Dear Fellow Members

These are certainly unprecedented and frustrating times we live in.
Twelve months ago, we would never have envisaged ourselves still under a degree of COVID-induced lockdown, and with the Theatre Industry remaining in complete turmoil. We are all aware that the much-beloved Fugard Theatre took the painful decision to permanently close its doors on 16 March, and the cavernous foyers of our “home,” The Artscape, have been eerily quiet.
But, as they say, fynbos growth follows the fires.
Tentatively, Artscape is opening up again, and professional productions are returning to their auditoria. At the time of writing, Hänsel und Gretel is being presented by Cape Town Opera, and Delibes’ ballet Coppelia is scheduled for mid-April, although strict COVID restrictions are being observed regarding audience numbers, currently allowing a maximum house of just 25% of capacity.
As far as we in G&S are concerned, we have made the decision to postpone The Pirates of Penzance until such a time when we can enjoy larger capacity audiences, but we are working on a couple of smaller projects, which we will share with you soon.

Hopefully, with vaccinations on the increase, and infections on the decrease, we may see the permitted audience capacities rise over the coming months, and we all look forward with growing anticipation to the day when we again walk into the rehearsal room. May it come soon, for us to return to doing what we love.

In Memoriam 

It is with great sadness that we must convey the news that Gwen Sharland recently passed away, on 16 March.
An Honorary Life Member of G&S, Gwen was an active supporter and contributor to our society for many years, and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
There will be a memorial service for Gwen at St Thomas’ Church, Rondebosch, on Thursday 8th April at 14:30. Because of COVID restrictions, the church is only allowed 100 in the congregation, so please contact Gwen’s daughter, Jennifer Sharland, by email to if you wish to attend. There will be a Zoom link for anybody not able to attend, who may wish to pay their respects.
Gwen was such an enthusiastic and dedicated member of G&S, and we are grateful to Alastair Cockburn for sharing some of his memories of Gwen:

I first got to know Gwen and her husband, Richard, in my earliest days of involvement with the G & S Society. This was back in 1975 when I was the pianist for the rehearsals and performances of “Ruddigore” which was staged at the Claremont Civic Centre.

Over the years, both Gwen and Richard were in the chorus, and were also heavily involved in production aspects of many of the society’s shows, Richard with set construction, and Gwen with costume design and manufacture. Often Richard would be involved in building sets in his own garage and then spending days in constructing the sets on the stages we used – i.e. Claremont Civic Centre and then the Baxter Theatre in particular in the earlier days, and then at Artscape (ex Nico Malan) later on.
I well remember visiting their home in Rondebosch on many occasions and being amazed at the industry going on there. Many rooms in their house were literally covered in partially completed costumes and materials in various stages of being cut or sewn, and Gwen herself would have pins and needles with bits of thread hanging from them, pinned into her blouse or apron for ‘safe-keeping” while working on the costumes. She was responsible for some of the most beautiful costume designs.

Very fresh in my mind was the last design she did for our small production of “Trial by Jury” in the Arena a few years back. Gwen decided that the two main bridesmaids would be dressed in all-black mini-skirt dresses. I was rather concerned that this may not be appropriate, but needn’t have worried. The two ladies, Anke Ermel and Lara Basson looked stunning and the compliments at this innovative look endorsed my conviction to never argue with Gwen on her vision.
Apart from costume design and manufacture, I remember other creative hobbies of the couple. The magnificent model Doll’s House standing on their dining room table – it had been made from scratch by Richard and decorated beautifully by Gwen right down to the tiniest scale furniture and soft coverings, curtains etc. And it had real electric lighting. Gwen was also extremely proud of the exquisite quilts she designed and made using patches of attractive materials. After Richard retired, she taught him quilting and he also excelled in this creative hobby.

And then, there was her wacky sense of humour and incredible broad knowledge of history, the English language, literature, theatre etc. She was a great asset in the inter-society quizzes held annually and helped tremendously in our society winning the trophy on many occasions.
Gwen had not been well for several years and finally agreed to giving up her large house in Rondebosch and moving to a retirement complex in Pinelands. She had let her driver’s licence expire and sold her car. But imagine my surprise when I bumped into Gwen in the Howard Centre Shopping Mall a few months ago to be told by her that she had bought a new car and re-did her drivers licence in order to be more independent. That was Gwen – always the go-getter. It appeared as if nothing could keep her down. She will be sadly missed.


Rest in Peace, Gwen.

Yours in music and theatre

The Gaslight Team

Gaslight Newsletter – September 2019

Dear Members and Friends

It is hard to believe that we are already in September and fast approaching the end of the year!  We are hard at work on our next production, IT’S SHOWTIME, and planning for our 2020 productions are under way. Read more about those below.

