Training all thespians at Playhouse

Dorothy and friends in The Wizard of Oz at the Playhouse.

The Helderberg’s very own theatre school has been started at the Playhouse Theatre in Somerset West, and The Helderberg Academy of Theatre (HAT) is headed up by directors and teachers Darryl Spijkers and Jon-Paul Ruschenbaum.

“We have had drama classes at the theatre before but this time we will include option for all ages in drama, singing and musical theatre. Both group and private lessons will be available” explains Parel Vallei High School’s head of culture and drama, Darryl Spijkers.

The duo has amassed an impressive list of performances and stage directions since 2004 and are ready to give back to the youth and prepare them for the stage.

“HAT focusses on classes in 3 aspects of theatrical performance: Acting, Singing and Musical Theatre. Classes are recommended to two candidates: anyone with a passion for performing and looking to improve skills, learn more about theatre and gain experience and confidence; and persons wishing to pursue formal tertiary studies in Drama, Singing or Musical Theatre.

“Our classes create a local space to perform a variety of styles beyond school based curriculums and form the gateway to better equip candidates auditioning for prestigious schools and universities” explains Jon-Paul.

“Our students are graded at Eisteddfods and in our own internal exam process. We also plan to present regular showcase performances, record tracks and assist learners with video footage for CVs and digital entries.

Most of all they get to build experience and knowledge as they develop specific skills with like-minded and passionate individuals.”

Darryl has directed shows for schools and societies at the Playhouse, The Muizenberg Masque, The ArtsCape, Spier and at Lourensford Wine Estate.

His latest shows include The Diary of Anne Frank, Joseph, Shrek, Annie and Fiddler on the Roof, to name a few. He has also performed as the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz and the Fiddler in Fiddler on the Roof, both at the ArtsCape.

Jon-Paul is director of the Hottentots Holland High School musicals and has done musical direction for Snoopy The Musical, Annie Get Your Gun, Annie, Joseph, Shrek and more.

A maestro of the piano and voice, he has performed countless times but most recently remembered for his Elton John tribute in The Musical Songbook with the Shiraz band. Together these two thespians are great role models and guides for both children and adults who would like to get on stage or simply flex their performance muscles.

HAT opened on Monday February 1 with free classes, and will run on Mondays during terms. Contact instructors Jon-Paul or Darryl for more information by emailing or following HAT on Facebook or Instagram: ha_theatre