Thursday, 2 October 2014

Stand Up Comedy Competition, A Novel Idea Open Day & Durban Children’s Theatre Festival

Stand Up Comedy Competition, A Novel Idea Open Day & Durban Children’s Theatre Festival

I had two surprises this week, the first surprise was a bit of a nasty one: my Zulu Love Song Uthando Lwakho had been ripped from my Reverbnation page and was for sale, or for free mp3 download, all over the web – not ayoba mense. I was so shocked I nearly cried. The thought that someone is selling my song after they have stolen it – is too much for me… the second surprise was a nicer one, I found out that I am now at #3 in South Africa on the Singer Songwriter charts! I have worked so hard to push myself further – so I’m really pleased. As far as Durban and the Arts are concerned…  This coming month is going to be incredible! In. Credible. There is so much happening in Durban – especially on the Theatre scene, so glad to be a part of it all!

First up, we have the monthly Late Night Comedy: Stand Up Guys & Open Mic Competition where we meet up at The Catalina Theatre on Wilson’s Wharf (There is a meal & show option with John Dory’s downstairs) Our resident comedians, Arno Els, Mark Young & Rowin Munsamy will battle it out for the monthly prize, followed by the winner of September’s Open Mic Venessa Morton.  The show is hosted by myself, afterwards our Open Mic challengers step up to face the heat – the winner takes home a cash prize and the title of Newbie – they also get a paid slot the following month.

Gorgeous, aren't we?

I met up with Venessa Morton at the Catalina to find out more about this funny lady who totally blew us away last month!

Thanks so much for joining me here today Venessa, I just want to ask a few questions so that our readers can get to know you a little better! So, where are you from?

I’m a Durban girl, I’m a single mom so I have moved around a lot, we’ve moved almost every year! – Morningside, Pinetown, Westville, Hillcrest… and other places, depending on where I was working. I just adore Morningside though!

Now tell me, why do you love Morningside?
Ah, you know, it’s central, it has such a nice vibe… not so icky… although… I do live in a block of flats next to a brothel - but it's a nice brothel! (I laugh my head off, she continues) I honestly thought it was a backpackers... it took a month for me to work it out. You know, only men were ‘staying’ there, and not staying very long. (laughs) but yeah, it’s not a ‘tacky’ brothel so,… there’s that.

Have you always been so independent?
Well, you know I am a single mom, I was 18 when I left home…  I went to Berea Girls High in the 80's, and studied Speech and Drama at School – it was my dream but I just never found my niche. I then spent 1 year at Natal Tech doing Drama, but then dropped out to move to j Jo’burg and my studies fell away… I then lived in Knysna with Hippies, and Rastas... Met my then partner (A Rasta) and had my gorgeous daughter. My daughter and I returned to Durbs for the next 18 years... which brings us to 2014. 

Catalina GM Francis Doherty-Bigara with Open Mic Winner Venessa Morton
Thanks to John Dorys for sponsoring our prize.
How did you know that you were meant to make people laugh?
I was always involved in Skits and Dress-up within the Church that I attended for a while, it really brought out my comedy roots and revived my love of comedy. I had a recurring vision where I saw myself as a Patch Adams, the clown, but wasn't able to step into it. The timing wasn’t right. Then in 2013 I did Comediology Open Mic competition and came in 2nd. I met Glen Bo and through Glen I met Jem Atkins (On Fire Comedy). I’ve done open mic with Glen and Jem. I really hope to step into MCing events, earn a good living making people laugh... Theatre where possible... it would be a realisation of a dream.

A Novel Idea situated at 157 Rodger Sishi rd / Blair Atholl rd (Click here for the map), is a charming little shop that far exceeds your expectations. Filled with well thought out nooks and crannies fit to bursting with interesting books, crafted antiques and more you are lulled into a sense of timelessness as you browse to the gentle ticking of their stunning clock collection.

This Saturday 4th October from 2pm, there will be a line-up of activities and demonstrations throughout the afternoon until 8pm. I am excited to announce that I will be showcasing my Classical Album there where it will be for sale for R100, I will be performing a selection of songs from the album – visit my Reverbnation account to hear some of my work.

Tamsyn Allison, the shop runner/mother/manager/doesn’t-like-to-be-labelled/super-woman is dedicated to providing a platform for local crafters, artists, musicians, poets and even salsa dancers within her shop. This is a venture worth supporting, as this venture in turn, supports us.