It is with great sadness that we record the death recently of Heather Earp-Jones, at her home in Onrus.  Heather died peacefully on Friday 6 September after a long battle with cancer. 

Although not able to be an active member in recent years, largely as a result of her illness, Heather has always been a stalwart supporter of Cape Town G and S of which she was an Honorary Life Member.  Heather was a staunch member of the chorus and played a number of lead roles during her active time with G and S. 

She made an enormous contribution to many productions through her inspired and dedicated work on costumes.  Indeed, she served as Wardrobe Mistress for many years.  In recent times, whenever her health has permitted Heather has been a loyal audience member at our productions.

A bubbly and engaging personality, Heather will be remembered fondly by all who knew and interacted with her through G and S.  Perhaps most notably she will be remembered for the indomitable spirit and courage with which she met her recurring illness head on.  She was determined not to let it get the better of her.  Whilst her physical health continued to decline, Heather’s spirits remained buoyant and energetic.  She provided succour and encouragement to many others who were also battling the scourge of cancer. 

To her husband, Rogan, also an Honorary Life Member and former Chair, to her children Nicola and Brendan and to all her family, we extend our condolences and love.  We know how much Heather will be missed but we rejoice that her struggle is over.  Cape Town G and S is the poorer for her passing but the richer for having had her as part of our family.  May she rest in peace.

Anthony Storr Lister

Heather’s funeral will take place on Wednesday 18 September at 15h00 at the Pinelands Presbyterian Church, St Stephens Road in Pinelands.

Introducing the Management Committee:

The Management Committee is tasked with executing strategies and decisions taken by the Board of Directors, and managing minor productions and organisational activities. The Management Committee is not elected by means of a popular vote. The Board of Directors, after careful consideration, appoints each portfolio member of the Management Committee.

The newly appointed Management Committee members are:

James Maritz: Chairperson
Rosemary Wilke: Vice-Chairperson & Marketing
Melvyn Abrahams: Finance
Melissa Marcus: Membership & Socials
Anthony Storr Lister: Heritage
Barend van der Westhuizen: Productions & Development

In addition to the abovementioned portfolios, the Board of Directors are calling for applicants to fill the following specialised portfolios, some falling under existing portfolios:

  • Fundraising
  • Social Media Manager
  • Gaslight Editor
  • Meeting Secretary (non-voting)

If you would like to be part of this energetic and motivated team, please send your Curriculum Vitae and motivational letter to

Annual awards ceremony

The annual G&S awards evening will take place on Saturday 26 October at the Bishops Memorial Theatre in Rondebosch. The evening will include a few items from IT’S SHOWTIME (which is no excuse not to buy tickets for the show)

The awards ceremony will start at 19h30, with Fine Music Radio Station Manager and presenter, Mark Jennings, as Master of Ceremonies. The dress code is smart, and members are invited to join the winners and other guests after the ceremony for a snack and drink.

Seating for the event is reserved.

Please book your free ticket on Quicket by clicking here.

To view the full list of nominees please click here.


Advance warning of the Annual Opskop!

Traditionally the G&S Opskop is held on 16 December.

The Opskop is as relaxed gathering at which we enjoy the company of our fellow Savoyards in informal surroundings. It started as an opportunity for G&S members and their families to get together, enjoy each other’s company, and have fun.

In past years it has taken the form of a bring and braai at a member’s home, preferably one with a swimming pool. A time of fellowship and relaxation, often with reminiscences thrown in. At an appropriate juncture our anthem, “Hail Poetry”, is sung, usually so badly that Alastair cringes!

This year, we would like to find out from you what you would like for Opskop 2019!

Please click here to complete the Opskop 2019 survey.


Our next production, IT’S SHOWTIME, directed by Barend van der Westhuizen and choreographed by Jared Schaedler, will take place during the last week in October, at the Bishops Memorial Theatre in Rondebosch.

IT’S SHOWTIME brings the very best of musical theatre to life. This captivating production promises to be an emotional journey through the wonderful world of musicals that will leave the audience spell-bound. With beautiful and emotional ballads from Sunset Boulevard, The Secret Garden and Rent along with great up-beat favourites from Les Misérables, Fiddler on the Roof, Sweeney Todd and Anything Goes, and many more, there is something in this show for everyone.

Get ready to be enthralled and sing along to all your favourite and beloved Musicals. If you have not yet bought your tickets for the 25th of October, it is sadly too late. The performance is SOLD OUT!

You have one more opportunity to see IT’S SHOWTIME. Due to popular demand we have added an additional performance on Thursday the 24th of October. If you hurry, you might still be able to buy tickets on Quicket by clicking here.


