A small studio in the administrative block was found for dance classes and rehearsals while the magnificent new studios adjoining the Playhouse itself neared completion:

Ann Layfield, Linda Smit and Hugo le Roux look on while Barry Snow and Leon Strauss inspect the laying of the floor in Studio 503.

Inaugural Season The Natal Playhouse

The Natal Playhouse Opera stage was ready at last, and our first programme there consisted of Sonje Mayo’s Beloved Country, Balanchine’s Apollo, my Mirror Dances and Ragtime, and Cranko’s The Lady and the Fool We opened on 25 April 1986 and the season ran until 10 May. Use the side arrows to view some photos by Val Adamson from that season.

Mixed programme Brouillards, Cage of God, Le Beau Danube, Tchaikovsky pas de deux, Apollo, Ragtime. Grahamstown, Pietermaritzburg and Secunda during June -July and at the Baxter Theatre Cape Town (prod. Pieter Torien) 29 July – 9 Aug.

Other People & Carmina Burana Natal Playhouse Opera Theatre 14 – ? Sept. ’86

Peer Gynt, a revival of Geoffrey Sutherland’s dance-drama version of the Grieg/Ibsen classic, with designs by Ed Haines was at the Natal Playhouse Opera 23 Sept.– 4 Oct.

Dance Forum I

8 October-15 November ’86

This six week festival of dance was ambitious, to put it mildly! As you can see from the calendar below, it was a feat of organisation and everyone at Napac helped to make it a rip-roaring success, so much so that we mounted a second Dance Forum two years later! If you were involved in any way, do get in touch ashleykillar@gmail.com and share your memories!

The events during the 1986 Forum were attended by over 15,000 people of all races in Kwa Zulu-Natal.We can’t possibly include photos from all the events, even if we could trace them, but have a look at the slideshow below (use the arrows either side). And if you have any photos or memories from this period (1986) you’d like to share please do let me know on ashleykillar@gmail.com

Dulcie Howes agreed to be the Patron of Dance Forum. Dr Howes, the doyenne of theatre dance and a fierce champion of dance for all in South Africa, was an inspiring woman. It was she who helped launch the career of John Cranko, among several other choreographers and many, many dancers. I write about this wonderful woman and her achievements in John Cranko: the Man and his Choreography. She was a great supporter of Napac Dance Company and the ideals and policies we were trying to implement.

The events from the Forum that remain clearest in my mind are Folk Dance Day, Dr Howes speaking so graciously, and the incredible technical team who played a mammoth part in making it all happen.