A Busy Week at the Academy!



As an Academy fund-raiser, there will be a special showing of the Oscar-winning film with a red carpet, snacks and drinks!

Tickets from the Academy: $10.00



The second in the series of historical dinner talks will cover the early days of the present city of Bulawayo from the time of the Matabele Rebellion through to 1940. There will be a two-course dinner.

Tickets are $25 per head, available from the Academy (cash or swipe machine) or by calling/whatsapping Violette on 0772851609 (Ecocash, cash, RTGS), with proceeds going to the Bulawayo Help Network.



The end-of-term concert will also include the Girls’ College Music Group and performers from Eastview School as well as the Academy’s own students ranging from classical cello to pop vocals!

Admission Free.


The March draw for the 50 Club will take place after the concert and before…


The murder of a curator at the Louvre reveals a sinister plot to uncover a secret that has been protected since the days of Christ. Only the victim’s granddaughter and Robert Langdon, a famed symbologist, can untangle the clues he left behind. The two become both suspects and detectives searching for not only the murderer but also the stunning secret of the ages he was charged to protect.

“They say The Da Vinci Code has sold more copies than any book since the Bible. Dan Brown’s novel is utterly preposterous; Ron Howard’s movie is preposterously entertaining.”   [Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members]



Live in Vienna was recorded at the Hofburg Palace, the seat of Austrian imperial power and the music is accordingly almost all Viennese – Johann Strauss, Franz Lehár, Emmerich Kálmán, Mozart, Robert Stolz and many others, and room is also found for The Sound of Music! – against the background of the most beautiful, stylish scenery you can imagine.

“What can I say that hasn’t been said before? It’s Andre Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra. If it’s your kind of music (and if it’s not, there must be something wrong with you), you’ll love it.”  [Amazon review]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00): Chicken, vegetable and cashew nut stir fry with rice or noodles. Scones with jam and cream.  Must be ordered in advance!



Sadly, both Adri and Deon will be leaving Bulawayo in early April.  They will be joined by friends for this farewell concert including Rose Green, Jessie Ndlovu, Emma Price, Dorothy Sikwela, Graham Bishop, Pieter Cloete and Jan Cloete.

The programme will include:
Haydn: Andante molto from Trio in C Major
Schubert: Entr’acte from Rosamunde
Mozart: Fantasie in D minor
Albeniz: Recuerdos de la Viaje
Deon Marcus: Ballade in C minor
Handel: Ombra mai fu
Cello Solo TBA
Frank: Panis Angelicus

Plus a selection that will include Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Love Changes EverythingEmpty Chairs at Empty Tables from Les MiserablesJealously, Return to Sorrento, John Denver’s Perhaps Love and, for extra measure, A Love Until the End of Time and O Mio Babbino Caro! And of course Dawn from Pride & Prejudice!

Admission: $5.00 – no advance booking

Wine and cheese will be available after the concert, the latter as part of the ticket price, the former at a modest price!

History Dinners

History Dinner Talks

The Academy is delighted to announce that it will be hosting a first for Bulawayo!

Paul Hubbard will over the next two months conduct a lively series of historical dinner talks, and it seems fitting that all proceeds will go to the Bulawayo Help Network to assist the elderly, the people who represent our history and yet are so often deeply disadvantaged.

The second in the series will cover the early days of the present city of Bulawayo and the Matabele Rebellion through to 1940, and will take place with a sumptuous two-course dinner on Wednesday 22 March at the Academy starting at 6.00 p.m.

Tickets are $25 per head and available from the Academy (cash or swipe machine) or by calling/whatsapping Violette on 0772851609 (Ecocash, cash, RTGS).

 Depending on demand the evening may be repeated on Wednesday 29 March.



As an Academy fund-raiser, there will be a special showing of the Oscar-winning film with a red carpet, snacks and drinks!

Dress the part and come to the Oscars at the Academy! Tickets from the Academy: $10.00 


Admission Free


Admission: $5.00 – no advance booking

November at the Academy



Thursday 3 November: Silver Streak – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 4 November: Verdi: Otello – 6.30 p.m.
Thursday 10 November: Carousel – 7,.00 p.m.
Friday 11 November: A Bridge Too Far – 7.00 p.m.
Saturday 12 November: The Harare Male Voice Choir – 7.00 p.m
Thursday 17 November: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 18 November: Mozart: La Finta Giardiniera – 6.30 p.m.
Thursday 24 November: 50 Club Draw – 6.45 p.m.
Thursday 24 November: Our Mutual Friend – Part 1 – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 25 November: Bernstein conducts Brahms & Tchaikovsky – 6.30 p.m.
Wednesday 30 November: Academy end-of-year concert – 6.00 p.m.


Please note that the usual pattern has been changed on Thursday 10 / Friday 11 November.

Carousel will be shown on Thursday 10 November and the film A Bridge Too Far as a joint promotion with the MOTHs on Friday 11 November which is Armistice Day.  Both will begin at 7.00 p.m. and supper will be available from 6.15 p.m.