The Management Committee would like to invite potential directors to make proposals for a minor production to be staged over April 2020. The proposed production can be either a musical or a play. Productions that will be considered must be suitable to be staged in smaller venues, similar to The Arena at ArtsCape, with minimal technical requirements.

Proposals must include the following:

  • Production pitch.
  • Set design ideas.
  • Costume design ideas.
  • Proposed venue.
  • Production Budget.

Directors are invited to send their proposals to by 30 November 2019.



We are delighted to announce that our major production for 2020 will be The Pirates of Penzance, which will be staged at the ArtsCape Theatre during June/July 2020. The production will be directed by Roché Haupt-Buckle, with musical direction by Alastair Cockburn.

Auditions will take place over the weekends of 2 & 3, and 9 & 10 November at ArtsCape.

Please read the audition notice carefully, specifically the role requirements, to make sure that you fit the profile stipulated by the Artistic Directors.

This production promises to be a Pirates of Penzance as never seen before


Constantiaberg Theatre Players presents The Graduate.

The Graduate is an interesting story about Benjamin Braddock.

Benjamin has just finished college and is back at his parents` house, trying to avoid the one question everyone keeps asking: What does he want to do with his life? An unexpected diversion crops up when he is seduced by Mrs Robinson, a bored housewife and friend of his parents. But what begins as a fun tryst turns complicated when Benjamin falls for the one woman Mrs Robinson demanded he stay away from, her daughter, Elaine.

Get your tickets to see how the story unfold by clicking here.

Milnerton Players’ end of year musical revue, Sondheim’s putting it Together, is now fully cast and music rehearsals with MD, Chris Cameron-Dow, are well under way. Sondheim’s difficult music requires a musically experienced cast and the line-up, which includes no less than 4 regular G&S members, certainly meets that criteria.

Man 1 – Simon Speck, Woman 1 – Adriana Louw,  Man 2 – Louis Fourie, Woman 2 – Lara Basson, Man 3 – Barend Van Der Westhuizen.

Putting it Together is ideal holiday entertainment. The show will run from 29 November to 14 December. To book tickets please click here.

Circle Productions are presenting their last session for the year of Be an Actor for a Day at the Masque Theatre in Muizenberg on 29 September.
They have been running this unique “day in the theatre” programme for the last three years and have found that their participants, irrespective of experience, have thoroughly enjoyed the workshops and have come away with added skills and confidence.  It has also given a fabulous opportunity to “backstagers” to tread the boards and enjoy the spotlight.
This fun-filled workshop focusses on  basic acting skills, character work and performance and is conducted by team members with over 30 years of community theatre experience.
For an overview of the programme – including the costs and discount fee for G&S members and/or families, please click here.
The booking form is available by clicking here, but keep in mind that bookings close on 23 September 2019.

Until the next issue, we hope to see you at IT’S SHOWTIME and the G&S Awards Evening.

Yours in theatre

G&S Mancom


G&S presents IT’S SHOWTIME, showing at Bishops Memorial Theatre, Bishops Diocesan College, Campground Road, Rondebosch on 25 October 2019.


Artistic Director: Barend van der Westhuizen

Choreographer: Jared Schaedler

Set & Costume Designer: Waldo Buckle

Production Manager: Melissa Marcus

Production Facilitator: Rosemary Wilke


Come and enjoy an evening of fun filled entertainment. 

Say “Hello!” to the Elders, have a drink with the Thénardiers or have a close-up moment with Norma Desmond before lamenting with Cinderella’s Stepsisters.

Gentlemen can look forward to a close shave by Mr Todd, before enjoying (or becoming) one of Mrs Lovett’s delicious hot pies. And don’t worry about forgetting another suitcase in another hall. If you are a rich man, you can forget about all your troubles over a plate of food, glorious food!

These and many more musical memories, one night only, Friday 25 October 2019 at the Bishops Memorial Theatre in Rondebosch. Tickets are available from

Gaslight Newsletter – February 2019

Dear Members

It has indeed been a week of awards! During the early hours of Monday morning (South African time) the world once again waited in anticipation to see the outcome of the Annuals Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars. There were the usual shocks and surprises and for the next couple of months the discussions, laughs and gossiping will no doubt continue. Was it really better without an official host? (Not sure.) Was Green Book a worthy winner? (I thought so.) What about Olivia Colman blowing a raspberry in the middle of her acceptance speech? (Delightful.) And then the big one – are they or aren’t they – Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, that is. (Verdict on that one still out!)

Continue reading

Praise for Ruddigore

The G&S production of Ruddigore has received praise from audiences and critics alike.

“There are uncommonly pretty costumes and decor. This time the highlight is the paintings of the ancestors that suddenly come to life,” writes Mariana Malan in Die Burger. Continue reading