Here is a letter I received from Tamsyn – it gives you an idea of what to expect on Saturday :)

“I could not possibly be more excited!
The launch event has come together beautifully.
We are sponsoring a carwash with Hope House Volunteers to raise awareness of this incredible organisation (link in comments), Samantha Naidoo with be science-ing the place up for the kids (totally just for the kids), and my very, very tall bestie-for-like-ever Jhodah Lloyd van Straaten will be prancing around on stilts.
Erica Kietzmann Kennedy-Smith is launching her beautiful first book and I'm dry-mouthed with anticipation over the cake that Tammy Cheyne is making us. There will be face painting and a live portrait artist too. 
13 year old Amy Wortmann is launching her book Tears of the Dragon too, just before maestro John Ellis joins us for an unplugged set. Irene Emanuel will then launch her latest anthology and kick off an Open Mic Poetry set that should give you a brief glimpse of what the LiPS (started 20 years ago by the inimitable Ursula Van Lelyveld) are up to. 
Then we will have a Free Salsa Dance Class & and demo by SabrosaSalsa with Gillian & Keith. 
The evening starts to wind down with Sandy Bigara's latest album, A Night to Remember (I've heard it, it's beautiful), and if anyone is still keen to keep the evening going, we'll have a few Open Mic comedy slots available.
Photography at the event will be provided by Nikita Niko Padayachi and Catherine Basson Photography, and the MC keeping everyone on their toes is my go-to guy for absolutely all entertainment in this town: Noel Johnson.
If any of you know any media who are looking for amazing local content, this is the place to send them.”

From the 6th until the 11th October, the Catalina Theatre is bringing us the Durban Children’s Theatre Festival! Crammed to the brim with Child-friendly Theatre fare, this is not to be missed!
Click on this COMPUTICKET link to see the shows on offer!
I am thrilled that my funny edu-tainment show Zap & Buttons will be a part of the festival! I’ll be singing and dancing too so come along and say hi!  My show is suitable for the whole family – activities for the children and loads of good solid humour for the adults to enjoy.

“Join Zap & Buttons in this show about fitness, health and nutrition. This funny and heartwarming story written by local Performing Artist Sandy Bigara, toured to over 50,000 children all across KZN in 2010! Zap the Exercise Fairy and her 'bestie' Buttons the Fashion Cat join forces to turn a lazy boy named Junk into a Fitness Star! With loads of help from the young (and old) audience members - this informative show is crammed full of participation, using song, dance and games - Junk will learn to look after his body, and be fit and healthy!”

The Festival Program:
Monday 6 Oct:
9:30am Workshop
12noon Launch
2pm Fantastical Flea Circus Returns
4pm Zap and Buttons

Tuesday 7 Oct:
10am Pot of Stories
12noon Zap and Buttons
2pm Fantastical Flea Circus
4pm Ntswaki's Adventure

Wednesday 8 Oct:
10am Ntswaki's Story
12noon uMTHAKATI
2pm Zap and Buttons
4pm Fantastical Flea Circus

Thursday 9 Oct:
12noon Fantastical Flea Circus
2pm Ntswaki's Adventure
4pm Zap and Buttons

Friday 10 Oct:
10am Fantastical Flea Circus
12noon  uMTHAKATI
2pm Zap and Buttons
4pm Pot of Stories

Saturday 11 Oct:
10am Pot of Stories
12noon Fantastical Flea Circus
2pm Zap and Buttons
4pm Ntswaki's Adventure

Upcoming Events this weekend worth noting:
ZACKS WINDERMERE LIVE MUSIC HOSTED BY STEVE FATAAR | Friday 29th August | 7:30pm \ Free Entry order your meal off menu | bookings: 031 – 3120755 | Secure parking |

STAND UP GUYS & OPEN MIC COMPETITION | Friday 3rd October | 10pm | R80pp | booking on Computicket | At Durban's own Catalina Theatre, 18 Boatman's way, Wilson's Wharf! 180' harbour views, restaurants below the theatre, safe parking. 18+ -  Sandy Bigara, Rowin Munsamy, Mark Young, Arno Els & Venessa Morton.

A NOVEL IDEA | Saturday 4th October | 2pm – 8pm | no booking – free entry | 157 Rodger Sishi rd / Blair Atholl rd. Secure parking off road. Cash or Card machine for any purchases.

ZAP & BUTTONS | (6th October 4pm – 7th at 12noon) – (8th at 2pm) – (9th at 4pm) – (10th at 2pm) – (11th at 2pm) | R60pp | booking on Computicket | At Durban's own Catalina Theatre, 18 Boatman's way, Wilson's Wharf! 180' harbour views, restaurants below the theatre, safe parking. Starring: Sashin Kandhai, Chanel Meager and Kamini Govender. Directed by Sandy Bigara.

IDOLS SA | We are #TeamKD vote #6 all the way! Kyle Deutshmann

Take care everyone!

Sandy Bigara 

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