Thursday 3 November
Silver Streak
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

Gene Wilder died at the end of August.  Several of his films will be shown over the coming months, beginning with Silver Streak which, as well as being one of his most entertaining, marked the beginning of his celebrated partnership with Richard Pryor.

While taking a slow, restful train trip on ‘Silver Streak’ from L.A. to Chicago, mild-mannered George Caldwell (Gene Wilder) finds romance with Hilly Burns (Jill Clayburgh), but later that evening he sees the body of Hilly’s boss being thrown off of the train. Hilly is kidnapped and George himself targeted for elimination, but, in eluding the killers, he falls off the train and ends up being arrested by a local sheriff. He makes his escape in the company of petty thief Grover Muldoon (Richard Pryor) – and that’s only the beginning!


• Time magazine nominated Silver Streak the third best train movie of all time in 2010.

• The American Film Institute listed this as one of the top 100 comedies, and I think they got it right. This was the first and best pairing of Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.  [IMDb]

• Here’s the thing. My fond memory of Silver Streak had everything to do with Wilder. At nearly every moment he’s on-screen, he’s either doing something that helps you believe the action or makes it all so slyly funny you don’t care that you don’t believe it.  [Los Angeles Times]

• A nifty little Hitchcock knock-off, with great chemistry between Wilder and Pryor.  [Capital Times]

• The beginning of the perfectly splendid comic duo of Wilder and Pryor. And man, do I ever miss them.  [Needcoffee.com]

• Nutty blend of comedy, romance, action and suspense… a highly entertaining picture and the best Wilder/Pryor pairing.  [Maltin’s Movie Guide]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members]

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Fish, chips and coleslaw: $7.00


Friday 4 November
Verdi: Otello
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 10.00 p.m.

Otello is a miraculous union of music and drama, a masterpiece as profound philosophically as it is thrilling theatrically. Shakespeare’s tale of an outsider, a great hero who can’t control his jealousy, was carefully moulded by Arrigo Boito into a taut and powerful libretto. But Otello almost wasn’t written. It had been eight years since Verdi’s last opera, Aïda, and in the interim he had produced only a single work, the celebrated Requiem. Wealthy and greatly revered, he considered himself retired from the theatre and he seemed quite content to pursue philanthropic projects and enjoy his vast manor (which employed 16 gardeners!) without risking his considerable reputation on another opera. It took Boito and publisher, Giulio Ricordi, several years to persuade him to take on a major new work but the result was perhaps his greatest masterpiece.

• Recorded live at the Metropolitan Opera in 1995, this production pairs Renée Fleming at her most luminous as Desdemona with Plácido Domingo in what was arguably the greatest of his 100-odd roles… James Levine conducts with his customary empathy and energy.  [Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical]

• It is good to have on DVD so telling a reminder of Plácido Domingo’s masterly assumption of the role of Otello, particularly when at the Met in 1996 he was singing opposite Renée Fleming as Desdemona, then at her freshest and purest, yet also with power, looking and sounding girlish. James Levine’s direction is high-powered from beginning to end, matching the singing of the principals and controlling the massive forces in this lavish production.  [Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00): Roast leg of pork, roast potatoes and vegetables.  Ice cream and chocolate sauce.


Thursday 10 November
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

In 1999, Time magazine, in its ‘Best of the Century’ list, named Carousel ‘the Best Musical of the 20th century’, writing that Rodgers and Hammerstein ‘set the standards for the 20th century musical, and this show features their most beautiful score and the most skilful and affecting example of their musical storytelling’.


Richard Rodgers himself said that Carousel was his favourite of all his musicals and wrote, ‘it affects me deeply every time I see it performed’. The score includes classics like If I Loved You, June is Bustin’ Out All Overand You’ll Never Walk Alone, not to mention the eponymous Carousel Waltz.

• Truly some of the most beautiful and most sophisticated music to come out of Broadway.  [Rotten Tomatoes]

• Among several Rogers and Hammerstein masterpieces, it really stands out. Few musicals before or after dare to go to some of the dark places Carousel takes us. It’s a fascinating journey.  [contactmusic.com]


• It is impossible to describe Rogers and Hammerstein’s Carousel without using the word ‘haunting’. Considered by most critics and admirers to be their darkest musical, it’s a blend of beautiful and memorable music, a story of love unspoken, feelings unexpressed, disappointment, joy and death.  [Classic Film and TV Café]

• Excellent film version of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s memorable adaptation of Ferenc Molnar’s Liliom, with Gordon MacRae as rowdy carousel barker Billy Bigelow, who tries to change for the better when he falls in love with Shirley Jones…. moving characters, timeless songs. [Maltin’s Movie Guide]


•  A haunting, beautiful film, Carousel wasn’t a success with audiences when it was released in 1956, but over the years, it has gained in reputation. The power and beauty of R & H’s famous, lyrical songs provide a haunting, sad atmosphere that elevates it above the average Hollywood music and it now stands as one of the best examples of the genre.  [DVD Talk]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet Members]

