VRT was founded in 2016 and has since grown exponentially. Today we are best known as a leading creative developer of new and innovative theatrical ideas from page to stage.
The Theatre is a collaborative artform that requires the expertise of many specialist contributors. We enjoy the creative process and working alongside other talented professionals in all fields related to our core business: great storytelling.
With offices in Johannesburg as well as Cape Town we are well positioned to tour our creative ventures nationally.
We believe in 'sending the elevator down' and invest heavily in audience and young artists' development.
COvid-19 Pandemic and advocacy
It is no secret that the Covid-19 Pandemic has decimated the entertainment industry, but despite its presence, VRT has maintained a pro-active approach in the South African entertainment industry.
We also take a proactive approach to ensuring the rights of artists in South Africa and as such, VR Theatrical has been appointed the Secretariat of the Theatre and Dance Alliance (TADA).
While we love to collaborate, we are fortunate enough to have a highly specialised inhouse Music Department that takes care of all our (showtune) needs, from original compositions, music direction and arranging, to creating pit parts for players, recording cast albums in studio and all things musical.
Our Graphic Design Department is used to creating wordmarks and campaign identities months ahead of productions starting rehearsals, enabling us to roll out strategic marketing before a production has been staged.
HOW DId we GET HERE?
FROM THE INSIDE OUT
THE BRANSON CENTRE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
In its first year of operation, VRT was selected by the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Johannesburg as one of the top new South African businesses to be mentored by the establishment. We have since established a second office in the idyllic Cape Town, growing our capacity to produce world-class entertainment.
JACO VAN RENSBURG
With extensive performing experience, working with the best international creative teams in the world from Broadway and the West End, Jaco starrted as a triple-threat performer, landing coveted roles in international touring productions, including Mr. Mistoffelees in CATS, Simon Zealot in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and Frankie Valli, in JERSEY BOYS, moving effortlessly between singing and dancing roles.
He worked extensively behind the scenes as choreographer, director, company manager and resident director on numerous projects before establishing VR Theatrical in 2016. He has since worked full-time as a theatre maker, presenting South African premieres of big blockbuster musicals (ROCK OF AGES, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH and AVENUE Q) as well as commissioning original local writing.
Jaco is a keen collaborator and theatre maker, always on the lookout for the next exciting project or idea and interesting and kind people to work alongside.
Wessel Odendaal is a highly acclaimed music director and co-owner of VR Theatrical with a B.Mus Degree in classical music.
Wessel spent 15 years working in international pits, working on numerous major international touring musical theatre production, including THE LION KING, CATS, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, JERSEY BOYS, MAMMA MIA! and ASPECTS OF LOVE. He also composes, arranges and orchestrates original music.
With extensive international experience and networks, Wessel is always keen to tackle interesting new projects in between administrative duties. He is currently working on a new musical in development entitled STAR+CROSSED, a fictional work based on the life and times of Elizabeth Klarer which will premiere early 2023.
To grow empathy in the world through developing and presenting meaningful live theatre productions that impact on individuals, on communities and on the world.
To create quality and thought-provoking live theatre productions that enriches the lives of those who partake, be it onstage, behind the scenes or as an audience member.
Since VR Theatrical was founded in 2016 the company has produced a string of acclaimed productions, from original plays, such as THE DEAD TINDER SOCIETY and presenting the multi award-winning Paul Slabolepszy's play SUDDENLY THE STORM, to South African premieres of Broadway blockbusters AVENUE Q, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH and ROCK OF AGES.
VR Theatrical recognises the need for increased dialogues and understanding of the diverse cultures within South Africa and promoting unique indigenous stories of the diaspora. To this end, we work closely with independent theatres and strategic partners to:
a) create professional employment opportunities within the sector for artists, as well as technical personnel and the associated value chain.
b) identify, nurture and develop young and emerging artists in the Performing Arts Sector.
c) promote collaboration, with a strong emphasis on female empowerment.
The quality of our work has been validated by numerous Naledi Theatre Awards and Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards nominations, winning across several categories on an annual basis.
VRT is dedicated to creating a bespoke theatre experience that entertains, inspires and uplifts. We strive to create a work environment with an agreeable atmosphere that is a testament to our respect for our colleagues, clients, audiences, artists and the greater community.
VRT has an extensive network of production partners. We have excellent relationships with most production houses and producers in South Africa. We believe that collaboration in theatre is essential and have thus partnered and worked with most of South Africa’s major production houses, including Pieter Toerien Productions, Durban-based KickstArt Theatre, Tsogo Sun Casinos, Daniel Galloway Consulting and Add-Life Productions.
We are invested in development and outreach work and regularly collaborate with NPOs and NGOs, as is the case with the Young Performer’s Project, a KZN-based non-profit organization that focuses on identifying and developing young talent in the Performing Arts from rural communities.
Our values are guided by our beliefs and Commitment to Inclusiveness, Participation, Openness and making a difference through the Performing Arts.
Collectively, Jaco and Wessel share professional theatre experience spanning 40 years working locally and internationally on numerous large-scale Broadway Musicals in various capacities.
VR Theatrical believes that audience development is a critical contribution to the local industry and specifically creates work that focuses on youth. Notable productions include PETER AND THE WOLF, a musicalised version of French aristocrat, writer, and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's THE LITTLE PRINCE and the Naledi Award-winning Best Youth production TINY THE TOKOLOSHE AND OTHER AFRICAN TALES.
LEFT BRAIN, RIGHT BRAIN APPROACH
With a passion for both business and art, we weave our various skills into our work, blending artistic integrity, innovative and out-of-the-box ideas, creative marketing strategies and budgets and spreadsheets, underpinned by a focus on personal growth and development of everyone we work with.
CONNECT WITH US
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