the first since the final curtain came down in 1990. It played more than 550 performances and was seen by over 350,000 people. For the first time in the history of Cape theatre a huge mixed audience was attracted to the theatre. It launched the careers of many previously disadvantaged actors and was used to highlight the plight of people affected by the then ongoing forced removals.
Despite the fact that some of the songs from District Six were banned by the SABC at the time, the show produced a number of hits, some of which continue to be played on the radio: Broertjie My Bra, Klop Klop, Queen of Hearts, So Long Goodbye.
The 2002/3 production of District Six has been an enormous success. It broke the Baxter Theatre's record for the longest running production by clocking up 203 capacity performances.
Background to District Six
District Six in the 1960s was a place where all kinds of people lived. A place of different religions and races; rich in its diversity; rich in its nineteenth century architecture. A place where music was important. ; where culture and tradition were revered. That it was impoverished and dilapidated, that there was crime and overcrowding, cannot be denied. But what is important, is that it was a place where people had a sense of themselves as a community. The place had spirit. A spirit that made it special. A spirit that is missing in in the sprawling townships and suburban developments of today.
In 1966 the District was declared a white group area by the apartheid government and people who were not white were forced to leave their homes. Shortly afterwards the bulldozing and destruction began and continued for thirteen years until the area was razes. Only a few churches and mosques remain.
- Klop Klop (The Heart of District Six)
- Sexy Boys
- Hester’s Complaint
- This Time
- Broertjie My Bra
- Blind Man’s Curse
- Precious Moments
- The Law The Law
- Star of The Show
- Moppie medley
- Seven Steps of Stone
- Forbidden Fruit
- On My Way
- It’s New Year
- So Long Goodbye
- Precious Moments
- The Star’s MC
- Queen of Hearts
- Dancing On My Own
- Now I Understand
- Blind Man’s Curse
- What’s A Man To Do?
- When The South Easter Blows
- Seven Steps of Stone/Let The Light Shine
The lead role of Nines was performed by award winning actor Jody Abrahams who originally played Broertjie when he was twelve years old in1987. Other original cast members include Terry Hector who played Uncle Henry, Loukmaan Adams in the role of Cassiem and Emraan Adams as Sophia the owner of The Blue Moon Jazz Club. Other members of the company were: Natalie Yon (Mary), Tshamano Sebe (Damaka), Celeste Matthews (Hester), Danny Butler (Pang), Tanya Baleson (Sandy), Jeff Shapiro (Goldman), Anthony Kampf (Vosloo), Carmen Maarman (Galiema), Elton Landrew (Archie, Shaun Arnold (Star's MC) as well as Munthir Dallisier, Nur Abrahams, Caroline Jacobs, Ruth Marley, Adil Dante and Gusain Abduraghman.
The musical premiered at The Baxter Theatre Cape Town in April 1987. It also played at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg and in Port Elizabeth before being invited to Edinburgh where it played at The Royal Lyceum Theatre.
It played more than 550 performances between 1987 and 1989.
Fifteen years later a new production opened at The Baxter in October 2002 and ran for seven months until May 2003. More than 200 performances.
The set design was by award winning West End set designer, Saul Radomsky who worked with them on Kat and the Kings, to design the new production.
Lighting by the internationally renowned Mannie Manim. District Six was directed by David Kramer with musical direction and arrangementsby Taliep Petersen.
David and Taliep won the Fleur du Cap award for Best Contribution to a Musical.