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Macaroni cheese: $6.00


Friday 11 November
A Bridge Too Far
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

A Bridge Too Far is the true story of Operation Market Garden, the Allies’ attempt, in September 1944, to hasten the end of the Second World War II by driving through Belgium and Holland into Germany. The idea was for US airborne divisions to take the towns of Eindhoven and Nijmegen and a British airborne brigade to take the town of Arnhem. They would be reinforced in due course by a land-based corps driving up from the British lines in the south. The key to the operation was the bridges, as if the Germans held or blew them, the paratroopers could not be relieved. Faulty intelligence, hubris in the Allied high command and stubborn German resistance ensured that Arnhem was a bridge too far.


• A gripping bit of cinema.  [Moviehole, 4 July 2005]

• Richard Attenborough’s monumental war drama about one of the most stirring battles of World War II presents the most impressive all-star cast ever assembled for a single production. It is a cut above most cinematic portrayals of historical events… The film shakes you. The pity of it touches you… [IMDb ] ]

• Fantastic WW2 epic with a 1970s ‘all star’ cast.that recreates this complicated and tragic military venture with breathtaking sweep, historical accuracy and sober-eyed humanism.’  [eFilmCritic.com]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film Members]

Supper available from 6.15 p.m. Beef curry and rice with tomato and onion salad: $5.00 (special price!)


Saturday 12 November
The Harare Male Voice Choir
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

The Harare Male Voice Choir is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee with a series of concerts combined with the Phoenix Choir, including this one in Bulawayo. Further details to follow.

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00)


Thursday 17 November
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

This is another but very different film set during World War II. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a German concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.


• See it at all costs. It is both wonderful and devastating.  [New York Observer]

• The power of the story and the performances is indisputable.  [Rolling Stone]

• The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is an impressively directed and acted drama that packs a powerful emotional punch.  [View London]

• It’s a noble, sincere undertaking that will see many leave the cinema with fresh insights. You can’t really ask for much more than that.  [Sky Movies]

• One of the most strikingly original movies about the end of childhood I’ve ever seen.  [Flick Filosopher]

• An unforgettable motion picture experience. Powerful and moving beyond words.  [Hollywood.com]

• The power of this story and the way director Mark Herman tells it through the innocent eyes of an eight year old boy overcome all the hurdles with its child-like simplicity that clutches our hearts.  [Urban Cinefile]

• This beautifully rendered family film is told in a classic and old-fashioned style, in the best sense, providing poignant and powerful teachable moments.  [USA Today]

• The performances never falter, and even James Horner’s heavy-handed score can’t dim the film’s unfathomable, unshakable ending.  [Boston Phoenix]

• A devastating experience for both the characters and the audience.  [Filmcritic.com]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members]

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Sausage, mash gravy and cabbage: $6.00


Friday 18 November
Mozart: La Finta Giardiniera
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 10.25 p.m.

Mozart was just 18 when La Finta Giardiniera (‘The Pretend Gardener’) was first seen in early 1775, though he already had a number of operas to his name. A comedy with a plot of extravagant complexity, the opera provides early evidence of Mozart’s ability to capture the more serious truths that lurk beneath a farcical surface. It has been rising in popularity in recent years. Its central character is a young noblewoman, Violante Onesti, who is disguised as a gardener and going under the name of Sandrina. She is recovering from the emotional and physical wounds inflicted on her by her former lover, Count Belfiore, who is now betrothed to the tempestuous Arminda. Lescot’s striking staging provides a contemporary take on the 18th century and the designs evoke a garden by means of plants and shrubs in large pots – notably, Arminda is symbolised by a ferociously oversized Venus Flytrap. Later, as the plot thickens, the stage is spectacularly transformed into a forest.


• Three hours of pure happiness  [La Croix]

• Wonderfully simplistic staging and direction allied with outstanding singer acting are matched in the pit.  [MusicWeb International]

• Lescot mercifully refrains from ‘clever’ gags…The characters, all clad in contemporary white costumes, and their chaotic relationships are clearly drawn…All the cast seem natural stage animals and take well to the camera… Haïm encourages playing of energy and colour from her period band and works up a fine comic lather in the act finales.  [Gramophone Magazine]

• BBC Music Magazine Opera Choice – November 2015

• The performance is immensely likeable. Emmanuelle Haïm is a splendid Mozartian. Tempos throughout are finely judged, and she draws from her orchestra idiomatic playing that encompasses variously both sensitivity and real dramatic strength… La Finta Giardiniera is a long opera that can easily outstay its welcome; that it is does no such thing here is to the credit of all concerned.  [Early Music Review]

• The mostly young cast all sing and act superbly – sometimes a little OTT, but deliberately so. Emanuelle Haïm conducts Le Concert d’Astrée with great exuberance, keeping the whole thing fizzing along.  [Amazon.co.uk]

• Enea Scala brilliantly conveyed Belfiore’s journey from a foppish, vainglorious figure of fun to a lover genuinely remorseful for his past mistakes, and displayed a secure, focused line in his singing. Erin Morley was an equally appealing Sandrina, with a voice of limpid clarity allied to a fine dramatic sense of her ability to transform Belfiore after their mutual moments of madness. Marie-Adeline Henry was a gloriously fiery Arminda.  [Opera]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00): Baked sweet and sour chicken, rice or noodles and peas.  Granadilla tart.


