Wela Kapela’s shows enthrall on world stage

MAKING HISTORY: Kerry Hiles performs her show ‘A Star is Born – the rise and fall of Judy Garland’ at the Edinburgh Festival in August. Picture: SUPPLIED

Wela Kapela Productions recently returned from a successful run staging their most popular shows at the international Edinburgh Festival in the UK.

The team showcased their award-winning productions, including Daniel Anderson’s Vincent – the Cabaret, and Kerry Hiles’ A Star is Born – the rise and fall of Judy Garland, among others.

Hiles said the audience enjoyed the tribute to the icon.

“There were a few people in the audience who had had personal experience with Judy Garland, either having witnessed her live on stage or having had some kind of tie to her family members, so they were there for their own reasons.

“Other audience members were there to see a tribute to a gay icon; while others were there to experience music that they enjoyed while growing up.

“I was encouraged by the number of teenage girls in attendance, and one or two young children who were enthralled at the storytelling and really seemed to enjoy the music,” said Hiles.

The star performer said the festival was a great opportunity for the production company to showcase local talent on a global stage.

“The buzz that has been generated by sharing the journey to Edinburgh with a wide audience via social media has definitely created more awareness about the company, Wela Kapela Productions.

“Having glowing reviews about the shows has also, obviously, helped to lend credibility to the work created by Amanda Bothma.

“The fact that we could hold our own among 3,500 other productions from all over the world is a wonderful feat and one that has garnered some degree of respect within the greater entertainment industry at home.

“On a personal level, I have received additional opportunities to perform, and people are taking an interest in other projects in which I am involved,” Hiles said.

Anderson said performing Vincent on so many stages had enriched and increased his knowledge of theatre, while also showing the world Wela Kapela’s top-quality productions.

“Someone once said that theatre is where we get some insight into the inner functions of humanity and so I think that scope just becomes broader on the international level.

“It is so exciting to learn more and also to show the world that our company, as small as we are, is able to present work that is worthy of an international stage.

“This, in turn, shows the world that our local stages are top quality and should never be underestimated,” said Anderson.

According to a review by Shaun Zietsman on Anderson’s show earlier this year, Vincent is a stunning display of Anderson’s talent and storytelling abilities.

“The production grabs you by your breath. It meanders through Van Gogh’s life and that of anyone else experiencing heartbreak and struggle.

“This immersive experience was heightened by the backdrop of Van Gogh’s paintings projected onto the stage, vividly animating Vincent’s haunting journey through life.

“What holds the moment is Anderson’s ability to allow Van Gogh’s story to have a voice in your heart. It is an extraordinary piece of work, and Anderson’s is a name to follow,” said Zietsman.

Some of Hiles’ upcoming shows include a performance in Copenhagen later this year.

She also has Amy Winehouse and Tina Turner tribute shows coming up, as well as of her Judy Garland show.

The Wela Kapela team will also be taking their shows Vincent – The Cabaret, NEXT! and Matilda Jr to theatres around Cape Town throughout September and October.


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