Theatre is in their Blood
Des & Dawn have themselves performed in every major theatre and cabaret room in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Their major Corporate work has required them to transform spaces like factory floors, aircraft hangars, canteens, building sites, foyers, restaurants and pool decks into fully-equipped performance stages and auditoria.
Des and Dawn’s theatre prowess embraces and encompasses all aspects of Theatre and the Performing Arts.
A Life in Theatre
Des and Dawn Lindberg have been in the business of show business for over 50 years. Their company, CAT “Cabaret and Theatre” was established in 1965 and was the first non-racial theatre production company to play in public venues all over South Africa.
Poignant Theatre Moments
Their first major musical production "Godspell"
1973 | Maseru, lesotho
This was the first racially mixed professional production to be staged publicly in South Africa. Godspell originally opened in Maseru, Lesotho in 1973 and ran there for 5 months.
The Banning of "Godspell"
When Des and Dawn Lindberg brought it to South Africa to open at the Wits University Great Hall, it was immediately banned, ostensibly on the grounds of “blasphemy”. This banning was widely and immediately recognised as a political smoke-screen for the real issue of racial mixing, a direct challenge to the Apartheid laws of the government of the day.
The Lindbergs challenged the banning in the Supreme Court, and won their case. As a result Godspell toured South Africa for two years, and succeeded in opening doors to all races on both sides of the footlights wherever it played. It was a theatrical triumph, and a political and legal breakthrough.
This original Lindberg Production of Godspell starred, Bruce Millar, Des Lindberg, Cocky “Two-Bull” Tlhotlhalemaje, Harriet Matiwane, Ali Lerefolo, Trish McKenna, Roz Monat and Caryn Solomon.
(Subsequent productions starred amongst others, Patrick Ndlovu, Barrie Shah, Neville Nash, Dawn Lindberg, Mandisa of Savuka fame, Ian Lawrence, Sam Marais and David Denis.
The complete account of the Courtroom Battle over “Godspell” can be found in the book, Thank You Judge Mostert by Carmel Rickard – Published by Penguin Books South Africa Pty Ltd. 2010. ISBN 9780143026754.
"The Black Mikado"
1976 | soweto
Des and Dawn Lindberg’s major production, “The Black Mikado” was the first mainstream West End musical production ever to premier in Soweto, where it played at the Diepkloof Hall in Late May 1976, just before the Soweto student uprising ,June 1976.
“The Black Mikado” starred Ben “Satch” Masinga, Thandi Klaasen, Barrie Shah, Leslie Mongezi, Des Lindberg, Patrick Ndlovu, Duke Makasi, Sammy Brown, Sue Keil, Felicia Marion, Sipho Gumede and the band “Spirits Rejoice”.
1975 | Johannesburg
“Pippin” is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O. Hirson.
It was first performed in South Africa at His Majesty’s Theatre, Johannesburg, produced by CAT Productions, directed, choreographed and designed by Des Lindberg with Bess Finney, Sammy Brown, Jo-Ann Pezarro, Hal Watters, Taliep Petersen, Sophia Foster, Robin Dolton and Andre Hattingh.
"The Vagina Monologues"
2003 | the state theatre
The V-word first hit the National Arts Festival in 1999, when Lara Bye performed the SA premiere of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. This was the original one-woman play. It’s since wowed Broadway with multi-player celebrity casts.
Then Dawn Lindberg was granted the rights for V-Day 2003, at the State Theatre, as well as for the commercial run of The Vagina Monologues, which launches its national tour on the Fringe. The cast co-stars Isidingo’s Karin van der Laag, Rachel Tambo, Tselane Tambo and newcomer Nobuntu Mphalaza.
Dawn, who performs in as well as directs this play, is acutely aware of the furore it has generated. “Yes, it has been highly controversial. The word vagina is used 136 times and there are 16 orgasms. But it is uplifting and very moving. We guarantee anyone who sees it will never think of themselves, other women, or their vaginas in the same way. All the men who have seen it have thanked us for demystifying this very mysterious part of a woman.”
Musicals & Plays Produced by Des & Dawn
- Godspell (Countrywide ’73, ’74, ’75, ’77, ’94)
- “Pippin”, starring Sammy Brown (His Majesty’s Theatre, Johannesburg ’75)
- The Shrew (Charles Marowitz’ version of The Taming of the Shrew (Johannesburg, Grahamstown, Cape Town ’75)
- The Black Mikado starring Sammy Brown, Ben Satch Masinga, Abigail Kubeka (Soweto, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Pietersburg, Pietermaritzburg, Durban, Cape Town ’76)
- The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, starring Abigail Khubeka & Judy Page (Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town ’78)
- Lennon – Des Lindberg’s Docudrama about John Lennon (Johannesburg, Cape Town ’82)
- I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road Starring Dawn Lindberg, Bruce Millar, Anne Power (Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town (’83)
- Every Good Boy Deserves Favour – Starring Michael McCabe, Michael Richard, Dale Cutts (’86) (Vita Award: Best Production)
- A, My Name is Alice (Johannesburg, Stellenbosch ’86)
- When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout Grahamstown, Johannesburg (’87)
- King Afrika starring Henry Cele, Mara Louw, Elzabe Zietsman and Abigail Khubeka (’89)
- Wanna Be, Gonna Be, a development show directed by Dawn Lindberg staged at the Market Theatre and the Civic Theatre, and featuring 40 talented new artists from schools in Soweto and Johannesburg (2000)
- Popcorn (Civic ’98 / Co Pro with Real Concerts Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria (’99) (22 Vita nominations, 5 Awards)
- Sex, Tango & Everything Else – Dawn played the lead in her own play- Sex Tango and Everything Else – Grahamstown, Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria (’01/ ’02)
- The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler Starring Dawn Lindberg, Rosie Motene, Tselane Tambo, Rachel Tambo, Nqobile Sipamla, Nobuntui Mpahlaza, Karin van de Laag – Grahamstown, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth (’03 , ’04, 09)
- Des & Dawn Still Truckin’ – Des & Dawn’s own Story and all their hit songs Johannesburg, Grahamstown, Cape Town, (’05, ’06, 07)
- Unicorns, Spiders & Dragon’s Tales – Des & Dawn’s show for kids,… parents, grans and grandpas.(’05, ’06)
- The Good Body by Eve Ensler – Starring Liz Meiring, Anne Power, Esmeralda Bihl (’07)