Thursday 24 November
Our Mutual Friend – Part 1
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

At the peak of his powers, Charles Dickens composed this shocking tale of murder, greed, and obsession centred on the courtship of two ravishingly beautiful, but starkly different women. Ever fond of ironic symbols, Dickens creates a world where money is made from mammoth dust heaps and from corpses fished from the Thames. Paul McGann, Anna Friel, David Morrissey, Steven Mackintosh, and Keeley Hawes star in this meticulous recreation of Dickens’s last completed novel, which many regard as his greatest.  ‘The plot has a very modern feel, using flashbacks and dislocations of time that make it perfect for film’, notes producer Catherine Wearing. ‘The mood-filled landscapes of the River Thames, the dust mountains, and a society obsessed with money dominate these extraordinary love stories.’


• Our Mutual Friend is a well plotted and directed mini-series with a great deal to offer that should keep any period drama aficionado entertained. It has comedy, drama, love, crime… Whether or not you have read the book you will enjoy this riveting and romantic production.  [Vintage Review]

• No surprise a tale of Dickens would be dark, brooding, and more than a little creepy. What is surprising is the incorporation of romantic tales within this darker work, which make for a full tapestry of human experience and emotion.  [Rotten Tomatoes]

• Our Mutual Friend, a sumptuous six-hour adaptation of Charles Dickens’ last novel, easily establishes itself among the very best of the long-form British adaptations. Visually stunning, with an opulent budget, no other series more accurately captures the feeling of Dickens’ England, from the waterfront sets to the huge ensemble cast of oddballs, scum, slime, and heroes.  [IMDb]

• I just want to put in a word for the crew that filmed, lit and designed this. It is ravishing and the attention to detail is astonishing. At almost any point you can freeze-frame the action and the result is like something you’d see in the National Gallery. Technically this is by far the best thing the BBC has done for years.  [Amazon.co.uk]

• The production’s generous running time enabled scriptwriter Sandy Welch to include virtually every important detail in this complex saga of how a mysterious waterfront death inextricably linked the lives of two young women, Lizzie Hexam (Keeley Hawes) and Bella Wilfer (Anna Friel). The richness of the Dickensian prose was complemented by the visuals.  [Hal Erickson, Rovi]

• At six hours, this version of Our Mutual Friend is a long production, but not a moment too long. A mystery, a love story, a critique of the pursuit of wealth and status, this is perhaps the best adaptation of Dickens ever to be committed to film.  [Simon Leake, Amazon.com]

Each episode runs for 90 minutes and an episode of ‘Fawlty Towers’ will act as a curtain-raiser.

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members]

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.  Spaghetti bolognaise and salad: $7.00


Friday 25 November
Bernstein conducts Brahms and Tchaikovsky
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 9.30 p.m.

Leonard Bernstein conducts Brahms’ massive Second Piano Concerto (with Krystian Zimerman as soloist) and Tchaikovsky’s epic Fifth Symphony.

• Bernstein puts everything into his conducting [of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony] and is quite unbelievable. A masterful performance by a wonderful orchestra and a sublime conductor. Highly recommended.  [Amazon review]

• Zimerman deserves 10 stars for his performance of the Second Piano Concerto. It is three in one – Passionate, Musical and Precise.  [Amazon review]

• This is piano playing of superlative finish – Zimerman delivers the notes (and I mean all of them) with amazing command.  [Gramophone]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00): Haddock pie and vegetables. Jelly and ice cream.


December (provisional)

• Thursday 1 December – Our Mutual Friend – 2

• Friday 2 December – Bellini: I Capuletti e Il Montecchi

• Thursday 8 December – Our Mutual Friend – 3

• Friday 9 December – Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel

• Thursday 15 December – Our Mutual Friend – 4

• Friday 16 December – Cinderella – ballet

• Friday 23 December – King’s Lessons and Carols

• Thursday 29 December – 50 Club Draw

• Thursday 29 December – Grand Finales

• Saturday 31 December – Dad’s Army Christmas Special / Berlin Philharmonic ‘World Encores’


October at the Academy



Thursday 6 October: Mamma Mia! – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 7 October: Rossini: Moïse et Pharaon – 6.30 p.m.
Friday 7 & Saturday 8 October: Chapatti –  Good Home Wanted – 7.00 p.m. N.B. At the Bulawayo Theatre
Thursday 13 October: The 39 Steps – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 14 October: Kiss Me, Kate – 6.30 p.m.
Thursday 20 October: Jurassic Park II – The Lost World – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 21 October: Chailly conducts Mendelssohn – 6.30 p.m.
Thursday 27 October: 50 Club Draw – 6.45 p.m.
Thursday 27 October: Child 44 – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 28 October: Offenbach: La Vie Parisienne – 6.30 p.m.


