Don’t you miss live entertainment? One of the many hard things about Covid Lockdown has been the prohibition of live events, theatre and music. Now that regulations are slowly becoming more accommodating, an afternoon or evening at the theatre is again becoming a viable entertainment option.
So why don’t you take in a live show, or two…. in 1000 Hills.
Rhumbelow Tina’s is one of four quirky, quaint Rhumbelow community theatres. The flagship theatre is in the heart of Umbilo (Cunningham Ave off Bartle Road), there is also one in Pietermaritzburg (5 Alan Paton Rd), and Durban North (50 Margaret Maytom Dr).
There is a fabulous community theatre worth supporting in 1000 Hills which offers a regular line up of accessible and diverse productions: Rhumbelow Tina’s, situated in the iconic Tina’s Hotel in Kloof, supported by 1000 Hills Community Tourism Organisation.
Tina’s Hotel is one of the endearing and enduring iconic spots in Kloof. Built in 1941 and originally called the Beryldene Hotel. The restaurant, in particular, gained a strong following, and when a bar was added it become a favourite watering spot for Kloof locals.
The Rhumbelow theatres for decades have provided an important platform for performers and musicians to showcase their work in an accessible, supportive “off-Broadway” type environment, while allowing quality productions to grace community stages, growing suburban audiences, and making live performance more accessible to everyone.
Mostly the Rhumbelows host accessible musical theatre, comedy and music revues in a supper-theatre format. One can listen to a huge variety of the music – from rock legends to balladeers; one-hit wonders to super-groups; Woodstock to musicals.
All venues are licensed, allowing venue owners to have income from the bars, in most cases also offer on-site meal options. At Tina’s the restaurant is available for theatre patrons to enjoy a meal before the show.
Typically shows alternate between venues, allowing audiences in all the theatres’ catchment areas to get a chance to see the different productions without having to travel to see them.
Roland Stansell is the hardworking, effervescent and innovative Rhumbelow boss who, with a tight team of technicians and hospitality staff, manages all of the theatres.
Halls for Hire
The notion of theatres occupying MOTH halls started when Roland, as a performer in the much-loved drag troupe The Family Players, worked closely with the ladies and gentlemen MOTHS in their MOTH halls, performing for them and arranging fund raising events on their behalf. Roland was keeping the tradition alive started by the service men and women of the First and Second World Wars, residing in the Durban Umbilo area, who built the Rhumbelow Shellhole hall. It opened its doors on 1 September 1929 as a venue for dances, shows, dinners, and fund-raisers and became the social meeting spot for many locals and passers through.
A symbiotic relationship developed between the MOTHS and the theatre community – breathing new life into their halls, and helping them with raising funds through venue hire and income from the bar. Rhumbelow Umbilo formally opened in July 2001. This strategy extended to other community halls and function rooms – including Tina’s in Kloof
More than a decade ago, Roland traded in his fancy corporate job for the spotlight and grease paint, and all the heartbreaks, headaches and joys which come with running not one, but four, theatres. It is admirable that he has managed, somehow, to keep the theatre doors open through some very bumpy terrain. He surely must be up for some kind of thespian sainthood for his tenacity in refusing to give up, when so many other venues around the country have regrettably had to shut up shop.
“I cannot lie, Covid has been unimaginably hard for the creative and hospitality industries. Lockdown has pretty much taken the wind out of our sails and most independent venues have struggled to survive without the income from regular clientele. Even now that we can operate cautiously again – only being allowed a maximum of 50 guests is financially crippling. We want to open our doors and to continue to trade, but it costs us dearly to do so. We are grateful that our President has at last acknowledged our industry and has adjusted the attendance rules for theatre venues to 50% / 250 people.”
Rhumbelow have been pretty much the only theatre venues in KZN who have remained consistently open and functioning – in varying degrees as Covid laws allow – over lockdown.
Roland has had to be innovative to ride the storm – constantly coming up with ideas. Over lockdown, he has offered a library of past productions to be viewed online to enable audiences to watch shows when theatres were closed. He has created quiz nights and bingo sessions in response to people’s need for fun and company, and most recently, he has started his Cinema Classics season of filmed versions of great stage productions – such as Royal Shakespeare Company evergreens, musicals (such as Kinky Boots); ballets (such as Giselle) and live events (such as Andre Rieu).
Roland has put together a full programme of shows for Rhumbelow Tina’s for the spring season and beyond – all of which are worthy of regular and ongoing support.
Good to Know
Join the Rhumbelow Theatre mailing list- firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on other shows visit http://events.durbantheatre.com/
Roland Stansell: Cell 0824998636