Jackie Cunniffe (Theatre Director)

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Jackie_2Jackie has been involved in theatre since 1986 when she joined the Natal Performing Arts Council as a member of their Sound Department; later becoming the youngest person and first female within the South African Arts Councils to be appointed as Head of Sound and Chief Sound Designer.  Whilst working at the Playhouse, she studied through UNISA and achieved a Bachelor of Arts (Cum Laude) in Communication and Psychology, and later a Masters in Business Administration through the Cardiff Business School, for which she was top student.

She has designed the sound for major productions such as Annie, Fiddler on the Roof, Elton John- This is His Song, Night of 100 Stars, Suite Sting and A Night to Remember which was staged in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen, and has worked on a diverse range of freelance projects, from corporate launches and touring theatre productions to several Splashy Fen Festivals.

In 1994 she produced The Piano Men with friends Tim Wells, Joseph Clark, Brendan Jury and Chris Letcher in the starring roles.  The show received rave reviews in Durban, played to capacity audiences in Pietermaritzburg, Grahamstown and Stellenbosch and   won a VITA Award for Best Musical Revue when it was re-staged in 2000.   

She conceived and produced a second show, Concert Fever, which was staged in 1998 and  2001 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre and also presented in 2002 at the Sun City Superbowl for the SPAR 40th anniversary celebrations.  She also received  Durban Theatre Awards for Sound Design on productions of Nunsense, Abbamaniacs and the Guitar that Rocked the World.

Whilst most of Jackie’s attention is now focused on the management and administration of the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre (since her appointment as Director in 1997), she still enjoys freelance sound work on inspiring projects.  In her spare time she rides her horse, works at keeping an unruly garden and an even more unruly cat and dog under control, and tries in vain not to fall off her mountain bike.  She is also prone to spending vast amounts on her credit card to undertake adventure trips around the world; the last of which saw her cycling from Tibet to Nepal via Mount Everest Base Camp..