Thursday 6 October
Mamma Mia!
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.


Set on a colourful Greek island and with a plot whose main purpose is to serve as the background for a wealth of ABBA songs, Mamma Mia! needs little introduction. With a cast including Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Julie Walters, it tells the story of ‘bride-to-be Sophie who is on a quest to find her father before the big day. There’s just one problem… she’s just not sure who he is. After secretly reading her mother Donna’s old diaries, she discovers he is one of three past lovers and, despite knowing her mother would not approve, she invites them all…’

  • An absolutely hilarious, rousing and joyous celebration that ought to have you dancing in the aisles.  [Pete Hammond, Hollywood.com]
  • Mamma Mia! is a feel-good musical experience, pure and simple. The actors display a buoyant commitment to the material and the songs, of course, remain undeniable wonders.  [MTV]
  • … all the swing and sparkle of sequined bell-bottoms.  [Channel 4]
  • This film is an utterly joyous experience and I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who enjoys musicals and/or Abba’s music.  [IMDb]
  • Cute, clean, camp fun, full of sunshine and toe tappers.  [Empire]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Beef curry, rice and tomato and onion salad: $6.00


Friday 7 October
Rossini: Moïse et Pharaon
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 10.30 p.m.

Moïse et Pharaon was Rossini’s second work for the Paris Opera and received with huge enthusiasm. One of his lesser known but most spectacular operas, it tells the familiar story of Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt

  • The production is traditional to the core, with sumptuous scenic design and elaborate costumes. Those who know Rossini only from his fizzy comic operas like The Barber of Seville or La Cenerentola will be blown away by this dramatic work. He could really write a historical spectacle. With fabulous sets, huge ensembles, a silly side love story, orgiastic dance sequences and cinematic sweep, this is Rossini gone Hollywood. But all the spectacle in the world can’t save a bad opera. Luckily, with the La Scala Orchestra and a cast of thousands (or so) led by Riccardo Muti, Rossini’s music lives up to the grandeur of the production. Touching duets, tuneful dance numbers and rousing choruses will keep even the most casual opera fan engaged until that Red Sea parts.  [Patrick Neas, KansasCity.com]
  • A vivid and well-sung performance of a work that deserves greater circulation. It is very welcome and highly recommended.  [MusicWeb International]
  • I would give 10 stars if available for this great traditional production,  [Amazon.com]
  • …an impressive staging of one of Rossini’s opera masterpieces. This production emphasises the dramatic moments of the biblical account beautifully and also demonstrates the composer‘s mastery of the French tradition: solos and choral work are superb compositions, the duets are expressive and touching. This recording brings a Rossini experience of the highest rank onto the screen.  [arthaus-musik.com]
  • Muti leads his forces with conviction in this 2003 La Scala production that has enough of the requisite grandeur and a cast that manages the score’s difficulties well enough to show the work’s strength and validity…The whole production gives a welcome sense of the grand style. [Ballet Review]
  • With Riccardo Muti leading a stellar cast, you can experience Moïse et Pharaon in all its uncut, grand-opera glory.  [Opera News]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00):
Classic buttermilk chicken, sautéed potatoes and vegetables. Chocolate cake.


Friday 7 & Saturday 8 October
Chapatti – Good Home Wanted
N.B. Bulawayo Theatre at 7.00 p.m. – NOT at the Academy!

This is a Reps Theatre production, a story of love lost and hope rekindled, delving into the human emotions of two people who meet by chance. Starring Mike Blackburn and Betty Hobb, the play is directed by Graham Crutchley who was responsible for the recent hit ‘The Pianist’. Word from Harare is that this is a ‘highly recommended as a piece of theatre not to be missed, with excellent feedback on the story, the set and the performances.’

Tickets: $7.00.  Booking at the Bulawayo Theatre


Thursday 13 October
The 39 Steps
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.


The year is 1914 and Richard Hannay, a mining engineer who is visiting Britain for a short time before returning to South Africa, is shocked when one of his neighbours, Colonel Scudder, bursts into his rooms one night and tells him a story that Prussian ‘sleeper’ agents are planning to assassinate a visiting foreign minister to provoke an international crisis. However, Scudder is murdered and Hannay is framed for the death by the ‘sleepers’ so flees to Scotland as he attempts to clear his name and to stop the agents …

  • …a ripping yarn with a splendid cast of British character actors, good use of locations and a spiffing climax.  [IMDb}
  • I always thought Hitchcock’s version could not be beaten but…..I was wrong. For sheer all-round excitement, good performances, excellent script and superb set pieces you need look no further.  [Amazon,co.uk]
  • For a film released in 1978, it sure zips along and is ridiculously entertaining with action scenes straight out of a modern blockbuster starting with the Lost Boys style steam train/railway bridge sequence and the James Bond style ambush with the guys with some of the most unique weaponry in film history. This all builds to the frankly mind-blowing Houses of Parliament set piece finale.  [davidwarnerfilm.co.uk]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Pasta with a bacon, tomato and cream sauce: $7.00.


