HOW DId we GET HERE?
FROM THE INSIDE OUT
In its first year of operation, VRT was selected by the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship as one of the top new South African businesses to be mentored by the establishment.
Jaco van Rensburg established VR Theatrical in 2016 after a successful international career in musical theatre. Jaco formed part of the international touring companies of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (Simon Zealotes), DISNEY'S HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL (Ripper), SHOWBOAT, GREASE, JERSEY BOYS (Frankie Valli) and more. In his career, Jaco worked with some of Broadway and the West End's top talent, including Anthony Rapp who directed the South African production of RENT, Karen Bruce who directed and choreographed the South African production of FOOTLOOSE, Des McAnuff and Sergio Trujillo who oversaw the international tour of JERSEY BOYS, Jo-Anne Robinson who staged the international tours of CATS (Mr. Mistoffelees) and Paul Warwick Griffin who directed JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT. Jaco also works as choreographer, resident director, company manager and general manager on various productions for different managements before launching VR Theatrical.
Wessel Odendaal, a
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 and Daniel Galloway Consulting.
VRT also acted as General Manager and co-producer for Aspoestertjie – an Afrikaans mega-Pantomime that was presented at the South African State Theatre in collaboration with Add-Life Productions in 2019.
We pride ourselves on the quality of our work and on truly being collaborators who regularly work with other industry professionals, locally and internationally.
We are invested in development and outreach work and recently collaborated with the Young Performer’s Project, a KZN-based non-profit organization that focuses on identifying and developing young talent in the Performing Arts.
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
Jaco and Wessel have been friends for 20 years.
Jaco van Rensburg | Executive Producer
Jaco van Rensburg completed his B.Tech Musical Theatre Degree at the Tshwane University of Technology before embarking on an exciting performing career that would take him around the globe.
His true triple-threat abilities secured him various roles in iconic musicals. Performing highlights include Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys (International Touring Cast), Simon Zealotes in Jesus Christ Superstar (International Touring Cast) and Magical Mr. Mistoffelees in Cats.
Jaco also worked regularly as Dance Captain, Associate Choreographer, Choreographer, Assistant and Resident Director and Company Manager on various productions before establishing VR Theatrical in 2016.
Jaco is very fortunate to have worked with and learned from Broadway and West End creative giants, including Des McAnuff, Sergio Trujillo, Nikolai Foster, Karen Bruce, Anthony Rapp and Jo-Anne Robinson to name but a few.
Jaco is also passionate about the art of business
and loves collaborating on new and exciting ventures.
Wessel Odendaal | Creative Producer
Wessel Odendaal completed one year of Musical Theatre studies before switching courses and graduating from the University of Pretoria with a B.Mus Degree (Cum Laude) in 2006.
As a pianist, composer, arranger and music director Wessel worked extensively across all music genres alongside the best maestros in South Africa and abroad.
He served as Musical Director for Avenue Q (international UK touring company to South Korea), Rock Of Ages, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and the South African premieres
of Hedwig And The Angry Inch, The Cradle Will Rock and Ragtime - the musical.
He acted as assistant musical director on Jesus Christ Superstar (Greece and South Korea), Saturday Night Fever, The Full Monty, Disney’s High School Musical (China and
Indonesia), Aspects Of Love, CATS, The Boys In The Photograph and Mamma Mia! Wessel also toured as part of the orchestra with the international company of The Phantom Of The
A career highlight thus far was working on the opening of the new Culture Square Theatre in Shanghai, China in 2011 where he accompanied international theatre stars including Lea
Salonga, Eden Espinosa and Ria Jones.
Wessel turned down a full scholarship from Penn State University to complete his Masters Degree and opted to become co-owner and Executive Producer for VR Theatrical.
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.