KickstArt Theatre Productions NPC is a non-profit company dedicated to bringing world-class, full scale theatre productions to eThekhwini citizens at affordable ticket prices. It is also the premier independent employer of actors and theatrical artisans in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
The company was formed in 2000 by Artistic Director, Greg King, and since the inaugural production of Ben Elton’s Popcorn, KickstArt has been entertaining ever-increasing audiences, while providing essential project-based employment for talented Durban actors.
In 2003, Greg was joined by Steven Stead as Executive Director, and together they have worked to develop the company’s output and status. They successfully ran the intimate Kwasuka Theatre for three years, and have moved on to collaborations with larger
theatres such as the KZN Playhouse, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town, and the Liberty Theatre on the Square and The Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg. KickstArt has also presented two plays on the main festival at the Grahamstown Festival in 2009 (Wit) and 2012 (Red).
They have also formed a very strong relationship with celebrated South African impresario, Pieter Toerien, who has co-produced several of KickstArt’s recent successes on tour in Johannesburg at his Montecasino Theatre, and in Cape Town at his Theatre on the Bay.
An honours graduate of the University of Natal – PMB, Greg has been working in Durban since 1994, as an actor, puppeteer, director, illustrator, scriptwriter and, most recently predominantly as designer and producer.
His professional career began in NAPAC’s Loft Theatre Company, followed by three years as Puppet Master of the Playhouse Puppet Company. Greg founded KickstArt in 2000 and productions designed and directed by him include I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Popcorn, The Importance of being Earnest, Keely & Du, Private Lives, Steel Magnolias, The Memory of Water, Proof, Table Manners, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Crimes of the Heart and Art.
In 2003 Greg was joined by Steven Stead and they have worked together as designer and director respectively, ever since. For other companies they have staged the world premiere of the opera Valley Song (Cape Town Opera), Rigoletto (Opera Africa), Bravo! (Playhouse Co) and My Fair Lady (Playhouse Co).
Greg has won the Durban Mercury Theatre Award for Best Set Design every year since 1999, and is particularly praised for his design work on KickstArt’s lavish productions for young audiences such as Sinbad the Sailor, Charlotte’s Web, Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz, Jungle Book, Aladdin and Cinderella. He won the Naledi Award for Best Costume Design for KickstArt’s Shrek: the Musical presented in Gauteng at Gold Reef City, and the Naledi and Fleur du Cap Awards 2019 for Best Set Design for Suddenly the Storm, produced by the Market Theatre.
Steven holds a Drama Hons degree from UKZN, and initially pursued an acting career, appearing in dozens of plays and musicals, winning awards for acting, in Shakespeare (Hamlet and The Tempest) and comedy (The Mystery of Irma Vep). However, he has spent the greater part of the last twelve years directing. For eight years he was senior staff director at the English National Opera and directed many operas in London and elsewhere in Europe, before coming back to Durban to work with Greg King and develop KickstArt. Together they have revived the tradition of pantomime in the city, and have created some memorable drama productions: The Play That Goes Wrong, The Ladykillers, Twitch, Venus in Fur, Red, The God of Carnage, Duet for One, Wit, Noises Off, Laughing Wild, Shirley Valentine, Dangerous Liaisons, Boston Marriage, Oleanna, Dracula, Popcorn, Don’t Dress for Dinner and The Road to Mecca.
In 2007 they produced a musical for the first time, The Wizard of Oz, which won the Durban Mercury Theatre Award for Best Musical, followed by Little Shop of Horrors in 2009, which also won Best Musical, an original musical, Peter Pan which played to capacity audiences in Dec 2009 and also won Best Musical 2010, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (which Steven also appeared in), Cabaret in 2011 which won Best Musical for the company and Best Director for Stead, and has toured nationally. He directed the sumptuous KickstArt production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, which played to capacity houses in 2012. He won the Naledi Theatre Award for Best Director of a Musical for Sweeney Todd in 2016, and was nominated for the same award for Into the Woods in 2019.
Other directing credits include Alcina (Oviedo and Bilbao, Spain) My Fair Lady and Bravo! (Playhouse Company), Rigoletto and La Traviata (Opera Africa), and Valley Song, I Capuleti e i Montecchi, and Cosi fan tutte (Cape Town Opera).