Friday 14 October
Kiss Me, Kate
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 9.55 p.m.


Based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Kiss Me, Kate is Cole Porter’s best-known musical and features some of his greatest songs including Another Op’nin’, Another Show, Why Can’t You Behave, Wunderbar, So In Love, I Hate Men and Too Darn Hot, not to mention Brush Up Your Shakespeare.  This London revival won the 2001 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Musical and the 2001 Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical, and was filmed live in front of the Victoria Palace Theatre audience in August 2002. The cast includes Brent Barrett and Rachel York, veterans of the multiple award-winning North American production, as well as Colin Farrell.

  • I suspect this may be just the tonic that London’s commercial theatre desperately needs: an almost flawless revival of Cole Porter’s Shakespeare-based musical… There may be greater musicals than Kiss Me, Kate: there are few that provide such constant, time-suspending pleasure.  [The Guardian]
  • The show tops its personal best so often that, by the end, the audience floats out of the theatre on a wave of unalloyed joy.  [The Independent]
  • The whole thing is a tremendous treat from a golden era.  [The Express]
  • With its blissfully tuneful score, superbly witty lyrics and great charge of Broadway energy, this blazingly confident show shines like a beacon.  [Daily Telegraph]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00):
Pork schnitzels, stuffed potatoes and vegetables. Chocolate éclair.


Thursday 20 October
Jurassic Park II – The Lost World
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

Four years after the failure of Jurassic Park, John Hammond reveals that there was another island on which dinosaurs were bred before being transported to Isla Nublar. Left alone since the disaster, the dinosaurs have flourished, and Hammond is anxious that the world see them in their ‘natural’ environment before they are exploited. He assembles a team to visit and document the area but when they reach the island, they soon discover the presence of another group of people who are not there for biological data but instead have something more sinister in mind.

  • A remarkably underrated film that’s actually improved with age. The effects are still dazzling, the film-making is top notch… [ChrisStuckmann.com, 26 May 2015]
  • The Lost World is a movie that takes the viewer on one of the most pleasurable rides you’re ever likely to embark upon, without insulting your intelligence in the process.  [Urban Cinefile]
  • Spielberg amply delivers the goods with The Lost World, a beautifully crafted series of nightmarish set pieces with no other goal in mind than to scare and delight the audience.  [Boxoffice Magazine]
  • Not as good as the original perhaps, but, as sequels go, it’s way, way above average.  [Empire Magazine]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.  Bacon steak, egg and chips: $7.00 


Friday 21 October
Chailly conducts Mendelssohn
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 9.30 p.m.

Riccardo Chailly’s inaugural concert as Conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra captures the full atmosphere of a unique musical occasion in a feast of Mendelssohn from the orchestra the composer founded. The concert includes an overwhelming performance of the Second Symphony, the Hymn of Praise, with its celebratory choral last movement as well as the ever-popular overture A Midsummer Night’s Dream with outstanding vocal soloists including Anne Schwanewilms and Peter Seiffert.

  •  A really wonderful recording. The orchestra responds perfectly to the conductor’s wishes.
  • Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang is done very well by the Leipzig orchestra and the Gewandhauschor under Chailly’s inspired direction. It features distinguished soloists as well as first-rate vocal and orchestral work in Chailly’s enthusiastic, glorious reading.
  • This is a tremendous performance. The orchestra and chorus have this music in their blood – and they really sound right for it.  [Amazon reviews]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00):
Beef fillet kebabs, savoury rice and vegetables. Scones with jam and cream.


Thursday 27 October
Child 44
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.


Based on the best-selling novel by Tom Rob Smith Child 44 is the story of an idealistic security officer, Leo Demidov, who decides to investigate a series of child murders in Stalin’s Soviet Union, a country where supposedly this sort of crime doesn’t exist. The state will not hear of the existence of a child murderer let alone a serial killer and Demidov is demoted and exiled but decides, with just the help of his wife, to continue pursuing the case.

  • Child 44 grows in stature and suspense as it gains focus, eventually revealing itself as a dark depiction of desperately unjust, fearful times.  [Radio Times]
  • Once it gets going, it becomes gloweringly compelling.  [Daily Telegraph]
  • Espinosa (director) manages to engineer some standout moments and Tom Hardy delivers a cruelly believable portrait of a good man trapped between a hammer and sickle.  [Sky Movies]
  • A tense thriller set in Soviet Russia in 1953…tightly directed with surprisingly good pace…fine performances, especially by Hardy, Rapace, and Oldman with exceptional dark and forbidding cinematography enhanced by understated music.  [Tolucan Times]
  • Pretty underrated film with two of the best working actors we have today: Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace.  [Metacritic]
  • A brave, slow-burn of a thriller.  [Total Film]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.  Cold meats and salad: $7.00.


