Soldiers in the City

Solders_in_the_city_web3 -12 July 2015

This year the 15th annual PANSA Young Performers project, funded by the KZN Dept of Arts & Culture and Rainbow, is presenting an innovative new home-grown work entitled Soldiers in the City.  Created by Themi Venturas, Iain “Ewok” Robinson and Lucky Cele, this project engages with the new emerging urban youth culture.

Two best friends, both excellent poets, compete in an underground slam poetry challenge, where they realise that words can be sharper and more dangerous than swords, and forgiveness and loyalty is more valuable than glory.

Soldiers in the City is a vibrant contemporary relevant story talking to pertinent youth-focussed issues.  The production examines the overt culture of the new generation which includes rhyming, beat-box, urban dance, music and public artwork like graffiti - much like the very popular STEP UP movie series. The production team for 2015 includes: Themi Venturas (director), Iain “Ewok” Robinson (creative consultant) Daisy Spencer (choreographer), Des Govender (vocal coach), and Dawn Selby (musical director).

The script outline was written by Venturas, together with Ewok and Cele, and was finalised after the casting was complete, enabling the script to be customized to allow the characters to speak with their own voice, and for the cast to showcase their particular talents.

The music was carefully chosen and is performed to an ever-popular live band, THE REALS. The songlist includes: Read all about it by Emile Sande, What a piece of work is man from the muical HAIR, Soldier in the City By Aloe Blacc, My City By Toya De Lazy & Casper Nyovesi, Born for this by HHP, Liquideep and Teargas, Uptown Funk By Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, Seasons of Love from the musical RENT, Something Inside so Strong by Labi Liffre & Lira, I’m only Human by Christina Perri-Human, Boss Zonke by Ricky Rix, Battle Cry by the Imagine Dragons Falling Slowly from the musical ONCE, Tears in Heaven By Eric Clapton, Lean on Me by Bill Withers, Roar by Katy Perry, One Tribe  by the Black Eyed Peas and Union by Sting & the Black Eyed Peas. The poetry for the ‘rap’ battles has been written by EWOK.

“It is clear that more and more young people want to control their own destiny, “ observes director Themi Venturas. “This can be seen in the new youth culture, in the ‘k’ generation – which is full of revolutionary zeal and despondent anger directed at the older generation, who they perceive have not done enough to change their lives materially,”  considers Venturas.

Open auditions were held at Glenwood High and at the Hexagon in Pietermaritzburg to gather the best musical-theatre high-school performers to make up the cast.  These are complemented by a professional band headlined by Barry Thomson who plays one of the teachers.

Spearheaded by PANSA, the Performing Arts Network of South Africa: KZN, the project ensures that the learners get a taste of working in the professional musical theatre arena. The cast of 25 were
chosen at auditions on 18 / 19 April.  Rehearsals have begun with the cast meeting every weekend until the opening night. The project promotes discipline, develops confidence, and gives an opportunity to make life-long friendships, and to learn a huge amount from the professionals.

PANSA is grateful to the Department of Arts and Culture of the Province of KZN along with RCL Foods (Rainbow Chicken) and Business and Arts South Africa (BASA).  Previous YPP projects have been: Curtain Up;  One Voice; Grease; Oliver; Fiddler on the Roof; The Wiz; Annie; School of Rock SA; Big River; Hairspray; Seussical; Legally Blonde; Can You Feel It? and last year’s, Footloose.

Booking is through Computicket at any Shoprite Checkers outlets, by phone on 0861 915 8000 or online at For further enquiries please call PANSA KwaZulu Natal Regional Coordinator: Nelisa Mzimela. PANSA office Telephone: 031 2014750 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it