Friday 28 October
Offenbach: La Vie Parisienne
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 9.45 p.m.


La Vie Parisienne was Offenbach’s first full-length piece on a contemporary subject, a satirical portrayal of Parisian life in the Second Empire, and it became one of his most popular operettas.  It was conceived as an entertainment for and about the hordes of tourists visiting Paris for the 1867 Exposition Universelle but this production updates it to the present, so that instead of waiting for the train at the opening, for example, the two heroes are in the arrivals section of an international airport.

  • Director Laurent Pelly brought to the operetta all the gusto and humour the subject calls for – his staging is wild and frenzied and it’s all performed with such vigour and vaudevillian élan that it’s hard to resist the appeal.  [Presto Classical]
  • A popular hit …. It is good to see Pelly on such sparkling form. Aided and abetted by his usual high-octane team, he convincingly updates this satire on hedonistic Second Empire morals to the present day.  [Financial Times]
  • The sheer energy of the dancing and the whole spirit of irreverence is so well caught that one feels like joining in the applause. Sébastian Rouland leads the orchestra and chorus of the Lyon Opéra in a performance that is true to the spirit, if not the letter, of the work.  [Gramophone Magazine]
  • A stylish production from Lyon Opéra, the music and the libretto are allowed to speak for themselves as loud and clear as they always have done…  [BBC Music Magazine *****]
  • This is a brilliant performance of Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne. The director Laurent Pelly, orchestra and cast provide us with a superb production. The updating of the story is in excellent taste and the production positively fizzes with tremendous energy musically and dramatically.  [amazon.co.uk]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00):
Roast leg of lamb, roast potatoes and vegetables. Lemon cheese cake.       


November (provisional)

  • Thursday 3 November             Silver Streak (Gene Wilder)
  • Friday 4 November                   Verdi: Otello
  • Thursday 10 November           A Chorus Line
  • Friday 11 November                 A Bridge Too Far
  • Thursday 17 November           The Madness of King George
  • Friday 18 November                 Mozart: La Finta Giardiniera
  • Thursday 24 November           Our Mutual Friend – Part 1
  • Friday 25 November                 Bernstein conducts Brahms
  • Wednesday 30 November       Academy end-of-year concert

Previous Festivals

The first Bulawayo Music Festival took place in April 1997 when it was conceived as a one-off, week-long multiple celebration of anniversaries: the 60th of the Bulawayo Philharmonic Orchestra, the 40th of Performing Arts Bulawayo, the 20th of the National Symphony Orchestra – and, for good measure, the 100th of the arrival of the railway in Bulawayo. A steam safari commemorated this last with a special train transporting the musicians and audience from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls where there was a water-borne concert on the Zambezi – and no one who was there will ever forget Tasmin Little playing the Bach E major Partita to an entranced hippopotamus.

Prior to that there had been a week of concerts that had also involved among others Marilyn Hill Smith (soprano), Leslie Howard (piano), Piers Lane (piano), Donald Hunt (organ), the Odeion String Quartet and Edward Greenfield. As well as the concerts there were performer interviews, and talks on Elgar from Donald Hunt and Walton from Edward Greenfield who had known the composer well. The latter also presented a special ‘Greenfield Collection’ in Bulawayo and subsequently devoted an entire edition of his weekly radio programme to the festival.

An important aspect of that festival and all its successors was outreach to schools and young people: three hundred schoolchildren were part of the audience at the opening concert and various performances were mounted in the western suburbs including one in St.Columba’s Church where over six hundred heard Tasmin Little and Piers Lane perform.

That first festival was so successful that it inspired a second, even larger successor two years later which, like the first, included a marathon orchestral concert, this one featuring, after the overture to Idomeneo, four major concertos: Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ (Hamish Milne), Brahms’ Violin (Elizabeth Wallfisch), Chopin’s No.2 (Seta Tanyel) and Dvorak’s Cello (Colin Carr). The Odeion Quartet was in attendance again, as was Jeanette Micklem. Dame Felicity Lott and Graham Johnson gave the opening concert and there was particular pleasure in this as Graham was at school in Bulawayo and received his early musical education here before becoming the city’s most famous, though by no means only, musical export.

The third festival in April 2001 very nearly didn’t happen, indeed was at one stage cancelled, a reflection of the increasing economic difficulties in Zimbabwe. It was reduced in both length and number of performers with Leslie Howard and Nokuthula Ngwenyama (viola) joining the Odeion Quartet who generously gave their services. Even so there were four days of wonderful music culminating in an orchestral concert that was in many ways Derek Hudson’s swan-song when the slightly more manageable programme included Mozart’s Prague Symphony and E flat Sinfonia Concertante and Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto.

The first three festivals had been largely the work of a small committee comprising Derek Hudson, Michael Bullivant and Deborah Barron. There had been desultory talk of a 2003 festival but little in the way of plans: Derek had suffered a heart attack and never fully regained his health and Deborah had an increasingly demanding job that took her away from Bulawayo on a regular basis and finally permanently whilst the dollar plunged to ever deeper lows, funding seemed impossible and the spectre of violence grew. However, at somewhat short notice Performing Arts Bulawayo, of which Michael Bullivant had been chairman for nearly twenty-five years, determined that there should be another, out-of-sequence, festival in December 2002 to coincide with the total eclipse of the sun that would be visible from large parts of Matabeleland. It was fraught with difficulties with performers pulling out because of the country’s bad publicity and an American piano trio failing to get an anticipated grant less than two weeks before the Festival was due to start. In the event, the trio’s violinist, Rebekah Johnson, travelled at her own expense and played a major role.

Beginning with a performance of Messiah in a packed St.John’s Cathedral (over a hundred listened from outside), the Eclipse Festival ran for a week and involved musicians and performers from Britain, the United States and South Africa as well as Zimbabwe though this time there were no high-profile visitors. The eclipse was witnessed in the early morning from the top of a kopje fifty miles south of Bulawayo and there was an open-air concert in the late afternoon that particularly marked the event, including as it did ‘The sun whose rays’ from The Mikado, Finzi’s ‘Fear no more the heat o’ the sun’ and, for good measure, Rusalka’s Song to the Moon! This Eclipse Festival was also notable for including a theatrical evening directed by Caroline Clegg, The Spirit of Africa, a fusion of poetry, dance and largely African music.

Over three years passed as Zimbabwe descended further into chaos and for a time both hyper-inflation and the political scene seemed to make further festivals out of the question. However, with an optimism not entirely justified by its bank balance, Performing Arts determined that there should be another and aimed for June 2006: provisional bookings with musicians were made early in 2005 and a decision was finally taken late in the year that a festival would go ahead and that its scope would not merely match its predecessors but surpass them. Despite major problems and three withdrawals for various reasons (none of them connected with events in Zimbabwe), it proved possible with the generous support of the Beit Trust and MBCA Bank to bring no fewer than five musicians from Britain – Leslie Howard on his tenth visit, Benjamin Nabarro (violin), Ania Safonova (violin/viola), Matthew Sharp (cello) and Michael Brownlee Walker (piano) – and to involve many local performers too.

And not only were there twenty concerts in the main festival programme but as many more took take place as part of ‘Make It Happen’, an ‘alternative festival’ featuring more than four hundred performers which ran in tandem with the classical music and featured many other kinds of music – pop, jazz, African, gospel, mbiras and marimbas, a youth orchestra from Harare and school choirs – as well as dance, poetry and drama. All of this was in the adjacent Trade Fair arena and a gate was knocked in the wall for easy access. But it was the wall rather than the gate that won and the two halves of the festival never came together as had been hoped.

There was never any doubt that a sixth festival would follow and the two-year rhythm be resumed. Plans were laid within weeks and, although the country teetered ever closer to the abyss throughout the period and at the time of the festival appeared to be poised on the very edge as horrific violence increased prior to the run-off presidential election, music again triumphed over all circumstances with its ability, as Leonard Bernstein put it, to ‘name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable’.

There were no fewer than ten visitors, the new Odeion String Quartet from South Africa and six musicians from Britain. Again there was a last-minute withdrawal, this time because of ‘the situation’, but most of the programme was saved through the wonderful co-operation of the other musicians, most notably Jeanne-Louise Moolman of the Odeion Quartet who shouldered an immense additional load. For the first time there was no orchestra but compensation aplenty was found in an impressive list of chamber works that dominated the seventeen concerts: four quintets, six quartets, seven trios and music for two pianos in addition to the usual duo and solo recitals. Another highlight was the Zimbabwean celebration of Leslie Howard’s sixtieth birthday when there was a repeat of the Wigmore Hall concert for that event followed by a dinner at the Bulawayo Club with a specially designed birthday cake. There was also an extensive programme in the grounds and daily guitar and percussion workshops culminating in the performance of Morgan.

That performance preceded music for strings by Mozart and Leslie Howard, and the final work in 2008’s festival was Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Liszt’s arrangement for two pianos. A choir of 150 included over a hundred schoolchildren, virtually none of whom could read music and there were anxious moments for Beethoven’s demands are considerable. In the event it was a triumph (the notorious 12-bar top A especially so!) and, although a little early to herald the new Zimbabwe that still remains so elusive, Beethoven’s great hymn to freedom can rarely have had greater resonance or a more appropriate setting for its enduring message:
All men shall be brothers where your gentle wings beat,
Your magic unites those whom rigid custom divides.